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Financial Health Pulse 2022 Chicago Report

January 31, 2023

Chicago is known as one of the most segregated cities in America, with pockets of both deep wealth and extreme vulnerability. Even compared with the country as a whole, the city's legacy of race-based discrimination and decades of disinvestment and marginalization is extreme. Today, that legacy manifests in starkly different financial opportunities and realities for its citizens, falling largely along racial and ethnic lines. In partnership with The Chicago Community Trust, we examine the factors that contribute to financial health disparities among Chicagoans and residents of surrounding Cook County.Key TakeawaysCook County, including Chicago, demonstrates both greater financial health and greater financial vulnerability than the U.S. as a whole.The disparities in financial health across race and ethnicity are dramatically larger in Cook County than in the U.S.Black and Latinx households in Cook County are far less likely than white households to have access to wealth-building assets, yet are more likely to hold most kinds of debt than white households.Black and Latinx people in Cook County are far more likely to be Financially Vulnerable than their counterparts nationwide.Racial gaps in financial health of Cook County residents can't be explained by household income alone.

On the Table: 2015 Impact Report

September 28, 2015

As the kickoff to The Chicago Community Trust's Centennial, "On the Table 2015" marked the beginning of a yearlong campaign to celebrate philanthropy in all its forms -- giving of time, treasure and talent. The Trust's Centennial goal was ambitious; to spark a civic movement that will make the Chicagoland region the most philanthropic in the nation. On May 12, 2015, thousands of Chicagoland residents gathered together across the region to share a meal and celebrate the everyday philanthropists among us who strengthen our communities and improve the lives of others. Participants in these On the Table conversations were asked not only to discuss ideas for improving our communities, but also to make a commitment to work collectively or independently to improve our communities and inspire others to do the same. Again this year, the Trust invited the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement (IPCE) to partner and assess the impact of On the Table. The report results are based on the responses of those who participated in this year's survey. Highlights include key discussion themes, as well as surveyed participants' thoughts on commitments to future civic engagement.

On The Table 2014 Impact Report

October 7, 2014

In every Chicago neighborhood and many suburban communities, thousands of residents came together to break bread and discuss how to collaboratively build and maintain strong, safe and dynamic communities. This report summarizes conversations based on a wide variety of data collected by or made available to the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement (IPCE) and addresses three major questions IPCE posed to understand the impact of the initiative: who participated, what was discussed, and how were participants impacted by the conversations? These conversations were intended to provide a platform for partnering with and inspiring participants, organizations, and institutions in the region to take action to improve quality of life and to build a more sustainable future for the Chicago region.

News That Matters: An Assessment of Chicago's Information Landscape

July 13, 2011

The Community News Matters project of The Chicago Community Trust conducted surveys and focus groups of the general public, local leaders and low-income residents to assess the level to which critical information needs of democracies are being well-met in the Chicago region and to identify critical information gaps and deficiencies in Chicago's information landscape that may need to be addressed.

Chicago Recovery Partnership Evaluation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

June 1, 2011

From 2009-2011, the City of Chicago and Cook County received a total of $2.35 billion in funding provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act [ARRA]. The stimulus money was allocated to seven areas: education, basic needs, transportation and infrastructure, housing and energy, public safety, broadband and workforce development. The Chicago Recovery Partnership Evaluation of ARRA analyzes the impact of the stimulus spending using a costbenefit analysis framework. This report evaluated $1.09 billion of total spending in Chicago and Cook County, resulting in net benefits ranging from -$173.9 to $2,740.2 million. The wide range in net benefits is attributed largely to education, which received over half of ARRA funding.

What Does the Census Tell Us About Metropolitan Chicago?

May 1, 2011

This publication examines key trends in population shifts across the metro Chicago region (defined as Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties). Among the report highlights are the following:Metropolitan Chicago is home to 8.4 million persons, and the area grew by 3.5 percent between 2000 and 2010.The Metro population is shifting westwardSome of the major racial communities are falling in numbers while others grow.Poverty becomes more regionalized.Immigration has slowed.Sharp demographic differences mark the generations.Education levels improve but disparities exist.

Elevating Our Vision for Learning: Improving Schools for All

April 1, 2011

The challenge for the Chicago Public Schools is shared by virtually every urban school district across the nation: How do we organize a school system to ensure that each and every student obtains a high-quality education that develops his or her abilities to become powerful and critical thinkers, responsible global citizens, self-confident individuals, and effective, literate communicators? To meet this challenge, we need to raise standards and elevate expectations for teaching and learning and build staff capacity to meet these standards.While we know that there is no single solution to fixing our education system, we do know that supporting high-quality instruction needs to be at the center of our efforts.Identifying ways for the school system to achieve high-quality education for every student in every school is the focus of this document, developed with the support of The Chicago Community Trust. We believe that our schools will benefit greatly by implementing these recommendations, which draw from the collective knowledge of local and national experts and practitioners. We are grateful for the many contributors who gave their time and expertise to develop this document.

Linking Audiences to News: A Network Analysis of Chicago Websites

April 1, 2011

The mass media model, which sustained news and information in communities like Chicago for decades, is being replaced by a "new news ecosystem" consisting of hundreds of websites, podcasts, video streams and mobile applications. In 2009, The Chicago Community Trust set out to understand this ecosystem, assess its health and make investments in improving the flow of news and information in Chicagoland. The report you are reading is one of the products of the Trust's local information initiative, Community News Matters. "Linking Audiences to News: A Network Analysis of Chicago Websites" is one of the first -- perhaps the first -- research projects seeking to understand a locala

Renewing the Commitment: An ADA Compliance Guide for Nonprofits

January 31, 2011

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 has been hailed as one of the most significant civil rights laws since the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Its intent is to ensure that people with physical and mental disabilities have equal access to, and equal opportunity to enjoy, the services and activities of state and local governments, as well as most private entities including most nonprofit organizations.This guide is just that -- a guide. It does not set standards for grantees of The Chicago Community Trust. It is not intended as legal advice. At times, this guide states the ADA's explicit requirements and identifies them as such. At other times, it makes suggestions that go beyond the minimum requirements of the ADA, providing guidance for improving access and adopting best practices. It is intended to give your organization information about compliance, along with tools that make compliance possible -- tools that you can use and adapt according to your size, activities and resources.

Economic Impacts of GO TO 2040

January 21, 2011

The economy of the Chicago metropolitan region has reached a critical juncture. On the one hand, Chicagoland is currently a highly successful global region with extraordinary assets and outputs. The region successfully made the transition in the 1980s and 1990s from a primarily industrial to a knowledge and service-based economy. It has high levels of human capital, with strong concentrations in information-sector industries and knowledge-based functional clusters -- a headquarters region with thriving finance, business services, law, IT and emerging bioscience, advanced manufacturing and similar high-growth sectors. It combines multiple deep areas of specialization, providing the resilience that comes from economic diversity. It is home to the abundant quality-of-life amenities that flow from business and household prosperity.On the other hand, beneath this static portrait of our strengths lie disturbing signs of a potential loss of momentum. Trends in the last decade reveal slowing rates, compared to other regions, of growth in productivity and gross metropolitan product. Trends in innovation, new firm creation and employment are comparably lagging. The region also faces emerging challenges with respect to both spatial efficiency and governance.In this context, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) has just released GO TO 2040, its comprehensive, long-term plan for the Chicago metropolitan area. The plan contains recommendations aimed at shaping a wide range of regional characteristics over the next 30 years, during which time more than 2 million new residents are anticipated. Among the chief goals of GO TO 2040 are increasing the region's long-term economic prosperity, sustaining a high quality of life for the region's current and future residents and making the most effective use of public investments. To this end, the plan addresses a broad scope of interrelated issues which, in aggregate, will shape the long-term physical, economic, institutional and social character of the region.This report by RW Ventures, LLC is an independent assessment of the plan from a purely economic perspective, addressing the impacts that GO TO 2040's recommendations can be expected to have on the future of the regional economy. The assessment begins by describing how implementation of GO TO 2040's recommendations would affect the economic landscape of the region; reviews economic research and practice about the factors that influence regional economic growth; and, given both of these, articulates and illustrates the likely economic impacts that will flow from implementation of the plan. In the course of reviewing the economic implications of the plan, the assessment also provides recommendations of further steps, as the plan is implemented, for increasing its positive impact on economic growth.

Open to All? Different Cultures, Same Communities

January 1, 2011

Produced for the Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs with the support of the Chicago Community Trust, this report aims to better understand immigrants living in the northern suburbs of Chicago -- who they are, where they live in relation to housing patterns and conditions, and the extent to which they exert political influence on local housing decisions. It was produced as part of The Chicago Community Trust's three-year Immigrant Integration Initiative, which began in 2007 to come up with strategies that could help immigrants successfully integrate into the civic and economic fabric of their new communities. A goal of this report is to provide a firm foundation for important discussions -- and decisions -- facing our communities.

Legal Aid in Cook County

December 16, 2010

Cook County's pro bono and legal aid delivery system is designed to help low-income and disadvantaged Chicagoans obtain the protections of our civil legal system and is an integral piece of both our justice system and our community's safety net. Each day, over 30 organizations help thousands of low-income people resolve serious issues that threaten their safety and independence, including issues such as domestic violence, mortgage foreclosure and obtaining public benefits wrongfully denied. In the past 7 years, the pro bono and legal aid system serving Cook County has grown significantly. Thanks to increases in funding, improvements in efficiency and continued innovation, Cook County's pro bono and legal aid organizations are serving more than twice as many people as seven years ago, reaching almost 180,000 people in 2009. Funding from various sources -- particularly the legal community and foundations has increased during this time, though government's share of overall funding for legal aid has not kept pace. The advances made by the pro bono and legal aid system, however, are still not adequate to respond to the needs of the number of low-income people in Chicago and Cook County suburbs, which has grown during the same period. In 2009, over 25% of the County's residents were at or close to the poverty level, with the numbers of low-income people growing both in the city of Chicago and the suburbs of Cook County. Even prior to the economic downturn, pro bono and legal aid providers struggled to meet the legal needs of this population. In 2010, pro bono and legal aid organizations report that demand for their services is soaring at the same time revenue from all sources is flat or declining. While great progress has been made, much work remains. A broad base of stakeholders -- led by the legal community and also including foundations, corporations and other dedicated individuals and entities -- must continue to support the work of our community's pro bono and legal aid system. For our community to have a system that can serve everyone in need, however, government at all levels must significantly step up its support as part of its fundamental responsibility to ensure equal access to justice. Pro bono and legal aid organizations help keep families and the communities in which they live stable. Without their help, thousands of low-income people are left to solve complex legal problems on their own, which may result in loss of their home, personal safety or economic stability. Our nation's promise of equal justice for all cannot succeed without a secure and well-funded pro bono and legal aid system.This report provides an update on the state of this system, including the current demand for services, how services are being provided and where funding comes from for this work. The Chicago Community Trust provided major funding support for the report in partnership with The Chicago Bar Foundation. Data for the report were provided by legal aid organizations and independent sources. Analysis of the data were provided by Rob Paral & Associates as well as staff of The Chicago Bar Foundation.We hope that this report will inform and energize all stakeholders to build on the progress of recent years and bring us closer to a justice system that is truly accessible to everyone in our community.