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United Way of Metro Chicago and Ashley Homestores’ Hope to Dream Program Provide Over 140 Childeren with New Beds

With the help of United Way’s community partners, Hope to Dream, the official charity of Ashley HomeStores across North America, provided a bedframe, mattress, sheet set, comforter and pillow to those most in need.

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United Way of Metro Chicago Announces $1 Million Gift from Rick and Cate Waddell

United Way of Metro Chicago has received a $1 million charitable commitment from Rick and Cate Waddell to support economic development in the community of Austin through the Neighborhood Network Initiative. (PR Web)

BMO Harris Bank Invests in Community-Led Strategies with $10 Million Gift to United Way of Metro Chicago as Part of Chicago Mayor’s South and West Side Investment Plan

In support of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s South and West Side investment plan, United Way of Metro Chicago has announced a $10 million charitable investment from BMO Harris Bank. Through the largest corporate gift in United Way of Metro Chicago’s history, BMO Harris Bank is deepening its impact in the Chicago community with a specific focus on resident-led efforts guided by Austin Coming Together. (PR Web)

Cicero, Illinois Selected as Finalist for RWJF Culture of Health Prize

Community Health Efforts Recognized as Cicero Advances in Prize Selection Process

Cicero, IL (March 13, 2018) — Cicero, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, has been chosen as a finalist for the RWJF Culture of Health Prize given by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The national Prize honors communities that embody the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s commitment to health as a shared value and have the ability to organize multiple stakeholders to ensure positive health outcomes for the entire community.

“We are thrilled to advance as a RWJF Culture of Health Prize finalist community. Thanks to collaboration across all sectors we’ve been able to build a culture of health and create sustainable systems, as demonstrated by the dramatic reduction in community violence and gang activity,” said Meg Hefty, Associate Director of Sarah’s Inn, and a steering committee member of the Cicero Community Collaborative, a coalition of local service providers. “To the Cicero community, this is an opportunity to share nationally the remarkable work our local community has been achieving over the past decade.”

The Prize is guided by the principle that every community has the potential to leverage its unique strengths and be a healthier place for residents to live and thrive. To earn finalist status, Cicero had to demonstrate how their efforts reflect the six Prize criteria:

  • Defining health in the broadest possible terms.
  • Committing to sustainable systems changes and policy-oriented long-term solutions.
  • Creating conditions that give everyone a fair and just opportunity to reach their best possible health.
  • Harnessing the collective power of leaders, partners, and community members.
  • Securing and making the most of available resources.
  • Measuring and sharing progress and results.
  • “Selected from nearly 200 applicants, these RWJF Culture of Health Prize finalists recognize what it takes to build a healthy community. They have set themselves apart with innovation grounded in evidence; partnerships across non-profit, education, business, and local government sectors, among others; and an unrelenting commitment to all residents having an opportunity to lead their healthiest lives” said Richard Besser, MD, RWJF president and CEO. “We now look forward to visiting these finalist communities to learn more about their work and to help spread their ideas and solutions throughout America.”

    The community of Cicero joins nine other finalist communities from across the country. Winners will be announced this fall. If selected as a Prize winner, Cicero will be given a $25,000 cash prize and a national platform to share their story and lessons learned with the country. The community will also be part of a national network of past Prize winners.

    Cicero is a part of the United Way of Metro Chicago Neighborhood Network Initiative, a region-wide collective impact strategy focused on addressing the greatest needs in 10 Chicago neighborhoods. Founded in late 2014, the Cicero Neighborhood Network is guided by lead agency Cicero Community Collaborative and supported by the United Way of Metro Chicago. The Network set a bold goal of 10,000 Cicero children successfully meeting developmental and academic benchmarks by 2027, and supporting youth and families is the key that inspires community efforts to implement actions toward better health.

    To learn about the work of the 35 previous Prize winners, visit www.rwjf.org/prize.

    The RWJF Culture of Health Prize is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

    About Cicero Community Collaborative
    The Cicero Community Collaborative (CCC) is a coalition of local service providers whose mission is to enhance the quality of life for Cicero children, youth and families by working together to improve educational outcomes, parent engagement, health, and safety. To stay in the loop, follow the Cicero Community Collaborative on Facebook.
    About United Way of Metro Chicago
    United Way of Metro Chicago fights for the health, education, financial stability and safety of every person in every neighborhood across the region. We advance the common good on both a regional and neighborhood level by focusing on the building blocks for thriving people and communities: Access to quality health care, a good education, financial stability and ensuring people are safe. United Way’s Neighborhood Network Initiative supports and coordinates investment and programming in 10 city and suburban communities to address community challenges and improve the lives of residents.

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    Cicero, Il Receives RWJF Culture of Health Prize for Efforts to Improve Health and Well-Being

    Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Recognizes Cicero, IL for Forging Partnerships for Change


    Cicero, IL (September 18, 2018) Cicero, a suburb west of Chicago, is one of four winners of the 2018 RWJF Culture of Health Prize awarded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Prize honors communities for its unwavering efforts to ensure all residents have the opportunity to live healthier lives.

    Cicero is being nationally recognized for pursuing innovative ideas and bringing partners together to rally around a shared vision of health. Chosen from nearly 200 applicant communities across the country, Cicero’s award-winning efforts are community led and include, mental health counseling and trainings to help generate trauma awareness and combat its negative effects, community members and organizations rallying to keep their school-based health clinic open, and parents joining forces to prevent violence on school routes.

    “It’s been inspiring to see Cicero residents, social service organizations, schools and the town come together to create lasting change for our community,” said Mariana Osoria, Vice President of Centers for Family Focus and Co-Chair of the Cicero Community Collaborative, “We’ve all experienced the impact this collaboration has on our community, and it’s exciting that our work is being recognized through the receipt of the RWJF Culture of Health Prize.”

    “The 2018 RWJF Culture of Health Prize winners understand good health requires far more than access to good health care. It requires a thriving community with access to quality education, good jobs, and safe, affordable housing,” said Richard Besser, MD, RWJF president and CEO. “These inspiring places are engaging community members in decision making to give all residents the opportunity to live well, no matter where they live, how much money they make, or the color of their skin.”

    Cicero will receive a $25,000 prize, join a network of Prize-winning communities, and have its inspiring accomplishments shared throughout the nation. The other three winning communities are: Eatonville, Florida; Klamath County, Oregon; and San Antonio, Texas. Cicero is the first community in Illinois to win the distinguished Prize.

    To become an RWJF Culture of Health Prize winner, Cicero had to demonstrate how it excelled in the following six criteria:

  • Defining health in the broadest possible terms.
  • Committing to sustainable systems changes and policy-oriented long-term solutions.
  • Creating conditions that give everyone a fair and just opportunity to reach their best possible health.
  • Harnessing the collective power of leaders, partners, and community members.
  • Securing and making the most of available resources.
  • Measuring and sharing progress and results.
  • “The community of Cicero has developed a focus on health that expands beyond the traditional definition,” said Sean Garrett, CEO and President of United Way of Metro Chicago. “Through wrap around services that meet the needs of the entire family, Cicero is truly building a stronger neighborhood for all. We’re proud to partner with them through our Neighborhood Network Initiative. Their recognition as a 2018 RWJF Culture of Health Prize winner is well deserved.”

    On Friday, September 21 at 10:30 a.m. the Cicero Community Collaborative will be hosting a celebration event at the Cicero Community Center. Community members are welcome to join in the festivities.

    Cicero will join this year’s other Prize-winning communities at the Culture of Health Prize Celebration and Learning Event at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey on October 9-11.

    Learn more about Cicero’s work, as well as this year’s other Prize winners through a collection of videos, photos, and more at www.rwjf.org/Prize.

    About Cicero Community Collaborative
    The Cicero Community Collaborative (CCC) is a coalition of local service providers whose mission is to enhance the quality of life for Cicero children, youth and families by working together to improve educational outcomes, parent engagement, health, and safety. To stay in the loop, follow the Cicero Community Collaborative on Facebook.
    About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
    For more than 45 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working alongside others to build a national Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.
    About the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute
    The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute advances health and well-being for all by developing and evaluating interventions and promoting evidence-based approaches to policy and practice at the local, state, and national levels. The Institute works across the full spectrum of factors that contribute to health. A focal point for health and health care dialogue within the University of Wisconsin-Madison and beyond, and a convener of stakeholders, the Institute promotes an exchange of expertise between those in academia and those in the policy and practice arena. The Institute leads the work on the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps and the RWJF Culture of Health Prize. For more information, visit http://uwphi.pophealth.wisc.edu.

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    United Way of Metro Chicago Welcomes Eithne McMenamin as Director of Public Policy & Advocacy

    Former Associate Director of Policy at Chicago Coalition for the Homeless Selected to Lead Policy for Both United Way of Metro Chicago and United Way of Illinois


    CHICAGO (November 19, 2018) – United Way of Metro Chicago, the largest private funder of human services in the Chicago region, has appointed Eithne McMenamin as Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, serving both United Way of Metro Chicago and United Way of Illinois, a statewide association of 50 local organizations.

    As Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, Eithne will oversee all policy development and implementation, advocating at the federal, state and municipal level for the appropriate funding and policies that protect the non-profit sector’s capacity to serve communities of greatest need. Eithne is responsible for establishing engagement strategies that reflect the organization’s work in the areas of education, income, and health by collaborating with United Way staff, volunteers, and key stakeholders to execute a proactive public policy agenda.

    Most recently serving as Project Manager and Consultant for AIDS Foundation of Chicago and Pride Action Tank, Eithne has extensive experience in community organizing and advocacy campaigns. Previously, she led policy research and analysis as Associate Director of Policy at Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. During her 12-year tenure, Eithne developed affordable housing initiatives and public policy solutions, presented strategies and programs to city and state officials, and utilized principles of community organizing to build and lead successful coalitions.

    “Eithne is an accomplished operations, policy and advocacy leader who brings valuable experience, strategy and insight to our work,” said Jose Rico, SVP of Community Impact at United Way of Metro Chicago. “At United Way we’re focused on supporting the state’s vital public infrastructure to build stronger, more vibrant communities, and we’re excited to have Eithne leading these efforts in the role of Director of Public Policy and Advocacy.”

    Eithne will be joining United Way on Monday, November 26 and will be based out of the United Way of Metro Chicago office.

    About United Way of Metro Chicago
    United Way of Metro Chicago fights for the health, education, financial stability and safety of every person in every neighborhood across the region. We advance the common good on both a regional and neighborhood level by focusing on the building blocks for thriving people and communities: Access to quality health care, a good education, financial stability and ensuring people are safe. United Way’s Neighborhood Network Initiative supports and coordinates investment and programming in 10 city and suburban communities to address community challenges and improve the lives of residents.
    About United Way of Illinois
    United Way of Illinois is a statewide association of 50 local United Way organizations focused on long-term community change through resources in education, income, health and basic needs. United Way advocates for sound policies affecting the non-profit sector’s capability to serve vulnerable populations.
    Media Contact:
    Kiara Goodwin
    Senior Manager, Communications
    United Way of Metro Chicago
    kiara.goodwin@liveunitedchicago.org
    312-906-2291

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