The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced grants totaling nearly $10 million in support of Chicago-area nonprofits and gun violence prevention efforts.
Grants totaling $3 million were awarded to local organizations working to prevent gun violence — which surged in 2016. As a member of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities, a coalition of philanthropic organizations committed to reducing gun violence in the city, the foundation awarded $2.6 million to local direct-service organizations in support of their efforts to intervene with potential victims and shooters through street outreach and violence interruption, connection to services, and jobs. In addition, the foundation awarded $100,000 to the Chicago Fund for Safe and Peaceful Communities to help local nonprofits build community cohesion and create the conditions that help prevent violence and $300,000 to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in support of its Chicago Violence Reduction Strategy, which helps law enforcement, community partners, and service providers understand which individuals are most likely to commit or become a victim of gun violence.
The foundation also awarded two- and four-year Community Capital Grants to Chicago nonprofits to enable them to innovate, build their capacity, and pursue opportunities for growth. Recipients include the Black Youth Project 100 Education Fund, which was awarded $220,000 over two years to build a grassroots base of young activists working for racial justice; Cabrini Green Legal Aid, which will receive $900,000 over four years to protect the rights of individuals who have had encounters with the criminal justice system and remove barriers that restrict them from accessing education, housing, and employment; and Latinos Progresando, which was awarded $340,000 over four years in support of its legal representation services and community development initiatives in neighborhoods with large immigrant populations.
"In 2016, MacArthur spent several months listening to individuals and organizations representing a wide variety of issue areas, populations, sectors, and neighborhoods, with a goal of understanding their perspectives and needs," said Tara Magner, director of the foundation’s Chicago Commitment strategy. "Those conversations guided our thinking and directly informed key elements of our Chicago strategy. The awards we are announcing today represent our first investments in a new strategy to help make Chicago a more just place where neighborhoods are strong and residents thrive."
For a complete list of grant recipients, see the MacArthur Foundation website.