Michael Reese Health Trust is proud to share its Fiscal Year 2024 first quarter (July 1, 2023 – September 30, 2023) grantmaking report.

In our first quarter, 18 organizations were funded with $727,400 distributed through Michael Reese’s priority areas of Honor our Jewish Legacy, Prevent Domestic Violence and Strengthen the Health Workforce and $1,316,829 through our incubation projects, Chicago Funders Together to End Homelessness and Health First Collaborative.

“Michael Reese prioritizes community solutions to improve health. We work closely with partners in Chicago’s neighborhoods who are on the ground, doing the work, to understand the best way our organization can and should provide support.

The investments highlighted in this report showcase how we entrench our values within our tools of advocacy, grantmaking and incubation to go deep and create systemic change.

It’s an honor for us to work in partnership with non-profits across Chicago working to make our city a healthier one.” – Blair Harvey, MSW, Chief Program Officer, Michael Reese Health Trust

Michael Reese Priority Area Partners

Honor Our Jewish Legacy

We build the capacity of our city’s strong network of Jewish-led health providers, advocates and services so their resources are more easily within reach to all Chicagoans who need them.

We ground our work in the Jewish tradition of Tikkun Olam – to repair the world – by promoting health opportunities and access for all. We do this by building deep partnerships with those in the community providing direct services. Together, we identify strategies that will build and sustain agency infrastructure with strong leadership, responsive services and knowledgeable staff.

JCFS CHICAGO – JCFS Strategic Planning ($111,400)

JCFS provides help, healing and caring services infused with Jewish values to strengthen lives in its community.

JCFS Chicago will engage an experienced consultant with knowledge of non-profit health and human services to facilitate the agency’s upcoming strategic planning process.


We prevent and address the impact of domestic violence by supporting both survivors and those who cause harm to break the cycle of violence.

We focus our resources on three specific areas: Increasing and strengthening services for People Who Cause Harm (PWCH); creating a service-delivery system that ensures survivors of domestic violence-related head injury are identified, screened and treated; and supporting select innovative models that expand existing domestic violence services.

Family Rescue – General Operating Support ($50,000)

Family Rescue is one of the largest providers of domestic violence-related services in the state of Illinois, providing services for survivors of domestic violence and their children.

Family Rescue will use its grant dollars for general operations, supporting shelter, advocacy, education and families impacted by domestic violence.

Heartland Alliance – Center for Impact Research ($71,000)

Heartland Alliance works to advance human rights and champion human dignity by providing services and promoting solutions to achieve a more just global society.

Heartland Alliance’s Center for Impact Research will use its grant dollars to continue evaluation of a program designed to serve people who cause harm. The program is funded by the City of Chicago and provided by Metropolitan Family Services.

The Network: Advocating Against Domestic Violence – Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Relief Fund and Emergency Housing ($150,000)

The Network is a group of 40+ member organizations dedicated to improving the lives of those impacted by gender-based violence through education, public policy and advocacy, and connecting community members with direct service providers.

A portion of the grant to The Network ($100,000) will be combined with contributions from other funders to form a Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Relief Fund. Funds will be distributed to organizations that provide domestic violence and sexual assault services to help them sustain services in the face of VOCA funding reductions. The remainder of the grant ($50,000) will be used to provide emergency housing for individuals fleeing domestic violence.

Strengthen the Health Workforce

We connect initiatives to develop pathways for a skilled and inclusive health workforce to provide stable and living-wage jobs while creating better quality and accessible care.

Through partnerships with various stakeholders, we work to unlock new revenue and implement sustainable pathways for community health workers (CHWs) in the health sector.

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (Health & Medicine) – General Operating Support ($450,000; 36 months ($150,000/year))

Health & Medicine is an independent policy center that conducts research, educates and collaborates with other groups to advocate for policies that improve the health status of all people.

Grant dollars will sustain support for young health professionals from marginalized communities and advance policy and practice reform to address structural barriers to career success.

Illinois Unidos – General Operating Support ($300,000; 36 months ($100,000/year))

Illinois Unidos is a consortium of over 150 Latino elected and appointed officials, health professionals, and representatives of community-based organizations. The initiative aims to present one united voice in stopping the growth of COVID-19 in our communities while addressing related public health issues and the devastating economic impact of COVID-19.

The core organizational programs and services of Illinois Unidos reach up to 500,000 individuals annually, one of which focuses on supporting and expanding a broad network of community-based and worker-based community health workers (promotores de salud) and community organizers.

Incubation Partners

Incubation as a tool for change

Michael Reese uses three tools to invest in Chicago’s communities – Advocacy, Grantmaking and Incubation. Our incubation tool makes investments in new, experimental or proven projects with the potential to make systemic, positive change in the health of Chicagoans. Through partnering with visionary leaders, we support the fundraising and administrative needs of a start-up and leverage public and private partnerships to scale their efforts.

Michael Reese’s incubation efforts include Chicago Funders Together to End Homelessness (CFTEH) and Health First Collaborative (HFC).

As the incubator of these projects, we serve as the administrative and operational home for giving grantmaking dollars to community partners from these pooled funds. The grants provided by CFTEH and HFC were selected and approved by the projects’ steering committees, which include representatives from stakeholder organizations. Fiduciary oversight is provided by Michael Reese Health Trust’s Board of Directors.

Michael Reese is proud to steward these dollars in partnership with CFTEH and HFC to the Chicago community.

Chicago Funders Together to End Homelessness

Chicago Funders Together to End Homelessness (CFTEH) is a collaborative of more than 30 philanthropic partners learning together and aligning resources around a shared strategy to prevent and end homelessness. Through its grantmaking efforts and convening power, CFTEH promotes more equitable housing policy, aligns public and private sector resources and shifts power to communities most impacted by homelessness.

In the summer of 2022, CFTEH launched its first-ever pooled fund: The Housing Justice Fund (HJF). Through the fund, CFTEH has awarded $2 million to approximately 20 community partners that shape housing policy, increase public and political will and build power within communities most impacted by homelessness. The fund prioritizes Black-led and lived expertise-led advocacy, organizing and narrative change efforts. The fund was designed in response to community feedback about the challenges of raising flexible, multi-year funding from philanthropy to support long-term systems change efforts.

Chicago 400 Alliance – General Operating Support ($100,000)

The Chicago 400 Alliance is a grassroots, volunteer-led campaign of people impacted by the criminal justice system, advocates and public stakeholders working together to challenge public conviction registries and residency restrictions, both discredited policies that disproportionately impact Black men in Illinois.

Advocacy efforts are focused on reducing housing banishment laws in the State of Illinois (SB 2158/HB 3703) and changing the narrative surrounding those impacted by registry and banishment laws through a media archive and documentation project.

Chicago American Indian Community Collaborative – General Operating Support ($100,000)

The members of the Chicago American Indian Community Collaborative (CAICC) are dedicated to furthering diverse causes and the greater well-being of American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and First Nations people in the Chicago area.

This grant supports advocacy, organizing and public awareness efforts focused on housing access for Native and Indigenous people experiencing homelessness in Chicago.

Chicago House and Social Service Agency – HIV Housing Advisory Council ($100,000)

Chicago House empowers persons living with or vulnerable to HIV/AIDS to lead healthy and dignified lives through housing and compassionate, client-centered support services.

The HIV Housing Advisory Council (HHAC) aims to produce and maintain dedicated permanent and supportive housing units for those living with HIV/AIDS. HHAC proposed to leverage the Housing Opportunities for People Living with AIDS (HOPWA) dollars to increase more affordable housing units in the newly revised Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO). The proposed advocacy effort will launch grassroots organizing together with the City of Chicago and private developers to create a replicable model using the ARO to build multi-unit developments on the west and south sides of the city. These developments will be owned/operated by community-based organizations to serve homeless individuals and those at risk of homelessness.

Chicago Housing Justice League – General Operating Support ($100,000)

The Chicago Housing Justice League is a coalition of member-led organizations that organize around housing and racial justice.

The Chicago Housing Justice League proposes policy advocacy efforts to advance the Just Cause for Eviction effort which would prevent no-fault evictions and help keep people in Chicago housed.

Latino Policy Forum – Latino Policy Forum and Illinois Latino News ($100,000)

Through advocacy and analysis, the Latino Policy Forum (LPF) builds a foundation for equity, justice and economic prosperity for the Latino community. By catalyzing policy change, the Forum works to improve education outcomes, advocate for affordable housing, promote just immigration policies and strengthen community leadership.

The LPF will partner with Illinois Latino News (ILLN) to elevate the stories of the Latino community’s experience of homelessness in Chicago. The two organizations intend to create a media partnership and a public awareness campaign; grant funds will support staff at the Latino Policy Forum plus content creation by Illinois Latino News. The public awareness campaign will shape the housing advocacy agenda of the Latino Policy Forum, with a focus on expanding the definition of homelessness to better serve the Latino community.

Lift the Ban Coalition – Keep Illinois Home ($100,000)

The Lift the Ban Coalition is currently based out of the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization, a Black-led community-based organization located on the south side of Chicago. The Coalition is working to strengthen the statewide infrastructure to keep Illinois’ most vulnerable stably housed by eliminating the rent burden of more than 1.5 million Illinois working families.

Advocacy efforts include expanding Chicago’s tenant ordinances to give more protection to renters and running a state-wide binding referendum bill, which would allow citizens within municipalities to vote to lift the ban on rental control within a community.

Safer Foundation – General Operating Support ($100,000)

Safer Foundation works to build an unobstructed road to reentry by providing stabilizing support, employment, education and advocacy that empower justice-involved individuals to achieve their true potential.

Grant dollars will support advocacy efforts and participatory research initiatives focused on expanding housing access for returning residents experiencing homelessness.

Southwest Organizing Project – United Power for Action and Justice + Southwest Organizing Project ($100,000)

The Southwest Organizing Project’s (SWOP) mission is to build a broad-based organization of Christian, Muslim and Jewish faith institutions, local schools and other institutions in Southwest Chicago, which will enable families to exercise common values, determine their own future and connect with each other to improve life in their neighborhoods.

This grant supports a grassroots community organizing effort to advance the Reclaiming Chicago Campaign which seeks to expand access to affordable housing.

Health First Collaborative (HFC)

Catalyzed by a response to the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and racism, HFC invests in community-led, innovative solutions to address the root causes of racial health inequities in Chicagoland. HFC is an incubator and amplifier of community-driven ideas that have the potential to transform health. To date, collective investments have been focused on improving access to care through technological interventions and supporting hyperlocal approaches to health outreach by community leaders, a key aspect of the public health workforce.

Sinai Urban Health Institute (SUHI) is the lead evaluator for this collective impact effort and serves as a liaison between HFC-funded pilot leads and funders in reporting out challenges and successes of the work. Another unique element of HFC is the Community Advisory Council (CAC) that is composed of nearly 20 community resident consultants who help guide and shape the work and ensure cultural competence.

Crossroads Fund – Solidarity Fund ($250,000)

Crossroads Fund supports community organizations working on issues of racial, social and economic justice in the Chicago area. Crossroads Fund pools the resources of individuals, foundations and businesses, building a broad base of support for grassroots organizations for social change.

This grant supports mutual aid efforts and shelter for asylum seekers and refugees in the Chicago metro region and collar counties (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and Will counties, north west Indiana and Lake County, Indiana).

Esperanza Health Centers – Telecounseling- Year 4 ($20,000)

Esperanza provides bilingual, high-quality primary care, behavioral health and wellness services to the community, regardless of immigration status, insurance status or ability to pay.

Esperanza Health Centers leads a telecounseling pilot focused on increasing behavioral healthcare access for Latino communities through expanded service options. This grant will continue to support data sharing with the lead evaluator to capture and disseminate key learnings.

Sinai Urban Health Institute – Health First Collaborative Evaluation – Year 4 ($126,829)

Established in 2000 as the research arm of Sinai Chicago, Sinai Urban Health Institute (SUHI) is a unique, nationally-recognized community research center that works in partnership with community members and organizations to identify and address health inequities in some of the most underserved communities in the city.

SUHI will provide ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the Health First Collaborative pilots including supporting and convening the Community Advisory Council.

Chicagoland Food Sovereignty Coalition – Mutual Aid Groups ($100,000)

The Chicagoland Food Sovereignty Coalition (CFSC) is a network of mutual aid groups that cover the metro Chicago region whose mission is to create a better food system by linking mutual aid groups, organizations, businesses and individuals.

Since the first buses of new arrivals, CFSC’s network of mutual aid groups have been boldly stepping into the gaps that are left by government entities. CFSC is working at both the police stations and city run shelters providing food, medical advocacy, transportation to medical care, over the counter medication, blankets, clothing and meeting other material needs for asylum seekers. Additionally, CFSC has been doing crisis intervention related to community and interpersonal violence that asylum seekers are being exposed to in congregate shelter sites.