Photo courtesy of JNJ Creative. Artist credit: Englewood Arts Collective co-founder Joe “Cujodah” Nelson
Welcome to the December issue of Field News and happy holidays to all! In this newsletter, you will find:
- An update from Angelica Chavez, our Justice Program Officer, describing the work of our grantee partners in our Justice portfolio—which seeks to support organizations working to address the root causes of inequity and systemic racism through community organizing, advocacy and policy.
- A reminder that Field Foundation’s Letter of Inquiry portal is now open for Spring 2022 grant considerations.
- Season’s greetings and best wishes for 2022.
Focus on Justice
Four years ago, Field created a series of heat maps to help understand how race and need align in our city. The team looked at several quality-of-life indicators, including poverty, crime, and health, as well as access to education, jobs and the arts. What we found not only supported the hypothesis that race would equal need, but that in Chicago, there is an incredible nexus of poverty, trauma and divestment directly aligned to race. The inequity within the study area isn’t by happenstance—it’s by design. And inequities affecting the people and communities within the heat maps have only been exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. Field’s grantee partners in our Justice portfolio—present and past—are working every day to address these realities and make a meaningful impact by examining root causes, organizing to improve community conditions and advancing stakeholder engagement. But more than that, our grantee partners are mobilizing to build collective and community power to dismantle the systems, structures and institutions that uphold systemic racism.
Highlights from our grantees in 2021 include:
- Reimagining economic systems by establishing a housing cooperative on the West Side and Lower West Side.
- Addressing the carceral system by eliminating cash bond.
- Developing new solutions for public safety with a focus on reinvesting in communities with the necessary resources to help them heal from past harm and keep them safe.
- Developing community organizing campaigns that challenge institutions to invest in LGBTQ+ and Black communities, including campaigns that address Black needs and advance Black leadership.
- Listening to community members and organizing them around the City of Chicago’s budget process, with an emphasis on how they can influence it.
In addition to working in heat map communities to address incredible need and advocate for just policies, our grantee partners are on the ground helping in many ways—from providing direct cash, food and groceries to translating unemployment documents.
Looking back to four years ago when these heat maps were created, no one could have predicted a pandemic or imagine its devastating impact on these communities. But what we are learning through the work of our grantee partners, is that community heals community—and that community-rooted and community-centered organizations are essential to driving positive and lasting change.
Grant Season is Here
In this time of reflection, gratitude and celebration, our Field family would like to wish you all a very happy holiday season. Thank you for inspiring us each and every day. We wish you peace and good health for 2022!