Insights

Unity Fund: 10 Years of Reinventing Our Region Together

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In 2008, The Chicago Community Trust created the Unity Fund in response to the worst recession in Chicago since the Great Depression.

The Unity Fund pools contributions from many donors and makes distributions to area nonprofit organizations providing human services to vulnerable and under-resourced families. This year marks Unity’s 10th anniversary celebrating the generosity of our donors for positive impact.

From its inception, Unity has been responsive to the crises our region has experienced—from the aforementioned recession to the more recent State budget crisis. Even though the economy has recovered, nearly 17% of residents in Cook County continue to live in poverty. The reality is that many families still need support to access critical health and human services.

Unity donors continuously unite to shift the narrative of a challenged Chicago, to a region of strength and reinvention.

As the landscape of basic human needs shifts from residents looking to stay afloat during an economic downturn to vulnerable populations—immigrants, returning citizens, veterans, opportunity youth, people with disabilities, senior citizens—struggling with gaps in human services, Unity Fund evolves to meet those needs.

Grant partners tell us the positive impact Unity has on their ability to provide basic human needs. For Southwest Chicago PADS, a Unity grant expanded their capacity by allowing the organization to hire a full-time housing specialist, tripling the number of clients served in previous years. For other organizations, such as Mujeres Latinas en Acción and World Relief, Unity provided necessary support when government funding decreased. And for U.N.I.O.N. Impact Center, funding from Unity helped provide stipends to ensure a consistent roster of coaches and referees for their youth soccer program, providing stable mentor figures in young players’ lives and building relationships of trust in vulnerable communities.

Ring chart showing the funding areas in which Unity grants have been awarded:
Since 2008 the generosity of donors, combined with dedicated resources from the Trust, has allowed Unity Fund to award over $14 million in grants to 228 nonprofits that provide individuals and families with clothing, workforce development, emergency food, health and wellness, housing and legal services. Click to enlarge

 

Unity donors continuously unite to shift the narrative of a challenged Chicago, to a region of strength and reinvention. Generous financial contributions over the past 10 years have enabled Unity to serve as a valuable grant making vehicle and an example of collective philanthropy.

Donors play a vital role in strengthening our vibrant communities. Whether you are a new donor or have been with us through the years, I hope you are inspired to continue supporting Unity Fund and shedding light on the positive changes happening in our region.

 

Through the generosity of donors, Unity has addressed some of the most challenging issues facing our region—hunger, homelessness and community health—and empowered organizations that make our communities strong. Become a part of Unity Fund today. For more information on Unity Fund or to make a donation, please contact Adriana Viteri, manager of development and donor services at aviteri@cct.org or (312)616.8000 ext. 149. Or you can make a donation online.