Chicago Youth Storage Initiative comes to a celebratory close

On June 26, 2018 youth service providers, funders, City of Chicago officials, community stakeholders and young people gathered to celebrate the impact of the Chicago Youth Storage Initiative (CYSI).

Pierce Family Foundation was a founding partner in CYSI, along with Knight Family Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation and Tracy Baim of Windy City Times. CYSI was created to address a top need identified by youth experiencing homelessness—the storage of personal belongings. There were limited spaces in youth housing programs in Chicago, and for youth not in those programs, safely storing their belongings while they were at school or work was a significant concern.

In three years, CYSI funded the purchase of 755 storage units across 22 program sites and provided over 12,000 nights of secure storage to over 1,000 unique program participants. In addition to providing secure storage, CYSI piloted virtual storage programs and laundry at grantee sites across Chicago including schools, shelters, and youth program spaces. Learn more about CYSI’s history, impact, and next chapter in CYSI’s final report.

While Chicago Youth Storage Initiative has officially come to a close, the legacy continues with the LYTE Collective, which will house over 200 units of diverse storage at their LYTE Lounge, including secure phone charging, mail and document storage, scanning and virtual storage, daily, and long-term storage. The LYTE team has also committed to serve as a resource to organizations interested in creating their own storage sites. 

It is our hope that the work of CYSI will incite enthusiasm and action from other organizations and communities to create and fund innovative interventions to youth homelessness.

The Chicago Youth Storage steering committee. First row, from left: Jeanne Kracher of Crossroads Fund, Tracy Baim of Pride Action Tank and Windy City Times, and Heather Parish of Pierce Family Foundation. Second row, from left: CYSI Project Coordinator Megan Wickman, Marianne Philbin of Pierce Family Foundation, Lester Knight of Knight Family Foundation, Becky Knight of Knight Family Foundation, Michael Mock of MassMutual of Illinois, former CYSI Project Coordinator Lara Brooks, Mignon Stewart of Prince Charitable Trusts, and Debbie Reznick of Polk Bros. Foundation.

PFF noted in Chronicle of Philanthropy article

Pierce Family Foundation was lauded for its support of nonprofits’ technology needs in an editorial by Chantal Forster, Executive Director of Technology Association of Grantmakers, that appeared in The Chronicle of Philanthropy on January 31, 2022.

In “Grantmakers Should Stop Resisting Nonprofits’ Pleas for Increased Technology Funding,” Foster argues that both better communication within and more collaboration among foundations are necessary to give nonprofits what they need. On the former, she says program officers don’t consultant with their own IT staff to stay abreast of what is needed in this area of infrastructure. But, she notes:

Changing this dynamic is certainly possible, as a handful of innovative philanthropic efforts demonstrate. The Pierce Family Foundation, for instance, has made technology investment for grantees a priority since its founding in 2007. The foundation’s chief technologist, David Krumlauf, works directly with grantees to understand their tech needs, often starting with interviews and an inventory of current technology before helping to develop a plan and budget for upgrading their digital systems. In addition to providing grantees funding for these projects, the foundation offers training on tech tool usage and cybersecurity.

Heather Parish named Field Catalyst

The Center for Community Investment (CCI) at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy is proud to announce the selection of the inaugural cohort of its Field Catalyst program. Among those chosen is Pierce Family Foundation Co-Executive Director Heather Parish.

These 13 leaders from across the United States are established practitioners in community investment and development, racial justice, and adaptive leadership. Over the next year, they’ll partner with CCI and work together to explore how they can help transform the practice of community investment in the U.S. to leverage existing local resources and drive systemic change anchored in racial justice. To learn more about the program and its inaugural cohort, visit centerforcommunityinvestment.org/fieldcatalyst.

PFF mentioned in Inside Philanthropy

Inside Philanthropy published an article highlighting the problems that nonprofits have with IT, particularly acute during the pandemic. The article profiled Technology Association of Grantmakers (TAG), and their important work in both providing nonprofits with IT resources and encouraging more foundations to support IT needs. Pierce Family Foundation was mentioned as a funder who is “doing this right.” Subscribers to Inside Philanthropy can read the article here.

PFF on Fund the People podcast

Pierce Family Foundation Co-Executive Director Heather Parish recently appeared on Fund the People, a podcast with Rusty Stahl. She is joined by Lisa May Simpson of Forefront, and the two discuss the importance of knowledge sharing in the nonprofit sector. Give it a listen!

Co-ED joins other Black philanthropic leaders in open letter

Co-Executive Director Heather Parish joined other Black philanthropic leaders in an open letter published in Crain’s Chicago Business, How to achieve the just treatment of Blacks – and all people of color. “The 21st-century activists who lead peaceful protests in our city and around the world represent the full spectrum of race, class and gender identity. They have boldly shouted in unison that Black. Lives. Matter,” the letter notes and emphasizes, “Chicago’s civic and philanthropic communities also need to embrace this moment with bold leadership and action.” The letter’s signers advocate multiple avenues for civic and philanthropic leaders to take in order to advance equity in Black and other communities of color. Download the full article here. Listen to Chicago Foundation for Women President Felicia Davis discuss the letter on WBEZ.

PFF Participates in National Day of Racial Healing

The Pierce Family Foundation hosted a Racial Healing Circle for grantees on Tuesday, January 21 as part of the National Day of Racial Healing. More than 40 such circles were held during the week at agencies all over Chicago. At PFF’s circle, more than one dozen representatives from our grantees took part and offered a number of personal learnings and/or “aha” moments. The circle was hosted by trained facilitators from Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Chicago.

Co-ED appears on national panel

The National Center for Family Philanthropy held its annual Forum on Family Philanthropy in Chicago in October 2019. Pierce Family Foundation Co-Executive Director Heather Parish was a featured speaker at the plenary session, “Everything Old is New Again: Gen Op, Capacity Building, and Multi-Year Grants.” The session argued for a strong investment in nonprofit’s personnel, strategic plans, technology, and other items that have long been seen as surperfluous, rather than essential. Family foundations are pushing the mindset on this issue nationally, and Heather spoke about PFF’s contribution to this important work.

PFF lauded for supporting nonprofit cybersecurity

Three organizations promoting technology in nonprofits – NTENTechnology Affinity Group, and Tech Impact – have released a report calling on all foundations to support cybersecurity in nonprofits. Their collaborative funder briefing, “Cybersecurity Essentials for Philanthropy,” includes Pierce Family Foundation as an example of a funder who takes this issue seriously and providing grantee support for it. As PFF’s Chief Technologist David Krumlauf says in the briefing, “Many nonprofits think they will nto get attacked because they’re doing good work, which of course makes no difference to a bad person with a set of email addresses.”

10th Anniversary Celebration

The Pierce Family Foundation gave our first grant in 2008. In early September of 2018, to celebrate our 10th anniversary, PFF staff members went on a two-day whirlwind tour to all of our Core Grantees, past and present. Each organization was presented with a Celebrating Our Core Grantees document, a grant to be used on staff appreciation activities, and – the favorite item – a tin of Garrett’s popcorn.

Photos of the Anniversary Tour can be seen on PFF’s Facebook page. PFF is honored to support the work of these Core Grantees, and we thank them for all they’ve done for the Chicago community:

  • All Chicago
  • The Boulevard
  • Center for Changing Lives 
  • Chicago House
  • Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America 
  • The Crib at The Night Ministry
  • Deborah’s Place 
  • Facing Forward to End Homelessness
  • Goldie’s Place 
  • Good News Partners 
  • Housing Opportunities for Women 
  • La Casa Norte 
  • Margaret’s Village
  • Matthew House
  • New Moms 
  • Northwest Side Housing Center 
  • The Renaissance Collaborative
  • Sarah’s Circle 
  • Spanish Coalition for Housing
  • Teen Living