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The Role of Funding October 26, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — jhickey50 @ 8:00 pm
Funding plays a large role in a center’s ability to make a difference, for if there is no money to support programs, the children are the ones to suffer. Our group members researched our respective neighborhoods, and our findings are posted below.
For the Little Italy portion of the blog, I am going to have a focus on the top tutor-mentor center (in my opinion:) The Carole Robertson Center.

As a continuation from my other blogs on the Carole Robertson Learning Center, I will extend my evaluation of how this tutor-mentor organization stands out into funding. This week’s focus will be how Carole Robertson gets a foundation to support its enrolled children. 

The Carole Robertson Center accepts any funds they can get, as seen in the multiple paths available to donate. Government aid, special events, a wishlist, private donations, and corporate sponsors are a few of the ways to aid in the $9,625,958 yearly budget for the Carole Robertson Center. (Note: The source of this information is the 2006 annual report, available here: http://www.crcl.net/uploads/pdf/annual-report/CRCL_AnnualReport_06.pdf. The numerical budget applies only to the year 2006, the most recent data posted.)

Speaking of the annual report, its eleventh page shows a list of corporate donors and where they chose their donations to be used. The Brinson Foundation supported the Adult Learning Institute, the Kraft Employee Fund donated to the Youth Alternatives Program, the W.P & H.B. White Foundation supported the center’s programs in general, etc. etc. In addition to the breakdown of donations, the report lists corporate and private donors that supported without specifying where their funds would go.  Among these corporate sponsors are Target (a well-known business chain,) the University of Illinois (a prominent higher education school,) and SAKS Incorporated (a company owning many high-end retails stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue.) The variety in the donors shows how much of an impact The Carole Robertson Learning Center has on the community: its efforts and accomplishments reach out to businesses, colleges, stores, and much more.

What the annual report fails to mention, the website reveals.  Along with money donations, the Carole Robertson Learning Center provides two funding routes: special events and a wishlist.

The wishlist mentioned above is something unique to this center; I have not seen anything like it in any of my research (and trust me, I’ve done my research!) This ongoing post on the website–www.crcl.net for those who have not read my previous blogs–includes the following items and more: pocket dictionaries, pocket thesaruses, basketballs, CTA fare cards for the children, yarn, and pipe cleaners. The educational, social, and entertainment requests in the wishlist show how the Carole Robertson Center is so successful: they not only have a mission to improve education, but to improve the well-being of the children in general.

Overall, The Carole Robertson Center has covered all bases.  They realize individual growth is aided by the community, and use that knowledge to reach out to as many areas as possible.  The center knows asking for blank checks is irrational, and finds realistic ways to fund their programs.


Midway Metropolitan Family Services: Funding

The funding to keep this program functioning comes from a variety of sources. These sources include: foundations, generous individuals, businesses from around the Chicago area, city, state, and federal government agencies, schools, and the United Way. In the 2009 annual report, the program reported that 47% of their funding came from government grants.  Some of the corporate donors they continue to receive support from include: JP Morgan Chase Foundation, Chicago Tribune Charities, Target, Kraft Foods, United Airlines Foundation, and an endless list of others. They also receive various donations from charitable individuals.

At the end of the 2009 fiscal year on June 30, the program reported they had received an estimated $32,743,000.00 in donations. This money was allocated as follows: 81% to program services and 19% to support services across the program. This money also served an estimated 53,724 clients throughout the year. It was also estimated that the services provided have saved the state as much as $1,155,000.00 by preventing psychiatric hospitalization and providing supportive housing services through the programs it offers. The money the program receives is invested into enhancing the lives of individuals of all ages.

A complete list of donors and how the money is allocated throughout the program can be found in the 2009 annual report provided through the link below.



Gads hill center is funded by a lot of Chicago organizations. Gads Hill Center servers more than 6,000 local families each year, thanks to the generosity of all its donors. Private donations are always welcome but some of their major sponsors are:

City of Chicago


Illinois Department of Human Services

United Way Metro Chicago

Illinois State Board of Education

Wallace Foundation

Steans Family Foundation

Chicago Community Trust

Polk Bros Foundation

Colonel Stanley R. McNeil Foundation

Prince Charitable Trusts


Cristo Rey works a bit different. They offer what is known as CIP, Corporate Internship Program. CIP allows students to earn 65% of the cost of their education by working five full days each month in entry-level positions at corporations in Chicago downtown. Some of the corporations involved are:

Bank of America

Neal Gerber Eisenberg LLP

JPMorgan Chase

Deloitte & Touche

Leo Burnett Worldwide Advertising

Jenner & Block

Loyola University Health System


Little Village has received grants and funds from foundations, private donors, and the school boards. Centers such as the Carole Robertson Center have many collaborators, government partners, and donors which include:

  • Bank of America Foundation
  • The Blowitz-Ridgeway Foundation
  • The Brinson Foundation
  • The Chicago Community Trust – African American Legacy Initiative
  • CME Foundation
  • Harris Bank
  • Deloitte
  • Dollar General Literacy Foundation
  • The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation
  • HSBC
  • The Mayer & Morris Kaplan Family Foundation
  • Kraft Employee Fund
  • William G. McGowan Charitable Fund
  • Midwest Learning Center for Family Support
  • Nike, Inc. Community Grant Program
  • Polk Bros. Foundation
  • Prince Charitable Trusts
  • Prtitzker Early Childhood Foundation
  • Steans Family Foundation
  • United Way of Metropolitan Chicago
  • W.P. & H.B. White Foundation

They also have received money from the McCormick Foundation Grants for citywide literacy programs through the Chicago Tribune Charities. In 2009 Chicago Tribune Charities literacy grants rewarded them with $20,000. You can view the complete listing of the 2009 Chicago Tribune Charities literacy grants and other information about this foundation on http://chicagopressrelease.com/press-releases/mccormick-foundation-grants-nearly-1-million-for-citywide-literacy-programs-through-chicago-tribune-charities

Other tutor centers such as The Learning Center rely on personal donors. Public schools generally receive government funding, but have a difficult time being given these fund. Little Village activists and parents have even resorted to hunger strikes in 1998 then again in 2001. They eventually are given funds and are able to build a high school and a junior high school. To read more about this event and the funding you can visithttp://www.catalyst-chicago.org./

Elev8 programs are funded in part by grants from Atlantic Philanthropies, a group that aims to bring about changes in the lives of disadvantaged persons who face discrimination due to “economic situation, race, nationality, gender, age, disabilities, immigration status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or religion.” This group has invested $18 million into the Elev8 Chicago school programs. Some of this money goes towards an advocacy campaign that is using these schools and their programs as a model of what middle school reform should look like. It is estimated that this campaign will garner an additional $15.8 million from local foundations, CPS, and the government.

For more on the Atlantic Philanthropies, click here: http://www.atlanticphilanthropies.org/about-atlantic

The state of Illinois, too, finances these programs. However, state budget cuts have affected funding for Elev8 programs in Chicago schools. In one particular school, budget cuts have almost completely annihilated an after-school program that helps keep kids in school and off the streets.


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