My AmeriCorps Journey

Meet Jessica: As an AmeriCorps member this past year, she served as a multimedia journalist with United Way of Metro Chicago, using storytelling to serve the community and gain invaluable experience. Read Jessica’s story and the highlights of her service year.

Backpacks and Building Back in West Chicago

The weight of a backpack amounts to more than just pencils and notebooks. In a community like West Chicago, a backpack represents a student, a family and their access to basic needs resources. Amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the community has been working with students and families to make ends meet. The progress towards building back stronger continues.

Peace Initiatives Cultivate Unity in Little Village

Esmeralda Gonzalez has a vision that one day when you Google search Little Village, the results are not shrouded by negativity or news of violence but instead are filled with stories that celebrate stories that celebrate the community’s rich Latinx heritage and culture.

BPNC Immigrant Program Encourages Residents to Stay in the Neighborhood

Brighton Park is a family-oriented community made up of immigrants. With neighborhoods shifting due to gentrification, immigrant families seek to stay connected to their new communities and their culture.

New Faces and New Initiatives in United Way’s Annual Campaign

Campaign volunteers can tell a story about an organization. Who is part of your campaign? How large is it? What is the mission of your team? At United Way of Metro Chicago, we’ve found our story. And we’re excited to share it.

Introducing the Andrew J. McKenna Leadership Award

Andy McKenna is a life-long Chicagoan who understands that the Chicago region is shaped by the people who step forward and invest their time and energy in advancing the civic and philanthropic needs of the region. Andy is one of these leaders whose commitment and boundless energy set the bar high for Chicago’s civic and philanthropic community. He often works behind the scenes to mentor nonprofit leaders and fellow board members.

MacKenzie Scott Makes Largest Donation in United Way of Metro Chicago’s History

It is not often a nonprofit organization wakes up to a call informing them they will be receiving a $25 million unrestricted grant. Thanks to the generosity of MacKenzie Scott, United Way received that call and the single largest donation in the organization’s 80+ year history.

Lisa and Lamar Johnson: Building Skyscrapers and Growing Communities

Lisa and Lamar Johnson, co-founders of Lamar Johnson Collaborative (LJC), a mission-driven architecture firm, are leaving their mark across the city. From skyscrapers in the Loop to community centers in disinvested neighborhoods, the Johnsons are shaping a workforce culture that puts human service at the forefront of their business.

Randy Lyon: Decades of Dedication

Within Randy’s first few weeks in Chicago, he noticed there were different expectations for professionals. “The Chicago ethos came out right away,” Randy recalls. The Chicago ethos was, and still is, an expectation to give back to the Chicago community and support charitable organizations. He learned about United Way of Metro Chicago and decided United Way would be a cornerstone of his philanthropic involvement. 

South Chicago’s UNITY Squad Program Keeps Youth Engaged This Summer

Our partners in the South Chicago Neighborhood Network offer a youth program called UNITY Squad to keep young people engaged and learning over the summer months. UNITY Squad serves children ages 14-16 and helps members gain core leadership and development skills.