Today, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Allstate Chairman and CEO Thomas J. Wilson and Loop Capital Chairman and CEO Jim Reynolds joined with members of the Chicago Public Safety Action Committee (PSAC) to announce the committee’s first grant recipients. The committee will distribute $1.7 million in its first wave of grants to 11 nonprofit organizations that will provide mentoring, conflict resolution, and job training to more than 3,000 Chicago youth in over 20 neighborhoods.
Last Spring, Mayor Emanuel formed PSAC and appointed Wilson and Reynolds to lead an unprecedented public-private partnership to raise $50 million in funding to invest in programs to help Chicago’s most at-risk youth by giving them positive alternatives. This unique partnership is the largest of its kind in the country and will include rigorous program evaluation provided by the University of Chicago Crime Lab.
“Youth throughout Chicago should be spending their summers building friendships and futures, not worrying about danger in their neighborhoods,” said Thomas J. Wilson, Co-Chair of the Public Safety Action Committee. “These grants are the committee’s initial investment in neighborhoods throughout Chicago, with a particular focus on character development, conflict resolution and employment opportunities.”
“This is one of the most powerful and focused efforts that I’ve ever been a part of, and I’m proud of the work we’re doing to change the lives of at-risk youth in our city,” said Jim Reynolds, who also co-chairs the Public Safety Action Committee. “I’m especially excited to see the plan in motion, getting the money out to deserving programs this summer, and can’t wait to see the results of our investment in these kids and their future.”
PSAC awarded a majority of today’s grants for programs that emphasize social-emotional learning, which is the process of developing skills that define how we handle relationships and interact with others. These programs teach ways to collaborate, communicate and resolve conflict without resorting to violence. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, programs that focus on social-emotional learning have the potential to reduce violence by more than 40 percent.
“We all have a shared responsibility – parents, leaders, community organizations and the private sector - to do what we can to help our children. This first round of grants will help important community programs offer thousands of Chicago’s children positive choices right in their neighborhoods this summer,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “These mentoring, job and social opportunities will go a long way in helping so many more of our young people to have better opportunities. I applaud the PSAC board members for their diligent and thorough work to ensure funding went to the right programs.”
The following 11 organizations will receive grants in this first wave:
Kleo Community Family Life Center— To continue and expand implementation of a comprehensive program to address truancy and dropout patterns in area schools by creating job opportunities for youth.
Phalanx Family Services— To support youth mentorship efforts and provide up to 150 hours of paid work experience to participating youth.
Westside Health Authority— To build upon an existing mentorship and employment program for youth involved in the juvenile justice system. The program employs youth at community worksites, assigning each participant an onsite mentor who works with them on financial literacy, social emotional learning, and curriculum-based mentoring.
Youth Outreach Services— To place 160 youth who have been involved in the juvenile justice system into worksite opportunities where they will receive job readiness skills and training. Participating youth also receive financial literacy training and are paired with a mentor for the duration of the program.
SGA Youth and Family Services—To expand a social emotional learning and job readiness initiative to serve an additional 300 youth. Participants will complete a student-driven service learning project addressing a topic of interest of their choosing.
Youth Guidance— To support Becoming a Man and engage youth in productive and meaningful summer employment. Participants will engage in intensive mentoring and social emotional skill building during daily sessions as part of their summer job.
South Shore Drill Team— To provide job training and education on decision making, goal setting and anger management for participants in the Sounds of Summer program. This job readiness program provides youth with training, work experience on the drill team’s sound system throughout the summer.
Broader Urban Involvement and Leadership Development— To support a restorative justice program that assesses the needs of youth and involves them in activities after school, on the weekend, and during vacations. All youth who participate in the program receive a minimum of one-year of case management and intense mentorship.
UCAN— To immerse youth participants in cultural enrichment, career development, life skills, and supportive services programming for a minimum of 12 hours each week. Additionally, participants will attend monthly support groups for six months after the summer program ends.
LISC— To include four additional neighborhoods (Chicago Lawn, East Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Little Village, Woodlawn) in the Neighborhood Safety Initiative. This program empowers neighborhood-based coordination teams to collectively investigate concrete problems that are the root cause of local crime and social disorder.
Illinois African American Coalition for Prevention— To implement the Think First curriculum, which is designed to teach personal responsibility and social problem solving. The program will also facilitate academic tutoring and financial literacy training.
Neighborhoods being served by the PSAC grant program include: Austin, Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, North Lawndale, Auburn Gresham, Chicago Lawn, Englewood, Fuller Park, Grand Boulevard, Grand Crossing, Little Village, New City, South Shore, Washington Park, Woodlawn, Avalon Park, Burnside, Chatham, Roseland, South Chicago, South Deering, West Pullman.
With nearly 60 applications received for the first round alone, the enthusiasm and potential surrounding this effort is very encouraging, and another round of grant applications will be reviewed later this year. The 11 programs were selected based on a comprehensive set of criteria and each application went through a thorough consideration process. Each program has a proven track record of success and is poised to grow.
PSAC’s mission is to enable all Chicagoans to "Get In" and join the effort to keep children safe.
For more information about the Chicago Public Safety Action Committee and the nonprofit organizations receiving funding, please visit www.GetInChicago.org
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