We recognize opportunities outside our general operating support grantmaking that require a bold response and/or a more long-term and strategic investment to address our service region’s health needs. Since 2018, we have funded strategic health initiatives by invitation to explore new collaborative opportunities that advance health equity in our region’s communities. 


In 2021, we implemented our Bold Investment strategy to respond to the pandemic’s impact on community, and it has continued to evolve, given the changing health needs of our region. While supporting urgent health needs, this strategy has also allowed us to be an early investor in innovative ideas that positively impact community members’ long-term health and well-being and aim to create change in the systems they interact with and experience daily.

over the years


One year after we implemented our strategic plan, we began to shape our response to investment opportunities that served our region’s health needs beyond our general operating support grantmaking.


We evolved our strategy to support strategic health initiatives due to the tumultuous political environment that created fear and uncertainty among the immigrant community and the nonprofit sector in our service region. 


We awarded strategic initiative grants for work that mitigated the economic impact of the COVID pandemic on immigrant and undocumented communities and increased systemic health access for the uninsured and underinsured. 


We learned from community about investment opportunities with a racial equity focus, which strengthened our bold response to support equitable pandemic recovery work in our region. These efforts were made possible through extensive partnerships in which we played a leadership role and efforts we co-created with partners. 


Our 2022 investments ($2.4 million) in pandemic recovery efforts and organizational resilience support with a racial equity lens resulted in a nearly four-fold investment ($8 million) from private philanthropic and government funds. This highlighted how our ongoing involvement and leadership at different tables amplified community stories of the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on our region. 



Efforts that are in motion; have a racial equity focus; and/or the Foundation has a leadership role.


Plans to move these initiatives forward are in place; are ready for investment and additional capacity.


Efforts that are centered on addressing health gaps in our service region and need additional planning and collaboration.


Initiatives that inform our understanding of our service region; Work that is in formation.


Time-sensitive crises; special activities that promote health and advance local philanthropic efforts. 

2023 grant recipients

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100 Latina Birthdays


The 100 Latina Birthdays Podcast, led by LWC Studios, is an open-source investigative podcast that chronicles Latinas’ health, wellness, and life outcomes in Cook County as a microcosm of health equity in the United States. Local BILPOC local journalists and researchers take part in this audio storytelling and explore solutions to systemic inequities affecting Latina health, build community narrative power, and demonstrate how the health of Latinas is tied to the future of the US. 

AMPT Organizational Resilience


AMPT Chicago collaborates with Black- and Latine-led organizations to provide tailored capacity and assessment resources with an anti-racist lens. AMPT facilitates cohort-based learning spaces focused on such topics as anti-racist restorative practices, democratized evaluation, and nonprofit board leadership. It also hosts free monthly virtual educational workshops, supports organizational planning, and provides executive coaching and grants. AMPT has played a key role in local COVID response, curating rapid capacity resources, consultant supports, grant dollars, and technical assistance for the Chicago Health Equity Zone RFP and other COVID recovery funding. 

Chicago Commons


Chicago Commons, a social service organization in Chicago, will conduct a systems of support study in Little Village and LeClaire Courts in collaboration with Enlace Chicago, Latinos Progresando and Esperanza Health Centers. The study will identify the organizations, institutions and resources located within both the communities that form the health ecosystem of support for children, families and seniors and identify gaps in the network.



Chi-Care, a volunteer-based organization prepares and delivers culturally affirming, nutrient dense and low-cost meals for asylum seekers and refugees located at police stations and purchase necessary materials to address health needs in our service region.

Community Health Worker (CHW) Initiative


The CHW Initiative, funded in partnership with Community Memorial Foundation, seeks to address the local need to increase awareness of health and human service resources and connect those most disconnected to services in suburban Cook County. The Initiative enables grantee partners to scale additional CHW efforts in our service region through systems-level policies that address reimbursement, standardized curriculum, educational pathways, and long-term revenue sustainability for organizations. In 2022, the Initiative launched the West Suburban Learning Lab to increase training and skill development for CHWs across western Cook County. Participating organizations in the Initiative include Aging Care Connections, Alivio Medical Center, BEDS Plus, Healthcare Alternative Systems, and Mujeres Latinas en Acción. The Initiative is coordinated by Health and Medicine Policy Research Group and evaluated by Sinai Urban Health Institute.


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Cicero Community Collaborative


In July, the Chicago area received record rainfall in less than 24 hours, with the hardest hit areas being in our service region: Austin, Berwyn and Cicero. The Cicero Community Collaborative, a consortium of local service providers that connect Cicero youth and families to programs and services, offered one-time cash assistance payments to 90 Cicero families, regardless of immigration status, to meet basic needs. 

Financial Resilience Capacity Building Initiative


The Financial Resilience Capacity Building Initiative seeks to strengthen the fiscal capacity of local BILPOC-led and BILPOC-serving organizations emerging from the COVID pandemic. The Initiative harnesses the combined networks and expertise of BDO Financial Management Associates (BDO FMA), Forefront, IFF and AMPT to facilitate a technical assistance center for up to 20 nonprofit organizations. It offers custom fiscal health assessments, one-on-one coaching, targeted supports and more. This Initiative grew out of the findings from a local financial health capacity-building landscape scan conducted in 2021, which identified a gap in financial health resources for smaller to medium-sized BILPOC-led organizations. 

Immigrant Health Academy


ICIRR and six key partners launched the Immigrant Health Academy in 2021, a project that trains and educates immigrant community leaders in suburban Cook, Will, DuPage, and Lake Counties with information about their healthcare rights and how to navigate the complex healthcare system. In 2023, the Academy, a first-of-its-kind training program in the US, developed and launched a new training curriculum for community leaders in English, Spanish and Arabic. It also developed a virtual resource library that includes updated materials and information in various languages.


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Transitional Housing for Asylum Families


Thousands of migrants arrived in Chicago in 2023 after being bussed or flown from the Texas border. Despite investments from the City of Chicago, significant gaps exist for housing the most vulnerable asylum seekers that include families with children under the age of 5, individuals with complex medical needs and unaccompanied youth. New Life Centers offer emergency shelter to asylum seekers and refugees located in police stations and purchase materials to address health needs in our service region.