HCF Awards $6.29M to Advance Health Equity in the Chicago Area

HCF Awards $6.29M to Advance Health Equity in the Chicago Area

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Healthy Communities Foundation Awards $6.29 Million to Advance Health Equity in the Chicago Area

The Foundation announces grants to 73 organizations serving Chicago and west suburban communities in Cook County with mental health services, integrated primary care, and health equity advocacy efforts. 

RIVERSIDE, IL (OCTOBER 13, 2023) – Healthy Communities Foundation, a private health conversion foundation, has awarded unrestricted grants totaling $6,290,000 to 73 nonprofit organizations. These organizations are dedicated to addressing local health needs, improving access to quality health care, and advancing systemic solutions for communities facing significant health inequities in Chicago’s South and West sides and western suburbs of Cook County. 

The Foundation’s commitment is to strengthen the health ecosystem within its service region by supporting community-led initiatives that are sustainable and scalable to promote health and racial equity. Guided by its strategic plan, the Foundation prioritizes the majority of grants as general operating support, providing the recipient organizations the flexibility and autonomy to utilize the funds as needed to better serve community.

Key Information

        • $3,145,000 in total one-year grants were made to 53 local organizations, with an average grant award of $59,339. Among them, seven (7) are first-time grantee partners and 46 are renewal grants. 
        • $3,145,000 in total Year 3 grants were made to 20 local organizations in the Foundation’s first multi-year funding cohort. These organizations received a total of $9,435,000 in grants from 2021 to 2023. 

Notably, 79% ($4,975,000) of this year’s general operating grants were awarded to one-year and multi-year grantee partners serving zip codes with predominately Black, Indigenous, Latinx, People of Color (BILPOC) community members who experience worse health outcomes and limited access to healthcare and resources compared to individuals residing in surrounding zip codes.

Compared to 2022, the Foundation increased the number of one-year grants (33%) for organizations whose work highlights community priorities that address the social determinants of health and engage in health equity advocacy efforts. This demonstrates the critical role systems change efforts play in advancing health equity in the Foundation’s funding region. 

Healthy Communities Foundation values the relationships we build and nurture with our grantee partners, as they are pathways to a deepened understanding of community health needs,” says Maria Pesqueira, President. “Guided by our trust-based approach, we look forward to collaborating with our partners to achieve health equity in our service region.” 


The one-year unrestricted grants awarded by Healthy Communities Foundation enable a responsive approach to emerging health equity strategies, community-led initiatives, and a comprehensive understanding of local health ecosystems. The grants align with the Foundation’s four grantmaking priorities:  

      • “Access to Quality Healthcare” grants: $1,100,00 invested in 14 organizations focusing on removing barriers to healthcare access, with an emphasis on community leadership and context in their systems change strategies. Partners include Corazón Community Services, Healthcare Alternative Systems, and Pillars Community Health. 
      • “Addressing Social Determinants of Health” grants: $1,160,000 invested in 23 organizations that address social and structural determinants of health in innovative and racially equitable ways. Partners include Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County, Chicago Community and Workers’ Rights, and Dion’s Chicago Dream. 
      • “Advocate for Health Policies and Systems Change” grants: $425,000 invested in 8 organizations that engage in health policy advocacy and work on upstream solutions to health inequities. Partners include Arise Chicago, EverThrive Illinois and Shriver Center on Poverty Law. 
      • “Augment Local Health Knowledge” grants: $460,000 invested in 8 organizations focusing on community-led inquiry and hyper-local public health data collection. Partners include Borderless Magazine, NAMI Metro Suburban, and Ujimaa Medics. 


The Foundation awarded Year 3 grants totaling $3,145,000 to its inaugural multi-year partner cohort launched in 2021, consisting of twenty (20) organizations. Partners include Arab American Family Services, Austin Coming Together, Esperanza Health Centers, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and Latinos Progresando. Ninety (90) percent of the Foundation’s multi-year partners have deep relationships and presence in communities that historically have experienced significant health inequities, with 10% of partners having a service focus across its funding region.

“Our multi-year partners comprise the public safety net, respond to health crises, and strengthen organizations and communities to create healthier outcomes for community members in our service region,” said Nora Garcia, Director of Programs. “We value partnering with and investing deeply in organizational leaders and communities.”

The Foundation’s trust-based, multi-year funding approach is rooted in community feedback about the need for long-term, consistent, and sustainable support for organizations to engage in long-game efforts that shift systems and advance health equity in its service region. In the Foundation’s recent insights report about the impact of its general operating support, 89% of multi-year partners have leveraged its long-term support to secure additional and new funding. Additionally, with multi-year funding, more than half of the Foundation’s partners have reconfigured staff positions to better serve community.

About Healthy Communities Foundation

Healthy Communities Foundation is a community-engaged foundation that seeks to measurably improve the health and well-being of community members in its 27-zip code service area located in the City of Chicago and the western suburbs of Cook County, Illinois. Using health equity as an overarching principle and lens, the Foundation supports and collaborates with organizations that serve its legacy service area and zip codes with the greatest health inequities. www.hcfdn.org

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