2019 Avila in Action Grant Winners

The Stewardship Committee is pleased to announce our 2019 Avila in Action grant winners. These six organization were selected from 21 applicants. Thank you to all applicants continuously working to change Chicago and the world through new ideas and God’s work.

Chicago Refugee Coalition

$5,000 -  One in four refugees in the Chicagoland area is food insecure, meaning that they lack consistent access to enough food to live a healthy lifestyle. In order to address this problem, the Chicago Refugee Coalition (CRC) secured a partnership with Imperfect Produce to distribute fruits and vegetables to the refugee community on a weekly basis. Since launching this program in August 2018, CRC has served an average of 150 people per week and has distributed 18,000 meals to the refugee community. CRC operates out of Sullivan High School in Rogers Park and serves the substantial refugee community in the Rogers Park neighborhood.

CRC will use the Avila in Action grant to fund the continued partnership with Imperfect Produce. Currently, the CRC programing serves about 150 people a week through its mobile food banking efforts, and with this grant CRC plans to scale both the size and scope of our services to serve up to 500 people every week. CRC will also use grant funds to offer culturally competent food security educational seminars, to aid in the development of an emergency pre-preparedness fund, and to scale both the size and scope of its mobile food banking efforts.

The Well of Mercy

$5,000 -  The Well of Mercy is a Chicago-based nonprofit that provides a secure home and life sustaining interventions to homeless single mothers. The interventions include emotional mental health services, mentoring, and tutoring for high school completion and college education.

The Well of Mercy will use the Avila in Action to fund childcare so that mothers can participate in programs offered by the Well, including an 8-week program promoting long-term health in body, mind, and spirit for the homeless single mothers and their children.

Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund

$5,000 -  The Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund provides high school scholarship assistance and educational support to Chicago students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. ​DMSF seeks to make a life-altering difference in the lives of its Scholars by providing them with the best opportunity to succeed in high school and college.

DMSF will use the Avila in Action grant funds for its Summer Bridge to Excellence program. This two-week workshop for all newly admitted Murphy Scholars is designed to give them the skills and confidence they need to make the emotional, academic, and social adjustments that will set them up for success at their new college preparatory schools. During the first week, Scholars learn to use the academic and business language that is expected of them in high school. During the second week, students prepare to be an “ideal student” by covering topics such as time management, organizational skills, and note-taking. Throughout the two weeks, Scholars also discover their strengths and weaknesses and learn to celebrate what makes them unique. In the process, they learn how to build relationships with their new teachers and peers and advocate for themselves.

Let It Be Us

$4,000 -  Let it Be Us is an Illinois nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring foster care and adoption and committed to bringing entrepreneurial innovation to the often slow and inefficient process of placing children in safe, licensed foster homes and with adoptive families.  Let it Be Us will use the Avila in Action grant to support additional hours dedicated to the matching of waiting foster parents with children awaiting homes.

Franciscan Outreach

$8,000 -  Franciscan Outreach is a leading provider of homeless services in Chicago.  Through five service sites, Franciscan Outreach provide healthy meals, safe shelter and critical programs and services to empower people to gain the stability they need to transition into permanent housing. Most recently, in July 2018, Franciscan Outreach opened an innovative shelter in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. The shelter was the first of its kind in Chicago, focusing on the specific needs of people who are transitioning from tent encampments, including a safe place to sleep, the ability to stay as a couple, three daily meals, 24-hour shelter access, storage bins and lockers for personal belongings, and a room for personal pets. Guests stay at the shelter for several weeks or months while they work to gain stability, become housing ready, and transition to permanent housing.

New Moms, Inc.

$5,000 -  New Moms is a Chicago non-profit organization that supports young moms (aged 13 to 24) and their children, who are experiencing poverty and homelessness, with the personal and workforce development tools they need to achieve economic independence and family stability.  New Moms’ unique model is designed to serve families comprehensively by meeting immediate needs for shelter, food, healthcare and then focusing on long-term coaching that helps young moms achieve their goals of lifelong economic and housing stability. One New Moms program provides transitional housing for up to two years for homeless young mothers and their children.  New Moms will use the Avila in Action grant to support a young homeless mother and her children during part of their time in transitional housing.