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Racial Equity in Evanston and Chicago

Our Commitment:

We commit to allocating $1.5 million for Fiscal Year 2020-21 toward advancing social justice and racial equity in Evanston and Chicago. Having recently concluded a five-year Good Neighbors Fund commitment for a variety of community needs in the Evanston area, we will now shift — and increase by $500,000 — our investments toward programs that dismantle systemic barriers faced by historically marginalized communities. Our commitment here is not simply financial; crucial to this initiative is the active partnership between our students, faculty, staff and our surrounding communities. We also will begin reporting on local minority- and women-owned businesses hired as contractors through our facilities, construction and procurement units.

Racial Equity and Community Partnership Grant Program Goals

The Racial Equity and Community Partnership grant program ($500,000) centers on advancing racial equity in Evanston and Chicago by funding mutually beneficial partnerships between community and University stakeholders. The goals of this inaugural program are to make grants that:

  • Advance racial equity through policy, infrastructure and programmatic changes that work toward dismantling structural racism.
  • Expand strategic, meaningful and reciprocal partnerships between community partners and Northwestern, which advance the University’s academic and research mission while also strengthening local communities.
  • Encourage innovative partnerships that build the capacity of targeted communities to develop and sustain their own solutions to structural challenges.
  • Pilot ideas and programs that have the potential to advance research-based knowledge and be leveraged for broader impact and additional government and philanthropic investment.

Spring Quarter 2021 Update

This month, we announced the inaugural recipients of the Racial Equity and Community Partnership grants. This funding supports community-created ideas to solve the systemic problems of racial inequity in local neighborhoods. Ten organizations will receive partnership grants and partner with Northwestern groups, and 11 organizations will receive incubator grants. Learn more about the grantees here.

Winter Quarter 2021 Update

In early March, in partnership with the City of Evanston, we shared the initiatives and areas of emphasis for the first-ever $1 million allocation of the Good Neighbor Racial Equity Fund. The initiatives funded include support for minority entrepreneurs, arts organizations, undocumented residents and socially isolated older adults, as well as funding to operationalize equity and improve language access within the City of Evanston government. Seed money has also been allocated for a guaranteed income pilot program that provides direct financial assistance to a limited number of low-income households.

Additionally, 48 local organizations were invited to submit full proposals for Racial Equity and Community Partnership Grants, which will be awarded in two tiers: partnership and incubator. Those chosen for incubator grants will receive funding to support their participation in a 12-week racial equity training program housed in the Center for Diversity and Democracy, led by Professor Alvin Tillery. The funding decisions for both the incubator and partnership grants will be announced in May.

Fall Quarter 2020 Update

Racial Equity and Community Partnership Grant Program Program Development

We have made significant progress developing the Racial Equity and Community Partnership grants program for the Evanston and Chicago communities. We formed an advisory committee of Northwestern faculty and staff with expertise in racial equity, community-engaged teaching and research, public policy and program development. Additionally, the advisory committee includes community leaders with significant knowledge and experience in advocacy and asset-based community development.

The applications will go live on January 4, and we are on track for selecting the inaugural group of grantees by May 2021. Sign up to receive a notification when applications are available.