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"I was assigned to be on the band for ninety days and it was worse than prison for me. It kind of made me feel like an animal."

- Edmund Buck

On July 17, a coalition of organizations, including Crossroads Fund grantees Circles & Ciphers, Organized Communities Against Deportations, Chicago Community Bond Fund, Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration, and Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, hosted "Challenging Electronic Monitoring in Cook County." This event was the Chicago launch of a national campaign focused on demystifying electronic monitoring and building a movement to slow the rise and, ultimately, end the use of this surveillance technology. Crossroads Fund provided a grant to help make this event and campaign launch possible.

The event consisted of two panels and group workshops. The first panel was moderated by Robert Agnew from JustLeadershipUSA and featured Lavette Mayes from the Chicago Community Bond Fund, Edmund Buck from EDOVO, Manny Black from the Lawndale Christian Legal Center, and Nigel Lee from Precious Blood, who all have previously been "on the shackle." This group discussed their experience with electronic monitoring and the arbitrary restrictions on their movements, inconsistent parole officers, and an exorbitant amount of fees and costs that the person on electronic monitoring must pay. 

The second panel was moderated by Monica Cosby from Moms United and consisted of Crossroads Fund Board Member Emmanuel Andre from Circles & Ciphers and Northside Transformative Justice Center, Irene Romulo from the Chicago Community Bond Fund, Cathryn Crawford from Lawndale Christian Legal Center, and James Kilgore from Challenging E-Carceration. This group discussed ways to challenge the normalization of electronic monitoring and their worries about the long-term impact of government surveillance on the lives of Black and Brown people.

The use of electronic monitoring is increasingly seen as a more humane future of incarceration by sheriffs, judges, elected officials, and private prison companies as the national call to end mass incarceration grows. The reality, as told by those who have experienced electronic monitoring, is that the harms are similar. The coalition leading the local campaign all see the dehumanizing impact of electronic monitoring on the lives of people throughout Chicago. The national campaign, Challenging E-Carceration, is seeking groups to sign onto a ten point list  which would create a common set of standards for how electronic monitoring is used around the country. This initial campaign is designed to significantly reduce the immediate harms that a person on electronic monitoring experiences. The organizations involved are exploring possible policy and legislative interventions to reduce the harm and prevalence of electronic monitors. 

If you're interested in learning more about the campaign or have any questions, please feel free to contact Ed Vogel at

Tue, Jul 31, 2018

Crossroads Fund is excited to announce that our 2018 Giving Project cohort - a multi-racial, cross-class, intersectional group of 25 people - raised $109,777 from 425 donors!



This amazing amount of money, which, combined with a $50,000 match from Crossroads Fund enabled us to grant out over $144,000 to 29 grassroots groups in Chicago!

Over the course of six months, the cohort participated in deep conversations on race and class; made individual monetary donations that were significant to them; raised funds from their network through a process of "donor organizing;" and practiced participatory grantmaking to support strategic, necessary, and underfunded social justice organizing work around the city.

“I gained a solid understanding of radical giving and why mobilizing even a smaller amount of money can be incredibly impactful. I also gained a diverse network of people I feel comfortable asking hard questions, which I feel will support me as I continue to organize and fundraise.” – Giving Project participant


We want to lift up the commitment each member made to be part of this transformative journey. Through staff-facilitated trainings that explicitly named anti-blackness, white supremacy and centered the experiences of people of color, the group had in-depth and nuanced discussions on the realities of structural oppression in our society and how our race and class show up in fundraising and grantmaking. Join us in congratulating them on their boldness and determination to fund groups fighting on the front lines for change.

Pictured by row from top left. Deepa Arora, Bronwen Schumacher, Cristina Guerrero, Samantha Asofsky, Deb Kim, Sawyer Hopps, Jessica Ratchford, Laura Botwinick, Armando Santana, Mac Grambauer, Jordan Maze, Alyson Hankwitz, Kim Hunt, Lynn Meissner, De'Ronnius Young, Mollie Anderson, Brenda Hernandez, Irina Zadov, Elisabeth Jansen, Megan Murray Cusick, Mauricio Roman, Taryne Moore, Jazmin Martinez, Leah Greenblum, Andrea Meza.


Since 2015 the Giving Project program has raised more than $370,000 from over 750 donors.


The Crossroads Fund’s Giving Project is an innovative model for blending philanthropy and grassroots organizing. Through political education that explores race and class, alumni of the Giving Project are equipped with fundraising and grantmaking skills, to be stronger advocates for raising money for progressive movements.


Crossroads Fund is a public foundation that supports grassroots organizations for racial, social, and economic justice.


Interested in joining a Giving Project? Conact Emmanuel Garcia at


The groups below received funding through the Giving Project

Autonomous Tenants Union

Pilsen Alliance

Black and Pink Chicago

R.A.G.E. - Resident Association of Greater Englewood

Black Lives Matter Chicago

Raise Your Hand for IL Public Education

Brave Space Alliance

Sister Survivor

Chicago Coalition to Save Our Mental Health Centers          

Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL)

Chicago Housing Initiative

Srewolf & Nitram Foundation H.E.A.R.T.S.


St. Kateri Center of Chicago

For the People Artists Collective


Healing to Action

Ujimaa Medics

Illinois Birth Justice

UNION Impact Center


United Taxidrivers Community Council (UTCC)

Live Free Chicago

West Side Historical Preservation Society Inc.

Love & Protect

Westside Justice Center

Lugenia Burns Hope Center

Working Family Solidarity

Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration

Thu, Jul 26, 2018

Cultivate: Women of Color Leadership project (Cultivate) is  partnering with the Rockwood Leadership Institute to offer a week-long training exclusively for alumni. The week-long residential “Art of Leadership” is Rockwood’s fundamental training workshop.  Rockwood was founded in 2000 to fill a specific niche within social change movements by providing powerful and effective leadership training to nonprofit and philanthropic leaders, their organizations, and networks. Rockwood was founded on the idea that leadership can be taught and that anyone can exercise leadership, regardless of organizational title or role.

Deadline to apply is Thursday, August 30 at 5pm. Please apply below.

The training will be September 24-28 at Loyola University Chicago Retreat and Ecology Campus: 2710 S. Country Club Road Woodstock, IL 60098

If you have further questions, please contact Jane Kimondo at

Please note that this opportunity is exclusively for alumni of Cultivate: Women of Color.

Tue, Jul 24, 2018

Executive Director, Jeanne Kracher reports on the success of the Big Change Endowment campaign at annual benefit Seeds of Change.

At Seeds of Change in April, Executive Director Jeanne Kracher led those gathered in the theater in a rousing calland-response to convey Crossroads Fund’s basic mission: We raise money! And we give it out! Since Crossroads Fund’s beginnings in 1981, the core of our work has been just that. Each year we raise funds from people and then turn it over, strategically, to grassroots groups who are fighting for racial, social, and economic justice in and around Chicago. For more than 25 years, our grantmaking worked more or less this way—each year we raised the entirety of our budget from a dedicated network of donors and in short order distributed it to social justice groups through our participatory community grantmaking process.Today, Crossroads Fund still operates largely according to this model.

This began to change for the first time in 2007 when Crossroads Fund received the assets of the Synapses Foundation, which was established by the estate of activist and Chicago Public Schools teacher Donald F. Erickson. This historic gift continues to provide investment income to Crossroads Fund for grantmaking each year, and perhaps more importantly, taught us how an endowment can augment and provide stability for our work. In 2013, Crossroads Fund’s board of directors voted to embark on a five-year campaign to raise $2 million dollars in cash for a general endowment—the Big Change Fund—to deepen our commitment to social justice. The Big Change campaign is comprised of the general endowment, the Lisa Fittko Internship Fund, which endows our internship program in memory of the anti-Nazi resistance hero and social justice activist, as well as the Lynda J. Tipton Memorial Award for Social Justice, which honors a grantee organization each year at our Seeds of Change benefit.

Compared to the staggering size of some endowments in Chicago, our aspirations may seem modest. However, for Crossroads Fund and for the grassroots groups we partner with, the Big Change Fund will meaningfully affect the way we go about powering local movements for social change. Endowment income will allow Crossroads Fund to offer multi-year grants for the first time, guaranteeing our grantees stability that enables them to focus limited resources on mission-related work. One thing many of our partners consistently request are additional opportunities to collaborate with others within and across issue areas. The Big Change Fund will enable Crossroads Fund to organize strategic convenings for grantees, as well as to provide increased technical assistance funding for this type of work. An endowment will also allow Crossroads Fund to continue to respond quickly and even more effectively to urgent needs with critical response funding. Current Critical Response Fund recipients include our immigrant rights partners who are fighting the adminstration’s hateful tactics.

We have been humbled by the community’s outpouring of support for the Big Change Fund. Comprised of gifts big and small, more than 160 donors have already joined to contribute $2.2 million dollars, exceeding our original goal of $2 million. To our donor partners in the Big Change Fund, we offer our deepest gratitude for your vision for a better future and your confidence in our work. It truly is “The People’s Endowment,” and in that spirit we continue to invite Crossroads Fund’s community of supporters and friends to join our effort.

The Big Change Fund is now a permanent part of our work, and even broader participation only increases our power to help propel local social movements forward. Please join us with a one-time or multi-year pledge to the Big Change Fund endowment, or consider leaving a legacy for social change through a planned gift as a Crossroads Fund Visionary.

Big Change can lead to big victories, so become a part of it.  

Wed, Jul 11, 2018

My name is Peggy Shinner, I was a member of the 2017 Giving Project at Crossroads Fund, a cross-race, cross-class cohort of 20 people who committed to a 6-month transformational process with the goal to support grassroots groups on the frontlines of systems change. I want to build on a previous email you received from Teresa Garcia on why we support Crossroads Fund.

I donate to Crossroads Fund because I’m invested in Chicago. It’s a complicated place with a lot of tremendous people, but some serious problems as well. We’re a city that mirrors the problems in many cities. To be a donor is to demonstrate my stake in what is going on and to say I want to put resources toward the things that matter to me. Giving to Crossroads Fund is a way for my dollars to be focused by folks who are already doing a lot of the baseline work. I’m committed to immigrant justice, an issue that has mobilized me and so many others in a fundamental way. When I see all the groups that the Crossroads Fund supports doing this work I feel so proud to be involved with an organization that works unceasingly for justice, on this and so many other fronts. The range is amazing and crucial.

Will you join me in supporting building movements for justice by making an end-of-fiscal-year gift to Crossroads Fund today? Please consider a one-time gift of any amount, so that Crossroads Fund can continue to support necessary organizing work that fights for all of us.

Donate Now  

Thank you for your attention.

In Solidarity,

Peggy Shinner


Crossroads Fund grantees are fighting on the frontlines for racial justice. Here is one recent example.

When the city announced it was going to invest $95 million in a Police and Fire Training Academy in Garfield Park, community residents and activists demanded answers. Forty percent of the city budget is presently going to the Chicago Police Department, an organization that is plagued by issues of accountability and a lack of oversight. Following the murder of Laquan McDonald by a Chicago police officer, and in light of the rampant problems within the department, a coalition led by Assata’s Daughters formed the #NoCopAcademy campaign to delay and halt construction of the academy. They have been organizing to increase public awareness about police violence and community disinvestment. Crossroads Fund supported Assata’s Daughters with a Youth Fund for Social Change grant to boldly lift their capacity to mobilize, and also supported the coalition with a Critical Response Fund grant.

As a public foundation, we raise every dollar we give out. A donation right now ensures that we end the fiscal year strong to continue to fund grantees making transformational change in our city all year round.

Make a gift today.

Wed, Jun 27, 2018