Chicago Urban League Receives $100,000 Grant through McDonald’s-sponsored Chicago Community Impact Grants Program


Chicago Urban League Receives $100,000 Grant through McDonald’s-sponsored Chicago Community Impact Grants Program

Program was developed by McDonald’s Corporation in partnership with The Chicago Community Trust to support local organizations dedicated to Opportunity Youth

The Chicago Urban League (CUL) has been awarded a $100,000 grant through the Chicago Community Impact Grants program, developed by McDonald’s Corporation in partnership with The Chicago Community Trust (the Trust). The Chicago Community Impact Grants Program provides charitable funds totaling $3.5 million to local nonprofit organizations that are addressing some of the city’s most pressing needs for its Opportunity Youth – young people who face multiple barriers to employment and education.

“The Chicago Urban League is incredibly grateful to be a recipient of the McDonald’s Chicago Community Impact Grant,” said President & CEO Karen Freeman-Wilson. “For more than a century, the Chicago Urban League has worked to advance equity for Black families and communities through social and economic empowerment. One way we live our mission is by working directly with middle school and high school students to help them thrive academically, build social and emotional skills, and prepare for a successful future. This investment by McDonald’s demonstrates their belief in our mission and will provide critical support for this work.”

The Chicago Urban League, first organized in 1916, is one of the oldest and largest affiliates of the National Urban League. For over 100 years, the organization has helped Black people find jobs, secure affordable housing, launch and grow businesses, and also enhance educational experiences. The Chicago Urban Leagues aims to promote strong, sustainable communities through advocacy, innovation, and collaborative community, corporate and civic relationships.

“We know that when we invest in our youth, we’re investing in our city and region’s future,” said Andrea Sáenz, Interim President and CEO, of The Chicago Community Trust. “As the Chicago region’s community foundation, we are delighted to work alongside McDonald’s to positively impact the trajectory of our youth for years to come.”

In 2021, the McDonald’s team held conversations with local leaders to solicit guidance on ways to best support the Chicago community – and bolstering the futures of the city’s young people became the primary focus for this grant program. The team then developed a partnership with the Trust, identifying local organizations that work specifically with Black and Latinx youth on the South and West sides of the city and provide ongoing life skills training and pre-employment support, as well as critical services like mental health programs and mentorship opportunities.

By investing in organizations across the city that have dedicated resources and programming, the grants will help support the success of future generations and help them achieve their full potential.

"With Chicago as home to our global headquarters, we’re prioritizing our investment in the socio-economic wellbeing of our city for the long-term by partnering with leading community groups," said Joe Erlinger, President of McDonald’s USA. "These organizations provide critical support to our neighborhoods and share our mission to reduce barriers to educational and economic opportunity. Together, we are taking a meaningful step forward in our commitment to ensuring our communities thrive for generations to come.”

The grant program expands on the Trust’s and McDonald’s – including its Franchisees and its suppliers’ – longstanding community philanthropic efforts. As one of the world’s leading brands headquartered in Chicago, McDonald’s believes it has a duty to fulfill its purpose of feeding and fostering communities in the area it has called home for more than six decades.

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