McCormick Foundation grants $455,000 for youth and education programs through Neediest Kids Fund

NeediestKidsFundChicago, August 6, 2013 — The Robert R. McCormick Foundation and WGN Radio have announced $455,000 in funding through the WGN Neediest Kids Fund, a McCormick Foundation Fund, to help keep Chicagoland kids engaged, safe and healthy year-round. The grants will support 19 local nonprofit agencies providing programs that concentrate on child and youth education and childhood hunger.

“One of the best investments we can make as a community is providing children with year-round educational programs and nutritious meals,” said David Hiller, President and CEO of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. “The generosity of our donors allows us to collaborate with organizations devoted to helping Chicago youth achieve a brighter, healthier future.”

What started as a holiday toy drive by legendary host Wally Phillips in 1969, the WGN Radio Neediest Kids Fund has grown to help at-risk kids stay in school, eat healthy and prepare for their future. Since inception, nearly $19 million has been granted through the WGN Radio Neediest Kids Fund.

“WGN Radio listeners are the most generous in all of Chicagoland.  Consistently through their donations, they help us support local charities, nonprofit organizations, and help fellow Chicagoans every day.  We thank them for their faith in us and the Neediest Kids Fund year after year,” said Jimmy de Castro, General Manager and President of WGN Radio.

To learn about the lives of those who have benefited from WGN Radio Neediest Kids Fund please visit You can make a gift by visiting or calling us at 1.800.516.8730.

The 2013 WGN Neediest Kids Fund youth and education grant recipients include:
1.    Genesys Works will receive $15,000 for the College Access and Persistence program, which enables inner-city high school students to break through educational barriers and gain experience in technical training and corporate internships to launch a professional career path.
2.    Illinois Hunger Coalition will receive $15,000 for the School Breakfast Expansion program, which aims to increase the number of all children that have an equal opportunity to achieve greater academic success, improve their diets and reduce their risk for obesity.
3.    Common Threads will receive $25,000 for the Cooking Skills and World Cuisine program, which engages low income students, ages 8-12, in active learning about nutrition, cooking and culture.
4.    Fraternite Notre Dame, Inc. will receive $25,000 for the Kids Café Program which provides nutritious suppers and afternoon snacks to children enrolled in its after school program as well as groceries to bring home to their siblings.
5.    Northern Illinois Food Bank will receive $35,000 for the Child Nutrition program which provides nutritious meals and snacks to food insecure children during times when a child is most vulnerable to hunger – after school, on weekends, extended breaks from school and summer vacation.
6.    Greater Chicago Food Depository will receive $50,000 for the South Lawndale and west side programs which offers nutritionally balanced suppers in safe, supervised settings, where children participate in after-school or summer programs operated by social service and youth-based agencies.
7.    Citizen Schools, Inc. will receive $30,000 for the Extended Learning Time program, which provides academic support, leadership development and hands on apprenticeship to middle school students during the extended day hours for two schools in Chicago’s Pilsen and Back of the Yards neighborhoods.
8.    Casa Central Social Services Corporation will receive $10,000 for the Youth Opportunities Unlimited, an after school program serving low income youth, ages 12-18, attending schools on probation with less than 60 percent graduation rates.
9.    Mission of Our Lady Mercy will receive $20,000 for the Academy program, which provides comprehensive education services to high-risk youth living in the agency’s residential home.
10.    Outreach Community Ministries, Inc. will receive $15,000 for the College Opportunity program, which supports low income, academically at risk students in the Carol Stream community with four years of college prep services, including daily afterschool homework sessions, adult academic mentors, ACT prep, weekly leadership and life skill development, college tours, summer youth employment trainings and work experience.
11.    Young Men’s Educational Network will receive $10,000 for the Education after school programs, which include individual academic tutoring, an on-line accelerated reading and math assessment program, mentoring, life skills seminars and college preparation activities.
12.    Christopher House will receive $25,000 for the Youth Leadership program, which provides targeted academic assistance and family support services to a core group of 61 youth in 6th-12th grade.
13.    Enlace Chicago will receive $50,000 for the Little Village Post-Secondary Transitional and College Success Program, which provides students at Farragut and Little Village Lawndale High Schools with post-secondary access and readiness support.
14.    Metropolitan Family Services will receive $20,000 for Project S.T.R.I.V.E. (Strategies to Rejuvenate Interest and Value in Education), which works intensively with adolescent wards of the state on Chicago’s far south side, who are at risk of school failure due to the trauma associated with multiple foster family and school placements and histories of neglect and violence.
15.    B.U.I.L.D., Inc. will receive $20,000 for the BUILDing Futures program which provides comprehensive supports to students in grades 6-12 to assist with the middle and high school transitions.
16.    Uhlich Children’s Advantage Network will receive $20,000 for the 360 Model program which pairs clinical intervention with youth development for youth at three North Lawndale schools who are at most risk for school failure due to a variety of traumas impeding school engagement and success.
17.    Umoja Student Development Corporation will receive $30,000 for general support. Umoja develops college-going cultures at the Umoja University partnership schools, intensifying the college and career readiness programming at a subset of those schools previously receiving Umoja’s curriculum.
18.    Center for Companies That Care will receive $20,000 for the AIM High Program which follows and supports low income Chicago Public School students from 9th grade through college graduation.
19.    Chicago Youth Programs will receive $20,000 for the Teen Career Program which provides support for 10th to 12th graders from the Cabrini, Washington Park and Uptown neighborhoods to prepare and place youth in higher education.

About the Robert R. McCormick Foundation
Robert R. McCormick Foundation is committed to fostering communities of educated, informed and engaged citizens. Through philanthropic programs, Cantigny Park and museums, the Foundation helps develop citizen leaders and works to make life better in our communities. The Foundation was established as a charitable trust in 1955, upon the death of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. The McCormick Foundation is one of the nation’s largest foundations, with more than $1 billion in assets.

The McCormick Foundation continues McCormick’s legacy by partnering with media outlets, such as the Chicago Tribune, sports teams and philanthropic organizations across the country, to encourage local giving, inspire civic involvement and address human needs. To learn more about the McCormick Foundation visit, follow us on Twitter, or like us on Facebook.

Click for this press release in .pdf format, including links to the various organizations



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