Veterans from all eras face a unique set of opportunities and challenges when transitioning from military service back to civilian life. When servicemembers return to their communities, it is often challenging and overwhelming to navigate the various services and matching them to their own needs. Faith is a natural place for people to turn to in times of need. It is this pre-existing infrastructure that has prompted the faith-based and the social service communities to come together to help veterans and their families.
In fall 2014, faith-based leaders, mental health practitioners, veteran service providers, pastoral care practitioners and other interested parties came together to launch the Multi-Faith Veterans Support Project (MVP), a new effort to pilot projects that will enhance the quality of life for veterans and their families. The Steans Center's Egan Office for Urban Education and Community Partnerships at DePaul University is collaborating with the Robert R. McCormick Foundation to support the initiative.
Since the launch of MVP, Apostolic Church of God in the Woodlawn neighborhood and the Arthur Lockhart Resource Institute in the Austin neighborhood have been identified as the first two partner communities.
MVP’s strategic approach is as follows:
Integrate the faith-based community with the local networks of social service providers to strengthen community coordination around veterans and veteran family issues.
Develop a spiritual care curriculum that equips and trains faith leaders to understand and address the needs of veterans and their families such as moral injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Raise awareness about faith-based resources available to veterans.
MVP will work with four partner communities in Chicago, geographically defined, to employ this strategic approach. The effort seeks to honor religious diversity while strengthening relationships across faith communities, behavioral health and veterans.
To learn more about the Multi-Faith Veteran Support Project and its progress follow MVP on Facebook and Twitter.
John Zeigler, Director of the Egan Office for Urban Education and Community Partnerships
Dr. Troy Harden, Research Associate, Egan Office for Urban Education and Community Partnerships and Professor Chicago State University
Pastor Oluwatoyin Hines, Ministry Coordinator, Multi-Faith Veteran Support Project
Robert R. McCormick was one of Chicago’s first major philanthropists, with his generosity helping to shape the city he loved. In 2015, the Foundation that bears his name will mark the 60th anniversary of its establishment. Over that time, the McCormick Foundation has touched the lives of thousands of people, contributing more than one billion dollars to journalism, education, community action, social and economic services and civic engagement.
The McCormick Foundation is marking the year with special partnerships and events for the communities in and around Chicago.
Also celebrating 60 years of its commitment to Chicago is WTTW/Channel 11. Through special support of their premiere news program Chicago Tonight, regular pledge drives, and special community screenings, the Foundation will help trumpet the tremendous value that the station has added to our lives since its first broadcast.
Through an enhanced partnership with the Donors Forum, the McCormick Foundation will assist in the convening of the non-profit community for conversations throughout the year on government reform, civic engagement and economic mobility. As the premier resource for networking and education, information and knowledge, and leadership and advocacy on behalf of philanthropy and non-profits in Illinois, the Donors Forum is uniquely poised to help the Foundation build momentum around these topics.
On Thursday, July 30, we invite you to spend a day at Cantigny Park for our 60th Anniversary Celebration. As McCormick’s former retreat located in west suburban Wheaton, Cantigny enriches our community every day and is enjoyed by more than 350,000 visitors each year. Visitors that day will get a special glimpse behind the scenes of everything Cantigny has to offer: from the formal gardens and walking trails to the Robert R. McCormick Museum; from the amazing fairways of Cantigny Golf to the First Division Museum, dedicated to the history of the Big Red One, the famed 1st Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. Whether you join us on this particular day or any other, you’ll enjoy every moment you spend at Cantigny.
by Beth Swanson, Vice President of Strategy and Programs, Joyce Foundation (Chair, Thrive Chicago Board of Directors) and Tom Vanden Berk, Chief Executive Officer, UCAN/Peace Hub (Member, Thrive Chicago Board of Directors)
When he laid out his education priorities for the next four years, Mayor Emanuel made it clear that while Chicago has made great strides in its educational outcomes, we still have a long way to go. The Mayor plans to expand high-quality education choices at neighborhood schools throughout the city and empower parents and school leaders to improve their local schools. However, he won’t be able to achieve these outcomes alone. As he said, he’ll need to harness the combined might of parents, teachers, and principals. And in addition, he will need to tap the collective power of non-profits and community groups that support Chicago’s young people every day.
Previously incubated in the Mayor’s Office and now launching as a community-led, independent organization, Thrive Chicago is bringing together more than 200 organizations across multiple sectors, agreeing on common outcomes of focus, and uniting efforts spanning the entire continuum from cradle to career that results in citywide alignment to benefit all children.
Thrive Chicago’s partners are divided into Change Networks that focus on specific outcomes along a child’s trajectory: from kindergarten readiness, to helping youth who have dropped out of high school complete their degrees, all the way to employment at living wages.
For example, research shows that participating in early learning activities sets the groundwork for a child’s educational success. Parents across Chicago want their kids enrolled in high-quality early education programs. Organizations working together in Thrive Chicago are collaborating on an education and outreach campaign to make sure parents access the services available for their children.
Similarly, we know that completing college is tantamount to a young person’s future earning potential. Yet, children from low-income backgrounds who enroll in college are more likely to drop out than complete their degrees. To ensure young people receive the highest-quality guidance – and have the best possible chance to succeed in college – Thrive Chicago is now collaborating to develop a citywide college advising credential that will provide training to college advisers, a group otherwise left without a training regimen.
Through Thrive, it is our hope that we are all working toward common goals that will enable our children to not only survive, but to succeed.