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The Night Ministry to Get New Bus Thanks to $100,000 Grant

By Paul Biasco | June 12, 2014 7:42am
 Members of the Night Ministry organization pose with the $100,000 grant check from Impact 100.
Members of the Night Ministry organization pose with the $100,000 grant check from Impact 100.
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Impact 100

LINCOLN PARK — In its second year in existence, the city chapter of Impact 100 Chicago awarded two city-based nonprofits $100,000 each.

Thanks to the donations from more than 200 women, The Night Ministry and EMBARC will be able to greatly advance their causes this year.

The award will help The Night Ministry buy a new custom-designed bus and EMBARC expand into two Chicago Public Schools high schools.

The city chapter of Impact 100 Chicago gathers $1,000 from at least 100 women each year and awards 100 percent of the donations to at least one nonprofit.

Paul Biasco details Impact 100 Chicago and who they're helping this year:

Members of the all-women organization are required to donate $1,000 each year to remain a member.

 The Night Ministry is in the process of buying a new $300,000 bus thanks to a donation from Impact 100.
The Night Ministry is in the process of buying a new $300,000 bus thanks to a donation from Impact 100.
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In its second year the Chicago chapter of Impact 100 has grown from 123 members to 214, allowing the group to make two $100,000 donations along with three $6,000 grants to other groups.

"Initially it was a very small group when we started," Impact 100 Chicago's city chapter co-founder Allison Bacon said. "I think once you've gone through the experience it's really compelling."

The $100,000 grant given to The Night Ministry is a game changer for the organization, said Barbara Bolsen, vice president of programs.

The nonprofit, which has been in existence since 1978 providing street-level support via bus to Chicago's neighborhoods, has been trying to raise $300,000 for a new bus for a year.

The current bus is 9 years old and is starting to show signs of wear.

That means it has to be in the shop a lot and many people in the city count on its weekly visit.

"When it's in the shop we absolutely do not want to miss a night of service," Bolsen said. "People really count on us. They expect to see us."

The new 38-foot customized bus with a private medical care area, a restroom, hospitality area and electronic medical records has been ordered and will likely arrive in September.

From July 2013 through this past March, The Night Ministry provided nursing services to 900 people and administered 500 HIV tests.

The bus and its volunteers has had a total of 45,000 interactions with individuals, which could involve a cup of coffee, health care services or a conversation to help someone find housing.

EMBARC was started in 2010 by two teachers at Harper High School in West Englewood with a goal of closing the achievement gap by addressing the inequality of factors related to social, economic and cultural privilege.

That includes "journeys" to the Joffrey Ballet, Spudnik Press and Google, and a curriculum including a scheduled class period in which students learn life lessons ranging from manners and presentation skills to college enrollment counseling.

The $100,000 grant to EMBARC will help the organization expand into Collins Academy High School in Douglas Park and Manley High School in Lawndale in 2014.

The program expansion will reach 80 new students, provide training for four new teachers and help fund 24 to 30 journeys.

Impact 100 Chicago focuses on five categories: education, family services, health and wellness, arts and culture and environment.

The goal is to attract 500 members to eventually award a $100,000 to a nonprofit from each category.

"Our view is if we are going to support our city and invest in Chicago, all five of those areas are important areas that need attention and need support," Bacon said.