Chicago is a hub of cultural diversity—Andersonville's Swedish American Museum makes that clear. Originally built in 1976 by Swedish immigrant Kurt Mathiasson, what is now a stalwart guardian of Swedish-American hertiage began as a small storefront log cabin, housing local family histories. His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden, gave his blessing to the project by holding the official opening ceremony, but the minds behind the museum had even grander plans. After a decade of collection and education, they moved the Museum to its current, larger location, and invited the King back to celebrate with them again.
After that illustrious beginning, the Museum held permanent exhibitions on the Swedish-immigrant experience, including passports and folk crafts as well as information on why the immigrants left, what they packed for their voyages, and what careers they chose in Chicago. The onsite Brunk Children’s Museum of Immigration also hosts interactive displays to teach kids about life for ancient Swedes and the crossing to America, whereas the Nordic Family Geneology Center assists people in researching their family's lineage.
To promote educational outreach, Arise Chicago sponsors trilingual workers’ rights workshops, using custom curricula to empower the working poor. Presented in Spanish, Polish, and English, these workshops elucidate labor laws concerning wages and hours, discrimination, sexual harassment, and health and safety. Through these educational events, Arise Chicago is able to equip a broad spectrum of workers with the knowledge they need to defend their rights and wages.
In the more than four decades since its founding in 1970, Care for Real has never been as busy as it's been in the years following the 2008 recession. More than 55,000 clients visited the Edgewater fixture in 2012, seeking assistance with their financial, health, housing, employment, or social-services needs. The entire operation is manned by just three full-time employees and a 200-strong team of volunteers.
Neighbors in need include families struggling with food insecurity and individuals who have lost their jobs; senior citizens and children under the age of 18 comprise more than half of the client base. Ongoing projects include the Clothes Closet, which provides gently used apparel free of charge to more than 1,300 clients each month, and the Food Pantry, which distributes nearly 60,000 pounds of rice, beans, bread, fresh produce, and other items each month to those in need, including more than 800 children.
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At the corner of Lawrence Avenue and North Sheridan, right in the heart of Chicago’s Uptown Square Historic District, stands a six-story historic building bearing the name of Dr. Preston Bradley. From 1912 to 1978, Dr. Bradley served as the minister of the progressive-oriented Peoples Church of Chicago, using the pulpit to espouse the ideals of social justice as he fervently worked to secure free speech and equality alongside prominent figures such as Jane Addams and Martin Luther King, Jr. Today, the 1926 building – added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000 – is a beehive of activity and progress that carries on the work begun by Dr. Bradley. With the goal bringing people together to improve the lives of their neighbors and the community in which they live, the staff welcomes all members of the community into its pair of auditoriums, theater, galleries, and meeting rooms. Permanent space-sharing partners include the Uptown Arts Center, a series of active galleries and studio spaces available for use by local artists, and North Side Housing Services, a city contract agency that addresses transitional housing for displaced individuals. The center is also member of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, which awarded it the Soup Kitchen Quality Performance Award in 2008, and hosts the 2 L'il Fishes program, which provides free meals to any individual in need six days a week.
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Join this Restaurant Week-themed G-Team campaign to help build the Inspiration Kitchens – Garfield Park and provide job training opportunities for people affected by homelessness in Chicago’s West Side. Every dollar pledged to this campaign will be generously matched by an anonymous donor (hence the doubled values listed below). Five giving levels are available for G-Team donors: