The Chicago Community Trust established the Unity Challenge in 2008 to help meet increased demand for human services resulting from the economic crisis. The Unity Fund's grantmaking is specifically targeted to address increased safety net needs and time-sensitive community issues. The current round of funding, the second for 2010, is designed to respond to conditions created by recently announced cuts in public funding that will adversely affect special populations and jeopardize the delivery of vital services. The trust seeks to support efforts to ensure that key services to populations are continued regardless of the recession and state budget crisis. The trust recognizes that innovative efforts are most likely necessary at this time to meet community needs given shrinking public and private resources. The trust assumes that in some instances, infusions of new revenue may be sufficient to carry over programs to more promising financial times; in others, significant restructuring or merger of provider agencies, or even agency closure, may be necessary.
This Request for Proposal seeks to provide bridge funding for selected important programs in areas including aging, domestic violence, developmental disabilities, and mental health services that have been targeted for funding cuts by the state and the city while at the same time experiencing increased demand for services; and also restructuring of the human services sector to ensure that provider capacity remains in place in the county's most distressed communities and that those human service organizations operate as efficiently as possible because of resource constraints.
Approximately $1.5 million in total funding is available for grants under this RFP. Funding will be awarded at both the program- and agency-level. Organizations with nonprofit 501(c)(3) designation (or those that have an eligible fiscal sponsor) and public agencies serving primarily Cook County and/or the City of Chicago are eligible to apply.