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MacArthur Foundation Invests $11 Million In Chicago Youth And Social Groups

By Joe Ward | December 15, 2016 7:17pm
 The MacArthur Foundation will give over $11 million to Chicago area social and business-oriented groups like the Chicago Youth Boxing Club, the foundation said.
The MacArthur Foundation will give over $11 million to Chicago area social and business-oriented groups like the Chicago Youth Boxing Club, the foundation said.
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Facebook/Chicago Youth Boxing Club

CHICAGO — The MacArthur Foundation will invest over $11 million in Chicago area youth, social progress and economic development groups, the local foundation announced Thursday. 

The foundation aims to spur economic development in Chicago's low-income neighborhoods, support local kids, help prevent violence, promote police reform and accountability and boost cultural programs, the MacArthur foundation said in a post on its site announcing the investment.

Best known for its yearly "MacArthur Genius Grants," the MacArthur Foundation was established in Chicago in 1970.

In total, 19 organizations and programs will receive $11.6 million in grants and investments, the foundation said. Organizations that will receive funding include economic development group Greater Chatham Initiative, the social justice and investigative reporting hub Invisible Institute to Kanye West's charity, Donda's House (full list below).

"MacArthur is deeply committed to Chicago," foundation president Julia Stasch said in a statement. "These new awards build on our long local history and our commitment to help address some of the city's most pressing challenges — from spurring economic development and creating jobs in struggling neighborhoods to preventing violence, from promoting police reform and accountability to creating opportunities for youth."

Over the span of 34 years, 1,300 Chicago organizations and individuals have received over $1 billion in investment from the MacArthur Foundation, the group said. That's more than any place in the world, it said.

The largest gift was to the Chicago TREND, or Transforming Retail Economics of Neighborhood Development, which grants loans to businesses and enterprises in low-income areas to help spur economic development. The group will receive $5 million for its investment fund as well as $1.4 million to support neighborhood retail development, the foundation said.

Other groups to receive funding include:

Greater Chatham Initiative: $500,000 to support the groups efforts to improve low-income South Side neighborhoods through growing local business and spurring home ownership.

Kinzie Industrial Development Corporation: $400,000 to support a project aimed at creating growth in Chicago's food and beverage industry.

Metropolitan Planning Council: $200,000 for a "cost of segregation" study from the local urban planning group.

YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago: $500,000 to support the group's youth safety and violence prevention initiative. 

Children's Home + Aid Society: $365,000 for mentoring programs for kids at risk of violence.

Mozilla Foundation: $250,000 for a network of educations and organizers committed to web and digital literacy.

Thrive Chicago: $200,000 in general support to the local youth group.

DePaul University: $125,000 for it's digital youth network which coordinates out-of-school and summer programs for kids.

Chicago Fund for Safe and Peaceful Communities: $100,000 to support local groups that seek to prevent violence.

Invisible Institute: $500,000 to support the group's work on local police reform and government transparency.

Woods Fund of Chicago: $300,000 to building a community engagement plan that will push for police reform.

Donda's House: Kanye West's charity headed by rapper and organizer Che "Rhymefest" Smith. Will use funds to "promote healing in response to violence."

Chicago Latino Theater Alliance: $750,000 to local cultural efforts.

National Museum of Mexican Art: $75,000 so it can participate in Enrich Chicago, an effort that seeks to provide greater equity to arts in Chicago.

Illinois Humanities: $125,000 to support a project using the arts to advocate for criminal justice reform.

Terra Foundation for American Art: $100,000 to promote exhibits and installations that highlight Chicago's role in the arts.

MLK Memorial Fund: $75,000 to support the memorial of Dr. King erected in Marquette Park this year.

My Block My Hood My City: $50,000 for South Side group that takes teens to parts of the city they normally wouldn't have access to.

Chicago Youth Boxing Club: $50,000 to the program that serves at-risk Little Village and North Lawndale kids.

Chicago Community Trust: $50,000 to help educate state lawmakers on effects of budget impasse on social services groups.

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