Community-based organizations serving are youth awarded grants up to $25,000 to fund projects that involve youth in promoting peace in their community
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Emerson Collective today announced the recipients of the 2016 Peace Grants, which will expand opportunities for youth to engage in safe and productive programs and activities this summer. A panel of local youth representatives selected 23 community-based organizations with initiatives designed to decrease violence and promote peace in communities across the City of Chicago. In total, the grants amount to nearly $350,000, and will support ideas conceived by youth and for youth.
“We all have a role to play in keeping our communities safe—and by investing in community-grown ideas like these, we will involve youth and residents across the city in making this a safer and more peaceful summer for all to enjoy,” said Mayor Emanuel. “I want to thank Emerson Collective for their partnership on the Peace Grants and our One Summer Chicago program, both of which will empower our youth to contribute to their communities and to experience a more peaceful summer.”
To ensure that grants would have widespread impact, Emerson Collective assembled the Youth Advisory Council, comprised of six college students from across Chicago who know local dynamics and would recognize projects that would benefit their peers.
“The best way to improve our communities is undoubtedly an investment in our youth,” said Arne Duncan, a managing partner at Emerson Collective and former U.S. Secretary of Education. “The Peace Grants program started as a fully youth-driven process, empowering young people to enact concepts and programs that will benefit their peers, while at the same time contributing to a peaceful summer and teaching them important lessons that can be learned only outside of the classroom.”
Nearly 300 proposals were submitted and reviewed by the Youth Advisory Council. The Council was charged with selecting proposals based on ingenuity and a demonstrated plan to provide youth an active role in making their community safer and more peaceful. Proposals ranged from youth-led-and-organized peace demonstrations, to music composition, college preparation and storytelling seminars—all of which are designed to promote conflict resolution.
“Having a role in the Peace Grant program is important to me not only because many of these projects will benefit the neighborhood I grew up in, but also because I know that all of these projects will allow youth just like me from around the city to make a difference,” said Terrance Mills, a member of the Youth Advisory Council from Bronzeville and current sophomore at DePauw University. “The projects I believe will be most beneficial are those that bridge positive relationships between youth and community leaders—including police officers—because this will help youth have more confidence in the very people who are responsible for keeping them safe.”
One such grantee is Bella Cuisine Kids Cooking Club, which offers a program pairing Chicago Police Department officers with Chicago Public Schools students ages 8-17 in an effort to positively change the culture between young people and police. As a recipient of a $25,000 grant, Bella Cuisine will offer a seven-week program where 120 youth will meet at their local police stations to work with officers to create nutritious meals. In addition to providing at-risk youth a chance to learn culinary and leadership skills, participants will work alongside officers from their neighborhood to deliver on a culminating “pop-up” restaurant for community members at the end of the program.
“The Bella Cuisine Kids Cooking Club prides itself on promoting healthy eating in underserved areas of Chicago, and involving our youth in learning nutrition and techniques that will keep them healthy for a lifetime,” says founder Latrice McArthur. “We are thankful for the Peace Grant, which will allow us to involve more youth in the popular ‘Cooking with Cops’ program that teaches youth to cook while removing negative perceptions of our police officers.”
Earlier this week, Bella Cuisine’s Cooking with Cops participants joined officers from the Chicago Police Department’s 7th District Englewood CAPS program to prepare a gourmet lunch for Mayor Emanuel and Aldermen during the July City Council meeting, serving 75.
“Our community and communities around the city rely on strong youth programs, like those supported by the Peace Grants this summer, to keep our children safe and engaged during out-of-school time,” said 18th Ward Alderman Derrick Curtis. “We are grateful to Mayor Emanuel and Emerson Collective for investing in programs, like Cooking with Cops, which allow our youth a chance to learn new skills and partner with organizations and positively benefit the entire community.”
All grants awarded will run through the end of the year. The full list of grant recipients is below:
About Emerson Collective:
Emerson Collective is an organization dedicated to removing barriers to opportunity so people can live to their full potential. Established by Laurene Powell Jobs, Emerson Collective centers its work on education, immigration reform, the environment and other social justice initiatives. The organization uses a wide range of tools and strategies—partnering with entrepreneurs and experts, parents and policymakers, advocates and administrators—to spur change and promote equality.