At United Way, our goal is not to return to normal, because normal didn’t provide opportunities for all our neighbors. Our goal is to create a vibrant Chicago region where all our neighbors have access to the resources they need to thrive. Our goal is to build back better by ensuring all individuals and families can meet their basic needs and working alongside community leaders to rebuild neighborhoods to be stronger and more equitable.

Our Approach to Building a Stronger, More Equitable Chicago Region

Regional Recovery

United Way helps those impacted by COVID-19 meet their immediate basic needs by investing in organizations that provide food support and rental, mortgage, and utility assistance. Meeting basic needs is the foundation for building communities where every individual and every family can thrive.
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Funds raised through the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund


Agencies supported through the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund


Nonprofit partners funded during United Way’s 2021 grant cycle


CPS students to be connected to Wi-Fi through Chicago Connected


Households connected to supportive housing

Neighborhood Networks

United Way comes alongside resident-led coalitions to bring community-driven goals to life, reversing decades of disinvestment in Black and Brown communities to make sure that zip code doesn’t determine health, employment, and education outcomes.
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Neighborhood Networks in the City of Chicago and Suburbs


Finalists for the Pritzker Traubert Chicago Prize; Auburn Gresham is the 2020 winner


Pounds of food distributed to 10,000+ households in Austin


BMO Harris Bank investment in the Austin Neighborhood Network


Community Ambassadors in Cicero support students and parent involvement

Programs & Partnerships

United Way is uniquely positioned to bring people, organizations, and groups to the table to make meaningful change. The United Way family not only responds to the immediate needs of community but continues providing resources and partnerships that support neighborhoods in building long-term equitable solutions and success. That’s why United Way is a driving force in accelerating a regional recovery approach to build back better.
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Participants in the Board Leadership Institute


Volunteers participated in activities such as virtual mock interviews


Participants in the Inaugural Women United Creating Connections cohort


Local United Ways across Illinois partnered to launch the Illinois ALICE report


Students participated in Character Playbook in the 2019-20 school year

Where we do it

City of

suburban region

West suburban

suburban region

City of Chicago

The City of Chicago is made up of 77 diverse and dynamic neighborhoods. Currently, 2.7 million people call the city home, but not everyone has access to the wealth of resources that Chicago has to offer—nearly 22% of the population lives below the poverty line. United Way is working with partner agencies and community stakeholders at the neighborhood level to bring about city-wide change.

North-Northwest suburban region

The North-Northwest Suburban Region is known for its areas of prosperity. Yet, as this region becomes more diverse, economic disparity between communities of color and white communities has become more apparent. United Way and our local partners are working to increase equity in the areas of health, education, financial stability and safety. Download the regional profile sheet to learn more.

South-Southwest suburban region

“The Southlands,” as it is commonly known, is home to 20% of Cook County’s suburban population. Parts of the region lack access to basic needs such as food, housing and safety from abuse. In partnership with 34 area agencies, United Way is has been able to connect more than 95,000 people with the services and resources they need. Download the regional profile sheet to learn more.

West suburban region

This area is known for residential communities, clustered office parks and a great potential for economic mobility. However, a rise in poverty and decreased social services funding is negatively impacting these neighborhoods. United Way partners with 43 west suburban agencies to increase safety net services and to improve the community for all who live there. Download the regional profile sheet to learn more.

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