"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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thank you for your attention.
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.