One Chicago organization doing crucial work is Inspiration Corporation
, which describes its mission as being a “catalyst for self-reliance.” By providing meals, training, housing services, and employment opportunities, the organization helps those in need gain the skills and resources necessary to become financially established and independent.
One specific program that does incredible work is Inspiration Kitchens
, which are full-service professional kitchens that operate as delicious restaurants serving the public, while also providing food for local shelters and valuable job training and employment for its staff, who primarily come from economically underprivileged backgrounds.The Cara Program
is another important organization that helps unemployed Chicago residents get the training, resources, and experience they need to secure and keep well-paying jobs. For those with less access to education and financial resources, this program is one of the ways they can begin to establish a stable, well-paying career in the city.
In DuPage County, Bridge Communities
works with churches, businesses, and a variety of local organizations to provide homeless families with holistic services to gain financial stability and independence. In addition to providing housing and resources for the families it serves, they also advocate for the needs of the broader homeless community in and around Chicago.
Feeding the Community
Chicago is a big city, and especially in times of economic hardship, many residents need help securing food and other essentials for their families. There is a variety of organizations in the city providing essential nutrition to underprivileged residents.
One of the largest such organizations is the Greater Chicago Food Depository
, which serves a network of over 700 shelters, food pantries, and mobile delivery programs by providing a variety of grocery items for the city’s residents. In addition to feeding Chicago’s citizens, the organization offers job training services, mobile lunch deliveries for children in the summer, and brings fresh produce to the region’s food deserts.
Other organizations helping feed the community include the Northern Illinois Food Bank
, which connects donations of food and funds from local manufacturers and retailers to their network of youth shelters, community centers, and more, ultimately providing meals to 71,000 individuals each week. Many local organizations, such as Lakeview Pantry
, help give residents the items they need while also offering volunteer opportunities for those who want to lend their time and skills to a good cause.
Volunteering and Donation Matching
In addition to corporate-level donations and service programs, many businesses in the Chicago area offer their employees incentives to give back to the community. Some of the largest employers in the region, such as Upwork, Cat Digital, and Pareto Intelligence, allow employees to take days off from the office to complete volunteer work while still receiving their regular pay, incentivizing them to get involved in the community and help important causes.
West Monroe, a professional consulting firm, grants the Fischer Fellowship to their employees, which allows selected individuals to take extended paid leave from their positions to complete volunteer projects in the local community and beyond. Other businesses with operations in the city, such as Navint Partners, also offer corporate donation matching for all funds that employees give to eligible charities.
Products with a Purpose
Many companies that base their operations in Chicago are committed to charitable giving via sales of the products they provide to their customers. This is a great way to know that your purchase can help make a difference and drive change in the community just through a small choice you make while shopping. It also displays the innovative ways the city’s thriving businesses are working to make change in and beyond Chicago.
One of the best examples of this is Kool8
, which produces high-quality, reusable water bottles that are stylish, well-designed, and great for the environment. Aside from being a useful product, the company is committed to making sure your purchase has an impact. With every water bottle they sell online, Kool8 donates 20% of the proceeds to charitable organizations that help provide clean, safe sources of water to communities in need around the world.
Another company that funds charitable work through the sales of their products is the digital, Chicago-based tea retailer Tiesta
. Through their Tiesta Tea Foundation
, the company funds charitable efforts on the local, national, and international levels. The Foundation assists those struggling financially within the city, leads national awareness efforts surrounding people living with disabilities, and works to provide Third World communities across the globe with necessities such as clean drinking water through the construction and maintenance of wells.
Education and Arts