CCHD awards $671,000 in grants

By Daniel P. Smith | Contributor
Sunday, September 9, 2012

Each year, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development awards grants to projects aimed at changing the structures that perpetuate poverty in our society. Some grants are awarded locally and are paid for with money collected in the archdiocese; others are awarded by the national CCHD office. Grants usually can be given to the same project for three years in a row.

Following are descriptions of the projects that will receive their grants from Cardinal George at a Sept. 14 event at St. Aloysius Parish.


Albany Park Neighborhood Council Bikes N’ Roses project
First year: $20,000

Bikes N’ Roses is a biking collaborative in which teens ages 14- 19 teach other young people how to build and repair bikes, hold mobile bike clinics and organize community rides. Bikes N’ Roses teaches youth entrepreneurship and engages young people in positive and physical activity. Bikes N’ Roses held their kick off event recently with more than 50 community members participating in the first mobile bike clinic.

ARISE Worker Center
Second year: $20,000

Arise Chicago Worker Center serves as a community resource for workers, both immigrant and native, to learn about their rights and how to organize fellow workers to improve workplace conditions. A recent study found that Cook County employers steal $7.3 million each week from lowwage workers. Arise provides training and leadership development for low-wage workers to win back stolen wages and improve working conditions.

BENNU Legal Services
Second year: $7,500

BENNU is an innovative nonprofit agency providing low-cost legal aid, education, and job-skill development to help families and individuals new to the United States. Every year, BENNU directly provides nonprofit legal aid to 300 individuals and families. Through the outreach made possible by CCHD funding, the number of crime victims BENNU helped more than doubled over the previous year.

Blocks Together Taking Root Project
Second year: $20,000

Blocks Together works primarily on issues of education, housing and economic justice and youth development. Blocks Together was established 18 years ago, and since has made local and citywide policy changes to improve schools, housing and workforce development in the community. Blocks Together also makes schools and the community safer with healthier programming for at-risk youth.

Center for Companies That Care AIM High project
Second year: $15,500

Companies That Care improves the lives of disadvantaged individuals and engages employers to give back to communities. AIM High, the non-competitive college access program for low-income CPS students, increases the percentage of students who earn four-year college degrees by age 25 from 6 percent to 54 percent. The organization partners with students from seven high schools, their families or guardians and local companies to deliver the curriculum from ninth grade through college graduation.

Chicago Workers Collaborative Raising Standards project
Third year: $20,000

The Chicago Workers’ Collaborative focuses on raising wages and improving working conditions in the temporary labor sector in the greater Chicago region, which includes 350,000 workers, largely Latino immigrants. In the past year it has conducted hundreds of community presentations, workshops and trainings to more than 2,500 workers.

Interfaith Leadership Project’s Immigrant Empowerment Project
First year: $20,000

Interfaith Leadership Project’s Immigrant Empowerment Project seeks to improve the quality of life for immigrants in the Cicero and Berwyn communities by working to stop local police practices that target immigrants for fines, arrests and deportation and create policy changes that better support hard-working immigrant families. Interfaith Leadership Project also works for state and federal level changes to immigration policies to expand human rights and to protect family unity and community stability.

Jane Addams Senior Caucus Housing Advocacy Project
Second year: $25,000

The Jane Addams Senior Caucus is a grassroots organization of older adults that builds relationships, develops leaders, educates people and creates the power necessary for older adults to play a central role in determining their quality of life. Many seniors cannot find affordable housing and many lack the health care they need. Recently, the caucus won the preservation and renovation of affordable senior housing in several buildings.

Lakeview Action Coalition Affordable Housing Preservation and Creation Project
First year: $15,000

The Lakeview Action Coalition is working to gain 200 affordable units in the new development at the vacated Children’s Memorial Hospital site, which would be the first new affordable housing in Lincoln Park in decades.

Life Directions South Lawndale Neighborhood Discernment Community, Peaceable Garden Project
First year: $15,000

Life Directions aims to inspire young people ages 13 to 35 and adults who care about them to effect change based on values from within the person. The most significant social concerns affecting South Lawndale’s young adults are education and violence.

Metropolitan Tenants Organization Metropolitan Tenants Project
Second year: $10,000

The Metropolitan Tenants Organization is committed to the mission of educating, organizing and empowering tenants to have a voice in the decisions that affect the availability and affordability of safe and decent housing. It is working for a mandatory inspection policy in Chicago to ensure that rental properties in high-risk areas of the city are regularly inspected for home-based health hazards. Its goal is to introduce the ordinance to city council in the upcoming year.

Most Blessed Trinity MBT Workforce
Second year: $5,000

Most Blessed Trinity Parish and the parishes that combined to form it have served the poor and welcomed generations of immigrants in Lake County’s Waukegan and North Chicago communities. Fé y Vida Pública was formed by a group of parish and community leaders to raise community awareness of the issues and systems that oppress our community so that those affected can take collective action to create change.

Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, St. John of God Community Garden
First year: $25,000

Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation responds to violence and conflict, especially involving youth who had contact with the Criminal Courts of Cook County. Through the community garden project, youth will have a chance to contribute positively to the betterment of their community while building job skills and enhancing personal development. An emphasis is placed upon building positive relationships between youth and the community.

St. Pius V Resourcing Domestic Violence Ministries
First year: $15,000

St. Pius V will work with faithbased organizations, especially Catholic parishes and entities throughout the Archdiocese of Chicago, to create greater awareness about domestic violence, develop parish ministries and build a network of churches to assist domestic violence victims and their children in the archdiocese.

Respect Life Office, Archdiocese of Chicago Chastity Education Initiative
Third year: $20,000

The Chastity Education Initiative was formed in 2003 to empower youth by educating them on the message of chastity and respect for life. It is a youth training program that seeks to address the root causes of moral, spiritual and economic poverty. Studies indicate that 1 in 5 sexually-active teen girls get pregnant and that single motherhood is a known correlate of poverty.

TARGET Area Development Corporation Justice at Work
Second year: $25,000

TARGET does community organizing, policy research and advocacy to promote economic development, public safety, criminal justice reforms and improved education in the Auburn-Gresham and Englewood areas. TARGET has built numerous cross-sector, multi-ethnic coalitions that have won passage of two criminal justice legislative reforms; developed a state-funded model for community engagement in reentry of ex-offenders; won millions of dollars for public safety work in its community; and reduced truancy to less than 1 percent in two local schools.

Warehouse Workers for Justice Leadership Development
Second year: $10,000

Warehouse Workers for Justice organizes workers and their allies to win living-wage direct-hire jobs in warehouses through education, mobilization and policy campaigns. During this past grant year, WWJ created pressure for more direct hire jobs in major warehouses and focused on leadership development by building black/brown alliances, conducting intensive outreach and relationship-building to strengthen WWJ’s Interfaith Action Committee.

Zacchaeus House
Third year: $10,000

Zacchaeus House is a non-profit, non-treatment residential facility that provides a faith-to-work home for homeless and needy men in transition. The ministry is staffed and supported by Catholic deacons. The men who come to Zacchaeus House are experiencing homelessness and are often in need of rebuilding self-esteem, restoring the fundamental dignity of their human lives and the time to heal.

National grants

Centro de Trabajadores Unidos, $38,000; Developing Communities Project, $30,000; Lake County Center for Independent Living, $35,000; Lake County Sponsors, $40,000; Latino Union Inc., $70,000; Progress Center for Independent Living, $70,000; The Resurrection Project, $60,000; United African Organization Inc., $30,000.