Press Release
February 25, 2009

Daley, Chicago Community Trust Officials Announce $1 Million In Grants

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Daley, Chicago Community Trust Officials Announce $1 Million In Grants

Mayor Richard M. Daley and officials of the Chicago Community Trust today announced seven grants totaling $1 million to address hunger and homelessness in the metropolitan area through the Trust’s newly-created “Unity Challenge Fund” initiative.

“No one city alone can turn its economy around. It continues to be a great source of our city’s strength that we have developed partnerships with the business and philanthropic communities that time and again have shown their commitment to improve the quality of life for every person in Chicago,” Daley said in a news conference held at Interfaith House, 3456 W. Franklin Blvd., a homeless shelter that will benefit from the program.

“One of our most committed partners in these efforts has been the Chicago Community Trust,” he said.

The City has worked together with the Trust on a wide range of issues including education, housing, climate change, workforce programs and prisoner re-entry, Daley said.

In late December, the Chicago Community Trust announced the creation of the Unity Challenge and the Unity Challenge Fund, which are designed to provide funding to non-profits that require more resources to serve the escalating needs of Chicago area residents who have been hit hardest by the economic crisis.

The Trust is working to raise $1 million for the Unity Challenge Fund. To encourage donations, it is providing a two-to-one match, with the overall goal of a $3 million Fund.

The goal of the Unity Challenge is to make sure that the agencies on the front-lines of serving the food and shelter needs of individuals and families have the resources they need to meet increased demand.

“This initiative comes at a critical time in response to such things as rising unemployment, increased demand on food pantries and homeless shelters and an overall increase in the usage of health and human services all across the city,” Daley said.

“Every family, every business, every city and every state has been affected by an economy which seems to worsen day by day,” he said.

The first round grants from the Unity Challenge Fund are:

Hunger - $450,000

Greater Chicago Food Depository – A grant of $250,000, which will allow for the purchase of an additional 180,000 pounds of protein. High protein food includes chicken, turkey, beef, pork, eggs and peanut butter. This grant, will serve approximately 700,000 individuals, or meals, at a cost of about .36 cents per serving. The Greater Chicago Food Depository will distribute the additional food through 169 food pantries and soup kitchens in high needs areas where communities have seen as much as a 59% increase in the number of households requesting food assistance.

Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation – A grant of $100,000, which will allow for the purchase of 8,600 cases of fresh produce, which includes fruits and vegetables. The produce will be distributed to 165 homeless shelters, food pantries and soup kitchens in the Chicago area.

Northern Illinois Food Bank – A grant of $100,000 which will allow for a purchase of 600,000 additional pounds of food for the low-income residents of DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties. These counties have seen an average increase of 38% in individual and household food assistance requests. The Northern Illinois Food Bank will distribute the additional food supply to over 304 food pantries, soup kitchens and community programs in the six collar counties.

Homelessness - $450,000

Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County – A grant of $150,000, which will be used to support the operations of eight emergency homeless shelters in diverse areas of Cook County. These shelters provide 513 beds each night, which means 187,245 shelter nights will be made available to families and individuals in one year.

The Inner Voice – A grant of $200,000 to support the operations of 12 emergency shelters located across the City of Chicago. These emergency shelters provide a total of 955 beds each night.

Heating bills subsidy – A grant of $100,000 to supplement the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services’ effort to help homeless agencies cover the costs of heating bills this winter.

Homeless Prevention - $100,000

Catholic Charities’ Emergency Assistance Program - A grant of $100,000 to provide homeless prevention assistance at three locations in Chicago and six locations in Cook County. Priorities are given to communities on the South and West Sides of Chicago and in the towns of Cicero and Harvey. Catholic Charities has seen a number of requests for assistance increased by 66%.

“At this moment of economic uncertainty we see tremendous and still increasing needs in our community,” said Terry Mazany, president and chief executive officer of the Trust. “Even though the economy has stalled, Chicagoans' capacity to care has only increased.”

Daley said that leaders of our city have a shared responsibility to do all they can to help protect the City’s economy and working families.

“Even with all the challenges ahead, I remain convinced that we can get through this. There is no problem too great for us to solve, if we continue to work together,” he said.