Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Umoja Places Devon's Dreams within Reach

As a high school senior, Devon didn’t spend much time thinking about his future. He struggled in high school. For him, college seemed like a stretch.

Until he was connected to Umoja Student Development Corporation and his entire outlook on the future shifted. As a partner and grantee organizations of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Umoja helps public high school students achieve their academic and career goals by partnering with schools and educators to create the necessary conditions in schools for all students to achieve their goals in high school and beyond.

Umoja gave Devon the confidence and support he needed to make college a reality. They accompanied him on college tours, encouraged him to reach out to college admissions offices asking for a chance, and helped with the admission process.

Today, Devon is a junior at Southern University Baton Rouge studying mass communications with a focus on broadcast journalism. Not only is he thriving academically he is also active in campus life writing for the University’s student paper.

Stories like Devon’s can begin being the norm for youth living in low income communities with organizations like Umoja. Today, Umoja supports more than 3,400 public high school students by equipping them with the necessary resources, skills, and support to succeed in high school, college, and confidently claim their future.

Make stories like these possible by donating to the McCormick Foundation Communities Matching Fund. Please give today!

For Natasha, New Moms Made All the Difference

Anyone who has kids knows that being a new parent can be both scary and exciting. Exciting because you have such hope for the new life you are bringing into the world. And scary because there are so many unknowns.

For Natasha, the fears of becoming a first-time mom outweighed the excitement. There was no Mommy Blog or article that could help her overcome these fears. Homeless, pregnant, and moving from one shelter, she urgently need help.

Luckily, Natasha found New Moms, an organization that aims to interrupt the cycle of poverty and create strong families. As a partner and grantee organization of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, New Moms focuses its assistance on the most important areas of the life of a family, including stable housing, job training and family support.

The staff of New Moms took Natasha under their wings and surrounded Natasha and her new baby with everything they needed to transform their lives. Each day, New Moms assists families by offering support as they find a safe place to live, get a job, and become stronger leaders for their families. They certainly did this for Natasha and restored her sense of hope and confidence to build a fulfilled life.

At New Moms, 100 percent of the young moms who access their services live in extreme poverty. Sixty three percent come from homes where their mothers were teen parents.

New Moms addresses the health and safety of new mothers and their precious babies, understanding that kids need to build life skills in stable housing without the threat of eviction or homelessness. They provide hands-on experience, linking new mothers to permanent jobs, and lead them toward economic independence.

By instilling moms with the skills they need to be great moms, New Moms is empowering young women to transform their stories from ones of hopelessness to lives filled with stability, health, and vision for a strong future. Just like Natasha.

Make stories like these possible by donating to the McCormick Foundation Communities Matching Fund. Please give today!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Happy Giving Tuesday!

by Noreen Castor, Senior Development Officer

Now in its sixth year, Giving Tuesday is officially a thing. And now that it’s a thing, I’m thinking you, like me, want to be part of it by making donation today. But what if you don’t already have an organization that’s close to your heart – where do you even start? There are so many great nonprofits out there, so many great causes to support. How on earth do you choose which one to give to? Well, what if you didn’t have to choose just one?

That’s the beauty of making a gift to the McCormick Foundation Communities Matching Fund. The money raised supports the work of the Robert R. McCormick Communities Program, which gives grants to numerous social service nonprofits across Chicagoland that are providing individuals, kids and families the opportunities and resources they need to move out of poverty.

I’m on the Foundation’s Communities Program Development team – that means my job is to get people excited about our work – so excited that they join us in our mission by becoming donors and helping spread the word about the work we do together. So here’s my plug:

Thoughtful and thorough approach
What gets me really excited about the work of the Communities Program is that we are very thoughtful and thorough in how we tackle issues, invest donations, and work with communities. We believe everyone deserves a chance to reach their full potential. This kind of approach lets us curate local, impactful nonprofits for you.

Tackling issues
Unlike some organizations that tend to focus on one issue, we understand that issues don’t affect people one at a time. So we make connections between the issues to address multiple ones at the same time. We realize that:

  • When kids are hungry, they have a hard time concentrating and are less able to learn.

    Together with your generosity, we’ll support programs that provide both meals and educational help.

  • When a parent is suffering from an illness and can’t get the medical help he/she needs, his/her whole family is at risk.

    Together with your support, we’ll focus on expanding access to physical and mental health services.

  • When a job is lost, an individual struggles to pay the bills and is at greater risk of becoming homeless.

    Together with your kindness, we’ll work on helping people get the skills and resources they need to be self-sufficient.

Pretty neat, huh?

Investing your donation
We do the research for you to make sure your donation is invested wisely. Our solid vetting and timely evaluation processes verify that the nonprofits that receive grants are trustworthy and doing work that is making a difference. In addition to supporting organizations that directly help people, we also develop strategies that uncover and address root causes of issues, promote cross-sector collaboration, and take part in policy and advocacy work.

We’re talking real micro to macro views!

Partnering with communities
Residents of a community know their community the best – they know first-hand what their community really needs. That’s why we actively listen and work together with local leaders, residents and nonprofits to problem solve and work toward solutions that will create lasting change. We also know there is great potential within a neighborhood so we work together to highlight and strengthen the assets a community already has.

In addition, we develop respectful, productive relationships with the nonprofits that receive grants from us. We learn from each other and work together to achieve a greater goal. Our past grantees include Enlace, Erie Neighborhood House, Greater Chicago Food Depository, New Moms, and Teamwork Englewood to name a few.

Working together is where it’s at!

50% match all day, every day
We truly believe in this work, so we put real skin in the game – meaning the McCormick Foundation will match your gift at 50% not only on Giving Tuesday but every day!

Zero, nada, zilch goes toward overhead
We know you want your money to go to helping people so when you donate to the Communities Matching Fund, that’s exactly where all of it goes. How? Because the McCormick Foundation picks up its own operating expenses so 100% of your donation, plus the match, goes to support the programs of the nonprofits we partner with who are providing opportunities to those who want to change their lives.

So – are you excited yet…?

Let’s do this thing – Please give today!