Hometown Pride: McDonald’s Launches Grant Program to Benefit 40 Chicago-Based Youth Organizations

September 06, 2022

McDonald’s is one of the world’s most recognizable brands, but did you know we trace our roots back to the Chicagoland area? Founder Ray Kroc opened his first McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois, back in 1955 – and we’ve maintained a close connection with the city ever since. These days, our footprint is global, but we’ve always strived to feed and foster the communities wherever the Golden Arches shine. 

If McDonald’s had a hometown, there’s no doubt that it would be the Second City. But Chicago is so much more than our backyard – it's our community. 

And as one of the world’s leading brands headquartered in the area, it’s a privilege to be a part of feeding and fostering the future of the place we call home. McDonald’s and its franchisees have long prioritized this critical work, putting service, integrity and community at the forefront of our values

It’s why we’re investing $3.5 million in 40 neighborhood organizations through our newly launched Chicago Community Impact Grants Program, developed in partnership with The Chicago Community Trust (the Trust). The program benefits nonprofit organizations that are actively advancing safe, healthy and thriving community support systems while working to reduce barriers to employment and education opportunities for Black and Latinx youth. The inaugural grantees offer a range of empowering services, from helping youth overcome homelessness to preventing violence and offering job-readiness training. We know that on-the-ground organizations like these can unlock a world of potential for our city’s young people.

McDonald’s partnered with the Trust to identify local nonprofit groups that are doing just that. More specifically, we sought out organizations focused on the city’s South and West sides, with an emphasis on groups that provide life skills training, pre-employment support and mental health programming.

Ultimately, our goal is for these grants to help support the great work that these local nonprofits are already doing to create opportunities for the future generation of local leaders.

Want to know more about the organizations McDonald’s is supporting through the Chicago Community Impact Grants Program? Take a look below at the 40 local nonprofits that will receive grants – and click through to learn more about the great work they’re doing to make our hometown proud.

100 Black Men of Chicago, Inc.

Mission: 100 Black Men of Chicago, Inc. aims to improve the quality of life and enhance the educational opportunities of African-American males throughout the Greater Chicago area.

Grant Focus: For the Pathway to Careers program to provide job preparedness and job readiness services to youth.

826 Chicago

Mission: 826CHI is dedicated to amplifying the voices of Chicago youth, encouraging the exploration of endless possibility through the power of writing for students, for teachers, and for communities.

Grant Focus: For the Teen Writers Studio, to bolster access for students from neighborhood schools in underserved areas.

ALMA Chicago

Mission: ALMA Chicago is fighting for the rights of the Latino lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning community by advocating for fairness and equality and affirming Latino LGBTQ culture.

Grant Focus: For outreach to undocumented transgender and non-binary youth and connection to mental health and legal services.

A Safe Haven

Mission: A Safe Haven provides the tools for individuals to overcome the root causes of homelessness through a holistic and scalable model. A Safe Haven's visible social and economic impact unites families, stabilizes neighborhoods, and creates vibrant, viable communities.

Grant Focus: To strengthen employment support services of the Youth Overnight Shelter, expand workforce programs, and expand partnerships for healthcare careers job training programs.

Association House

Mission: Association House aims to serve a multi-culture community by providing comprehensive, collaborative programs in English and Spanish, promoting health and wellness and create opportunities for educational and economic advancement. 

Grant Focus: For wraparound services including Association House High School, supporting youth to get diplomas, workforce development, community health, behavioral health and child welfare.

Breakthrough Urban Ministries

Mission: Breakthrough Urban Ministries partners with individuals to build connections, develop skills and open doors of opportunity. 

Grant Focus: For the Breakthrough Beyond program to create strategic economic pathways for youth through college and career readiness and financial literacy.

Build Chicago

Mission: BUILD is a nationally respected gang intervention, violence prevention and youth development organization based on Chicago’s West Side.

Grant Focus: To scale the Mobile Mental Health program, increasing the number of individuals reached with mental health and violence prevention services

By the Hand

Mission: By the Hand is an after-school program that takes kids by the hand and walks with them from kindergarten through college, loving and nurturing them – mind, body and soul.

Grant Focus: For NXT, which helps high school students plan for the workforce, college and career.

Centers for New Horizons

Mission: Centers for New Horizons aims to serve and partner with community residents in their efforts to bring about positive changes.

Grant Focus: For the SHIFT Chicago Project, to support at-risk 19- to 24-year-olds with job readiness and vocational skills.

Center on Halsted

Mission: Center on Halsted advances community and secures the health and well-being of the LGBTQ people of Chicagoland.

Grant Focus: For expanded service to LGBTQ youth on the South Side and plans to expand youth housing program.

Chicago Cred

Mission: Through Street Outreach, Coaching & Counseling, Workforce Development and Advocacy & Prevention, Chicago Cred lifts young men and women and rallies neighborhoods to dramatically rewrite the story of gun violence in Chicago.

Grant Focus: For CRED CARES, which provides leadership development excursions for youth to local events and out-of-state trips.

Chicago Scholars

Mission: Chicago Scholars selects, trains and mentors academically ambitious students from under-resourced communities to complete college and become the next generation of leaders who will transform their neighborhoods and our city.

Grant Focus: For the Young Men of Color program in-school pilot.

Chicago Urban League

Mission: The Chicago Urban League works to achieve equity for Black families and communities through social and economic empowerment.

Grant Focus: For the Youth Workforce Development Services program, which will provide career pathway services for youth.

Chicago Youth Centers

Mission: Chicago Youth Centers boldly envisions a Chicago where every child has the resources, experiences and mentors they need to imagine and build bright futures. 

Grant Focus: For after-school and summer programs for teens ages 16 to 19 and new school partnerships.

Chinese American Service League

Mission: Chinese American Service League is an all-inclusive nonprofit agency with over 40 years of experience connecting families and individuals with the vital support they need.

Grant Focus: For youth development programming after school, school holidays and summer.

Chinese Mutual Aid

Mission: Chicago Mutual Aid aims to serve the needs, promote the interests and enhance the well-being of low-income immigrants and refugees.

Grant Focus: To strengthen the Young Women Warriors and Young Men Making Moves programs that help youth ages 16 to 22 prepare for post-secondary school education, career pathways and building resumes.

Communities United

Mission: Communities United develops community leadership to build a shared root cause analysis of problems impacting their communities, to develop and advance innovative power-building strategies and to engage in creating transformative systems change. 

Grant Focus: For Healing Through Justice, which promotes youth leadership development with culturally relevant approaches to improve health and mental wellness.

Gads Hill

Mission: Gads Hill Center, a social service organization established in 1898, creates opportunities for children and their families to build a better life through education, access to resources and community engagement.

Grant Focus: For the Building Leaders program, which offers after-school and summer programming, leadership, college and career readiness support.

HANA Center

Mission: HANA Center empowers Korean American and multi-ethnic immigrant communities through social services, education, culture and community organizing to advance human rights.

Grant Focus: For youth-development programs serving Korean and other immigrant communities.

Hope Chicago

Mission: Hope Chicago aims to provide scholarships for 30,000 Chicago Public Schools students over the next decade.

Grant Focus: For Student Success wraparound services, including career advising, academic support, social-emotional learning and more.

Inspiration Corporation

Mission: Inspiration Corporation connects people and creates opportunity through access to social services, job training, housing and food.

Grant Focus: To support individuals completing Inspiration Kitchens' 12-week Food Service Training program.

Instituto del Progreso Latino

Mission: Instituto del Progreso Latino contributes to the fullest development of Latino immigrants and their families through education, training and employment that foster full participation in changing United States society while preserving cultural identity and dignity.

Grant Focus: For the Youth Advancement Opportunities Program, which supports youth to complete high school and go on to post-secondary education.

Junior Achievement of Chicago

Mission: Junior Achievement of Chicago inspires and prepares young people to succeed. 

Grant Focus: For the Junior Achievement Community and Feeder School Initiative, and to enable work with high schools and feeder elementary schools.

La Casa Norte

Mission: La Casa Norte aims to serve the youth and families confronting homelessness, providing access to stable housing and delivering comprehensive services that act as a catalyst to transform lives and communities.

Grant Focus: For increased psychosocial support, expanded youth-led health outreach and crisis prevention services.

Ladies of Virtue

Mission: Ladies of Virtue aims to instill purpose, passion and perseverance in girls, ages 9 to 18, while preparing them for college, careers and to become change agents in their communities. 

Grant Focus: For comprehensive education and career readiness support and mentoring for Black girls.

Love Unity and Values (LUV)

Mission: Love Unity and Values inspires hope and empowers youth with economic opportunities while building resiliency and social-emotional competencies.

Grant Focus: To expand offerings supporting youth to find permanent employment or pursue post-secondary education.

Metropolitan Family Services

Mission: Metropolitan Family Services aims to provide and mobilize the services needed to strengthen families and communities.

Grant Focus: For economic stability programs, violence prevention and legal and protective services.

Mujeres Latinas in Accion

Mission: Mujeres Latinas in Accion empowers Latinas by providing services that reflect their values and culture and being an advocate on the issues that make a difference in their lives.

Grant Focus: For programs and services that address youth in crisis and help build thriving communities, including Safety First and Crisis Intervention.

My Block My Hood My City

Mission: My Block My Hood My City aims to inspire youth, empower communities and build a better world one block at a time.

Grant Focus: For the Role Model Movement to expand the worldview of high school students through explorations and trips.

North Lawndale Employment Network

Mission: North Lawndale Employment Network believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to work, and that communities flourish when good jobs give residents both paychecks and self-worth.

Grant Focus: For Career Pathway Training Program to advance economic opportunity by supporting youth job readiness and advocating for and connecting youth to work-based training and career pathway development.

Polished Pebbles / Reflections

Mission: Polished Pebbles / Reflections aims to help girls become great communicators at home, school and in the future workplace.

Grant Focus: For programs supporting girls to go through a six-week summer paid work program.

Project Syncere

Mission: Project Syncere aims to prepare the minds of underrepresented students and create pathways for them to pursue careers in STEM.

Grant Focus: For the E-CADEMY program, to prepare underserved students for careers in STEM.

RMHC Chicagoland and NW Indiana

Mission: RMHC Chicagoland and NW Indiana aims to help families get better together.

Grant Focus: For the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile program, which will provide health care via mobile medical units.

Safer Foundation

Mission: Safer Foundation aims to pave the path to reentry with the tools, training and support needed to succeed. 

Grant Focus: For the Youth Empowerment and Enrichment Program.

Target Hope

Mission: Target H.O.P.E launched the education component at Hyde Park Career Academy by enrolling 65 at-risk freshmen into a new model to increase academic achievement and prevent youth violence.

Grant Focus: For the STEM Initiative Program that will support students to pursue STEM education and careers after high school.

Thrive Chicago

Mission: Thrive Chicago is a dedicated group of individuals who are committed to collaborative  work and creative problem solving.

Grant Focus: For expansion of mental health programming for opportunity youth and to enhance data and measurement across Hubs and partner organizations.


Mission: UCAN strives to build strong youth and families through compassionate healing, education and empowerment.

Grant Focus: For trauma-informed care and community engagement programs, mental health, youth leadership, workforce and violence prevention.

YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago

Mission: YMCA of Metro Chicago aims to develop strong children, families and communities across Metropolitan Chicago through academic readiness, character development, violence prevention and fitness and healthy living.

Grant Focus: For support of the Youth Safety and Violence Program, which empowers youth with skills to avoid involvement with violence.

Youth Guidance

Mission: Youth Guidance creates and implements school-based programs that enable children to overcome obstacles, focus on their education and, ultimately, to succeed in school and in life.

Grant Focus: To scale Street Outreach program and Community Connections mobile case management/crisis response team working with individuals and schools.

Youth Outreach Services

Mission: Youth Outreach Services aims to inspire positive development so clients and their families can face challenges with confidence with the ongoing support they need to thrive for a lifetime.

Grant Focus: For the Youth Investment Program, which will provide career preparation and employment training for youth ages 18 to 24.

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