The organizers of Double Denim Bar Crawl have two goals: raise awareness of autism and have fun doing it. Their yearly bar crawls through historic Wringleyville gather revelers suited up from head to toe in denim jeans, jackets, and shirts to let loose amid raffles, dance-offs, and debates on the cultural degradation caused by khaki. Contests including ring toss and a Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament complement prizes for best and worst double denim, denim princess, and achievement for drinking excellence. Celebrants can feel good about every sudsy libation they imbibe since profits of the crawl go to the Chicagoland Chapter of Autism Speaks, an organization dedicated to funding autism research, spreading awareness, and advocating for the individuals and families affected by autism.
Matt Feeney and Joel Berman share a disability and a dream. Feeney broke his neck diving off a 100-foot cliff and Berman lost his ability to walk after a runaway flatcar hit him while laying rail tracks. Together they founded Adaptive Adventures to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities through participation in sports and outdoor recreation. The organization runs progressive sports programs year-round for children, adults, and service members who have been severely injured in conflicts abroad. They cater to people with a wide range of disabilities, including spinal-cord injuries, amputations, and cerebral palsy. The programs help build confidence and social skills in participants who could not otherwise afford equipment, training, and travel for recreational sports.
Dedicated to advancing the economic, professional, and cultural well-being of the northern suburb, Lincolnwood Chamber of Commerce & Industry fosters a sense of community and civic pride through a host of activities and programs. The annual home and garden show—replete with booths of goods and services set up by area businesses—provides guests with the resources and tools needed to landscape yards or renovate aging blanket forts, while the Lincolnwood Wine Expo includes tastings and seminars centered around all things wine related.
The Plastic Bag Solution aims to decrease the number of plastic bags left in areas such as landfills and water sources to decompose, leech toxins into the environment, and destroy natural landscapes. The organization produces a compostable bag made from a renewable blend of BPI-certified organic polymers including corn and potato starch. They naturally decompose the same way a potato would, but are as durable and waterproof as a plastic bag. The Plastic Bag Solution distributes these bags as a sustainable alternative to petroleum-based bags and raises awareness about the dangers of plastic-bag waste through community green events, lectures, and advocacy among local politicians. Staff members also show their dedication to the health of the environment by attending all of their meetings by bike.
The Kindness Connection works with local charities to define service projects that meet their needs. We then design the projects, procure the required materials, and organize schools, groups and/or individuals to complete the projects.
Crossroads Fund’s Youth Fund for Social Change grant offers a $1,000 endowment to Chicago youth activists who want to change policies or structures that pose barriers to equality in their communities. Youth-led nonprofit organizations and young people 26 and under are eligible to apply, with a tangible idea for a project that aims to clean up the environment, combat LGBT-related violence, and improve school attendance. Past grant awardees have organized a youth forum to end gang violence in their neighborhood, and raised awareness for legislation to prevent bullying in Illinois schools.