Chicago Giving Back


In the Face of Hardships and Tragedy, the City Always Bands Together

Chicago is known for its innovative, creative culture and its close-knit communities—both of which are traits that have helped make the city a consistent leader in finding the most important and effective ways to give back to those in need. Businesses, nonprofits, and volunteer groups in the city are helping to solve the biggest issues facing their communities: homelessness, food insecurity, inequities in education, and much more. Given the current pandemic, which has impacted communities on every level—from employees to business owners, students to teachers, and so on—it’s more important than ever to find ways to support those who may lack essential resources.

We’ve compiled some of the foremost businesses and nonprofits in the city finding powerful ways to make lasting change—from small-scale community efforts to massive international charity programs making the world a better place. Lending your attention and support to these organizations and their missions is just one small, easy way we can help make the city a better place to live for all of its residents.

Combating Homelessness

Homelessness is a crisis facing many American cities, and Chicago nonprofits and businesses have been working hard to find creative and effective ways to help unhoused residents gain access to the essential resources and security they need to begin building a better life—as well as ways to help prevent more residents from ending up in precarious financial situations that might lead to homelessness in the first place.

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

There are many education and arts organizations in the city working to keep learning, creativity, and self-improvement alive and thriving for all Chicago’s residents, regardless of their economic status. These organizations play a crucial part in the educational and artistic opportunities available to children and people of all ages in the city, especially for residents from less privileged areas.

One crucial organization is the Chicago Public Library Foundation, a public-private partnership that works to keep the city's libraries updated, beneficial to the community, and accessible to all who need them. The city’s libraries play an important part in making sure that education, essential technology, and creativity remain central in the lives of Chicago’s residents. From free computer literacy classes to supplemental early-education opportunities, the Foundation provides an array of crucial services that make a daily impact on people’s lives.

The Chicago Shakespeare Theater is another important cultural institution that not only puts on affordable live entertainment for the city but also offers a lauded education program where students and professionals work together to stage a production. Its programs provide a crucial opportunity for young actors, writers, and directors to gain practical skills at a professional caliber, helping prepare them for successful careers in the industry.


Many organizations in Chicago are committed to fighting for equality and justice for all of the city’s residents, especially those who might not have the financial resources to afford quality legal representation. The ACLU of Illinois is crucial in this fight, working to ensure the protection of citizens’ civil liberties and constitutional rights through legal representation and assistance as well as broader advocacy efforts on a city-wide and state-wide level.

For those in need of legal assistance but are struggling to afford it, the Greater Chicago Legal Clinic is another important organization. The Clinic’s legal advocates work hard to help those from underserved and underprivileged communities navigate the complexities of the justice system. They also work alongside other local organizations, law firms, and law schools to ensure they can provide services to all who need them.

Experience the Unique Chicago Spirit

Chicago is a city full of citizens who do their best to care for and support one another. If you’re a Chicago resident looking to move to a new neighborhood or are making your way to the city for the first time, Tom Bakritzes can help with all of your real estate needs. From North Chicago homes for sale to luxury real estate in Lincoln Park, Lakeview, North Center, and Roscoe Village, get in touch today and get on the way to finding your perfect new home.


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