Apply for a grant.


Proactively addressing the potential for violence this summer, the Chicago Fund for Safe and Peaceful Communities is making its fourth round of rapid-response grants to community-based organizations operating activities and intervention programs in the hardest hit South and West side neighborhoods.

Nonprofit organizations can apply for grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. Grant applications are due April 10, 2019, and funds will be distributed May 22, 2019.

The application for funding is available at

The Chicago Fund for Safe and Peaceful Communities is a strategy of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities. It launched in 2016 in response to a spike in violence that drew attention to the problem of gun violence in Chicago. In an effort that has attracted the resources of an increasing number of funders, the rapid-response fund has provided $2.2 million in support of 324 projects in Chicago:

2016: $500,000 in support; 72 projects funded
2017: $850,000 in support; 120 projects funded
2018: $850,000 in support; 132 projects funded

Over the past three years the fund has demonstrated that providing immediate summertime grants on the South and West sides is an effective tool in an overall strategy to reduce and prevent violence in Chicago. After last year’s round of funding, 70 percent of young survey respondents said that being in their funded program made them feel safer in their communities. Adults reported they believed local organizations work to make their community safe.

In 2018, more than 300 community organizations applied for support, and 132 were awarded grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. The fund supported a variety of projects designed to build community cohesion as a way to stem violence. These included a financial literacy program for teens and a summit dedicated to truth and reconciliation. An Englewood program brought together community members and police at the district police station for chess lessons and matches. In fact, 60 percent of organizations that provided information on partnerships reported working with the Chicago Police Department. Support from the fund also allowed the South Merrill Community Garden, in South Shore, to extend summer programming into the fall. That meant more cooking classes for seniors, an art installation, block party, bike giveaway, and yoga time in the garden.

The fund is one of four key strategies employed by the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities:
● street outreach and transitional jobs
● police reform and community relations
● gun policy reform, and
● The Chicago Fund for Safe and Peaceful Communities, a rapid-response fund for community-led summer and fall activities

In 2019, the fund will prioritize 21 community areas on the South and West sides: Austin, Auburn Gresham, Chatham, Chicago Lawn, Englewood, West Englewood, Gage Park, East Garfield Park, West Garfield Park, Greater Grand Crossing, Humboldt Park, Lower West Side (Pilsen), New City (Back of the Yards), North Lawndale, Roseland, South Chicago, South Lawndale (Little Village), South Shore, Washington Park, West Pullman and Woodlawn.

Who is eligible?

The Fund will award grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 to nonprofit organizations with annual operating budgets no larger than $500,000 engaging in activities that build community cohesion and promote safety and peace. Applicants are strongly encouraged, but not required, to propose activities that adhere to one or more of the Seven Field Principles (7FP) model, an evidence-based framework with the following components, which has been successful in fostering strong communities and reducing violence:
1. Create a sense of community through programs and activities that are based on community members’ ideas for how to reduce violence. These programs should build relationships and networks among residents, families, schools, nonprofits, churches, businesses, etc.
2. Share knowledge across generations by providing models, tools and techniques for learning. These programs, such as mentoring and leadership development, will give community members access to new skills and information.
3. Create a sense of connectedness by engaging large numbers of community members in group activities. These activities will allow for neighbors, business, schools, etc., to come together and collectively take part in positive, proactive community events such as back-to-school rallies, peace walks and runs, neighborhood festivals, arts activities and pro-social youth programs.
4. Provide opportunities to learn social and emotional skills through activities such as leadership development workshops, peace circles, and volunteering that promote positive communication.
5. Improve the self-esteem and self-efficacy (sense of power) of youth in the community by providing opportunities for leadership, employment and skill-building.
6. Build relationships between youth and adults through activities that create a safe haven or space for youth.
7. Minimize trauma by connecting community members with caregivers and support services such as psychoeducation workshops and block parties with service providers.

The Fund will consider applications from groups, agencies, and organizations with a valid 501(c)3 designation or that have a 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor whose interests are consistent with the goals of the Fund to support grassroots, community-based solutions that make Chicago neighborhoods safer. Funds may not be used to support or advocate for the purchase or use of guns as part of any response.

The timeline

April 10, 2019 – Application deadline
May 13, 2019 – Grant awards are announced
May 22, 2019 – Checks are distributed
October 31, 2019 – End date of all activities

Use of funds

Funds may be used for activities that build community cohesion and promote safety and peace. The grant agreement will contain a provision that the funds will not be used to support or advocate for the purchase or use of guns as part of any activity.

Form of Proposal

Organizations requesting funds must submit a short proposal and budget through the CCT grants management system, addressing the following:

● Community(ies) to be served
● Qualifications of the applicant, including existing programming and success to date
● Planned activities, expected participants, community partners and anticipated outcomes
● Chicago Police Department collaboration (if applicable)
● How the activities will contribute to building community cohesion and/or improving relationships with residents and law enforcement
● Budget for requested funds
● Total annual operating budget of requesting organization


Each applicant will be asked to submit an online final report through Grants Central.

● Who and how many were impacted?
● What was achieved?
● How were the activities aligned with the 7FP?
● What lessons were learned?
● What, if anything, did not work and why?
● How the money was spent compared to submitted budget?


An independent evaluation will be conducted. Its purpose will be to assess the reach, activities, and impact of the Fund. Application and reporting materials will be shared with the evaluator. Grantees will be requested to participate in evaluation methods, which may include surveys, interviews, or program observations.

Funding Decisions

Funding decisions will be announced on May 13, 2019 with grants awarded by May 22, 2019.

Meetings to Network and Share Lessons Learned

Successful applicants will be asked to meet twice – during and at the conclusion of the grant period – to share their experiences with the funders and their peers. These meetings will provide opportunities to communicate lessons learned and inform future decisions about the Fund. Special accommodations will be provided as needed.