chicago nonprofits

8 Amazing Chicago Nonprofits Making a Difference in the Community

Chicago, a city known for its vibrant culture, also faces its share of challenges, from poverty and education gaps to health disparities.

Thankfully, numerous local nonprofits are dedicated to making a significant impact. Here are some of the top Chicago nonprofits actively contributing to the well-being of their community.

Chicago Nonprofits Making a Difference in the Community


1. Chicago Community Trust

chicago nonprofits

Mission: Enhancing the lives of Chicago residents by addressing critical issues facing the city, focusing on equity and economic opportunities.

History: Founded in 1915 by banker Norman W. Harris, the Chicago Community Trust (CCT) has a storied history as one of the nation’s oldest and most influential community foundations, playing a pivotal role among Chicago nonprofits.

Over the last century, CCT has dedicated itself to enhancing the lives of Chicago residents, adapting its mission to meet the evolving needs of the community.

From providing relief during the Great Depression to tackling modern challenges such as racial equity and economic opportunities, CCT has consistently mobilized resources, fostered partnerships, and funded initiatives aimed at transforming lives across the city’s diverse neighborhoods.

Through its enduring commitment to the well-being of Chicago and its people, CCT stands as a testament to the power of community foundations in driving positive change and supporting the vibrant ecosystem of Chicago nonprofits.

Impact: For over a century, Chicago Community Trust has played a pivotal role in mobilizing resources, fostering partnerships, and funding initiatives aimed at transforming lives across the city’s diverse neighborhoods.


2. Greater Chicago Food Depository

chicago nonprofits

Mission: Committed to fighting hunger in Chicago and Cook County through food distribution, community partnerships, and advocating for policies to eliminate food insecurity.

History: Founded in 1979, the Greater Chicago Food Depository has become a leading figure among Chicago nonprofits, dedicated to fighting hunger throughout Cook County.

With its network of over 700 partner agencies and programs, this organization exemplifies the collaborative spirit and impact-driven mission that define the city’s approach to addressing community needs.

Impact: This nonprofit serves as a hub for a network of more than 700 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and programs, providing meals to thousands of individuals and families in need each day.


3. Chicago Cares

chicago nonprofits

Mission: To mobilize volunteers to build a stronger, more unified Chicago through service projects that address the city’s most pressing needs.

History: Since its establishment in 1991, Chicago Cares has stood out among Chicago nonprofits for its commitment to mobilizing volunteers to meet the city’s most pressing needs. Through organizing and leading thousands of service projects each year, Chicago Cares fosters community engagement and social change, strengthening the fabric of the city through volunteerism.

Impact: Chicago Cares creates opportunities for volunteers to contribute in meaningful ways, from revitalizing schools to supporting seniors, thereby fostering a culture of community service.


4. Mikva Challenge

chicago nonprofits

Mission: Named after the late Chicago politician Abner Mikva, this organization seeks to develop youth to be empowered, informed, and active citizens who will promote a just and equitable society.

History: Mikva Challenge, launched in 1997 and named after the late Chicago congressman Abner Mikva, has distinguished itself among Chicago nonprofits by empowering the city’s youth to become active and informed citizens. Through its innovative civic engagement programs,

Mikva Challenge inspires young Chicagoans to take leadership roles in their communities, advocate for social change, and participate in the democratic process, contributing to a more engaged and equitable society.

Impact: Through its unique civic engagement programs, Mikva Challenge has inspired thousands of young Chicagoans to take action on social issues, engage in policy-making, and contribute to the democratic process.


5. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation

chicago nonprofits

Mission: To support the pediatric research, education, and care initiatives of Lurie Children’s Hospital, ensuring that all children have access to outstanding medical treatment.

History: The Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation, supporting one of the most distinguished pediatric institutions in the nation, plays a pivotal role among Chicago nonprofits by ensuring that all children have access to the highest quality healthcare regardless of their family’s ability to pay.

Through fundraising, advocacy, and community engagement, the Foundation mobilizes resources to advance medical research, education, and care initiatives, making a profound impact on the lives of countless children and their families in Chicago and beyond.

Impact: The foundation raises funds that help the hospital provide world-class care to every child, regardless of their family’s ability to pay, and advance research into groundbreaking pediatric treatments.


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6. The Resurrection Project

chicago nonprofits

Mission: Founded by local residents and churches, The Resurrection Project aims to build healthier communities through financial wellness, education, and affordable housing initiatives.

History: Founded in 1990 by a coalition of Pilsen churches, The Resurrection Project has solidified its position among influential Chicago nonprofits dedicated to community revitalization.

By integrating financial wellness, education, and affordable housing initiatives, it empowers residents and strengthens neighborhoods, showcasing the transformative power of collective action within Chicago’s diverse communities.

Impact: With a focus on Latino neighborhoods, this nonprofit has successfully developed affordable housing, provided financial counseling, and fostered community engagement to uplift and empower residents.


7. Urban Initiatives

chicago nonprofits

Mission: To empower Chicago’s youth through sports-based youth development programs that promote health, academic success, and personal growth.

History: Urban Initiatives, established in 2003, has emerged as a dynamic force among Chicago nonprofits, leveraging the unifying power of sports to engage children in underserved communities.

Impact: Urban Initiatives works in Chicago Public Schools to offer programs that encourage physical activity, team building, and leadership skills, supporting students in underserved communities.


8. Center on Halsted

chicago nonprofits

Mission: Serving as the Midwest’s most comprehensive community center for LGBTQ individuals, Center on Halsted provides support services, health and wellness programs, and cultural events.

History: Center on Halsted, which opened its doors in 2007, stands as a beacon among Chicago nonprofits for the LGBTQ community, offering a comprehensive range of social, educational, and support services.

As the largest LGBTQ community center in the Midwest, it embodies the spirit of inclusivity and advocacy, providing a safe and welcoming space for thousands, and reinforcing the city’s commitment to diversity and equality.

Impact: Through advocacy and education, the center fosters a welcoming environment where individuals can find resources, support networks, and opportunities for personal development.


These Chicago nonprofits exemplify the spirit of community and compassion that defines their city.

By addressing a wide range of issues from hunger and health care to youth empowerment and LGBTQ support, they contribute significantly to the fabric of the city.

Their work not only provides immediate assistance to those in need but also lays the groundwork for long-term positive change, making Chicago a better place for all its residents.


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