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Seed Grant

2019-2020 Seed Grant Awardees

Sisters Working It Out

Structural Violence within this country’s institutions result in unnecessary deaths of thousands in communities of color each year. For decades, researchers have documented persistent and growing racial disparities in morbidity and mortality as a result of structural violence. 

 Sisters Working It Out (SWIO) is a 501c3 nonprofit with over 17th years of dedicated service to eliminating systems of structural violence perpetuating racial disparities in breast cancer mortality for African American and Latina women. SWIO is applying for $10,000 in seed grant funding from CHER Chicago to host six public engagement workshops with the residents of Oakwood Shores, a public housing community in the Bronzeville community. The aims are to increase awareness of structural violence in the context of institutions that impact our day to day lives including healthcare, education, and our criminal justice systems.; document specific accounts of how structural violence is affecting this population; and, plan and prioritize tangible strategies to improve resources and services to be more responsive to the needs of this community. 

 Several strategies will be used to disseminate the findings and experiences documented through the workshops. SWIO will develop tailored education materials to incorporate across all its existing programming. Specifically, new curriculum for the community health educator training program will be developed to explain structural violence and how it has shaped our day to day experiences. Lastly, SWIO will develop a formal report documenting the processes, impacts and outcomes of the initiative and most importantly lessons learned for replication and advancing health equity and social justice.


Sex Workers Outreach Project

Sex workers face increased risk for health related issues and for physical violence.  Moreover, sex workers intersect multiple kinds of structural violence, as trans*, queer, and non-white people are disproportionately represented in sex work.  This grant will address the health disparities and vulnerabilities of the sex work community through three interrelated projects.  First, we will host an art show for sex workers to express themselves and communicate their experiences to the larger Chicago community.  Second, we will hold educational workshops, aimed both toward sex workers for them to know their rights; and toward non-sex workers on the vulnerabilities they face because of structural violence.  Third, we will train medical health professionals on best practices for working with sex workers, so that workers have access to health services in a non-judgmental setting. The Sex Workers Outreach Project is a grassroots collective led by and for sex workers which provides resources (such as condoms, sterile syringes, and Naloxone) to street-based workers in a weekly outreach program; a monthly support group led by clinically trained therapists; and a free legal clinic specializing in issues of discrimination and immigration status.  With a deep intimacy with the sex work community and an awareness of how multiple forms of violence intersect to marginalize members of it, we are in an effective position to carry out.


2018-2019 Seed Grant Awardees

American Indian Center logo

American Indian Center
Chicago American Indian Community Conversations: Then, Now, Next

Today, the AIC strives to be the primary cultural and community resource for nearly 65,000 American Indians in Chicagoland’s six county region.  Chicago is the third largest urban Native American population in the country with over one-hundred tribal nations represented. With over 75% of all Native people living off-reservation and in urban settings, the AIC represents this emerging Native population shift, resulting in a diverse multi-tribal community in need of a common social and cultural place of gathering.  Through a combination of short-term relief services and long-term education and support programs, we seek to foster physical and spiritual health in the community, an active connection with traditional values and practices, stronger families with multigenerational bonds, and a rising generation of educated, articulate, and visionary youth.


Gads Hill Center
Building Leaders Youth: Engaging Youth and Their Peers in a Youth-Led Community

Gads Hill Center families face complex issues as they strive to build better lives. Our programs address some of the most pressing challenges facing working families throughout Chicago, including lack of resources and education. As a result:  

  • More than 600 children who complete Gads Hill Center early childhood programs are ready to succeed in grade school.
  • Of the youth that attended Gads Hill Center’s Teen Connection Program last year, 100% graduated from high school.
  • More than 15,000 children receive culturally and linguistically relevant education, resources and support services to help them and their families thrive.

Greater Chicago Food Depository
Understanding of the Intersectionality of Food Insecurity an Structural Violence

The Greater Chicago Food Depository is Chicago’s food bank. We provide food for hungry people while striving to end hunger in our community.

We do this in partnership with 700 agencies and programs including pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and responses for children, older adults and veterans. This network distributes food where it is needed most throughout Cook County.

Since 1979, the Food Depository has made a daily impact on hunger across Cook County. Last year, the Food Depository distributed nearly 70 million pounds of food, 38% of which was fresh produce. Every day we distribute the equivalent of 159,000 meals.

Our impact adds up and we have been recognized as one of the leading charities in Chicago. Learn more about how we make an impact on hunger every day.

The Food Depository is a member of Feeding America, the national network of food banks.


Roll Call Chicago in collaboration with ReCast, CDPH
Decreasing Recidivism: Empowering the Ex-Offender to Prevent the Next Offender

Roll Call’s vision for achieving unity by reconnecting ex-offenders and their communities through local action, self-determination, and mutual support networks reads like a playbook for solidarity. In fact, its members describe their challenge as helping Westhaven residents and ex-offenders harness their na nascent “solidarity as a people.” They argue that this solidarity will “make us a village, one people, one mindset, one strength” by underscoring the commitments that come from sharing the same interests in mending the neighborhood’s fractured physical and social infrastructure.


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