We have supported neighborhood revitalization in the Chicago metropolitan area since our founding. We have learned important lessons from four decades of investing in constructive community change—for example, the importance of investments in not only individual programs and projects but also in the strength of neighborhoods. We find that when local partners work together across areas of interest, organizations significantly increase positive outcomes in areas such as youth programming and violence prevention, affordable housing and commercial development, and foreclosure prevention and mitigation.
Building on a long history of support for neighborhoods, we target resources to a small number of:
- Place-based initiatives—established and emerging collaborations that engage a cross section of individuals, organizations, and institutions to affect positive change in neighborhoods and clusters of communities in the Chicago metropolitan area; and
- Infrastructure support organizations—entities that conduct planning, management and technical assistance, policy research, evaluation, and data analysis, or other assistance offered to groups working at the community, citywide, or regional level.
We invest in networks and pursue solutions generated by local organizations at various levels—including neighborhoods and clusters of communities—allowing them to tackle challenges around which they have built consensus. We are responding to a range of approaches, which allows us to support new ideas, energy, innovation, leadership, and collective efforts emerging in the city and suburbs. We also support seasoned and effective community development organizations poised to work at greater scale or to take on new challenges.
We make awards to up to five place-based initiatives each year, with support for up to four years. The size of awards is based in part on the annual budget of an initiative, with a maximum of $250,000 per year.
Measurement & Evaluation
The Chicago Commitment has engaged an evaluation and learning partner to measure and evaluate the progress of the strategy, test assumptions underpinning it, and collect information about the context in which the strategy operates. The focus of these activities is on learning. We aim to understand how the strategy contributes to a Chicago that is more equitable and where justice can thrive. Findings and analysis from evaluation activities will be published as they become available.
Additional Areas of Work
Updated May 2019