The McCormick Foundation Helps Children, Families, and Communities Thrive
“In recent years, we have deepened our investments in the West and South Sides of our city that have historically not had the same resources and opportunities as the rest of the city due to decades of racial segregation, discrimination, and disinvestment.”
At Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, we take pride in being among today’s leaders in trauma-informed care to help kids in Chicago heal from abuse, neglect, housing instability, and neighborhood violence. But each child at Mercy Home is unique, and there is no one solution for treating their trauma. To offer the best care to our kids, we must continually evolve to meet their needs.
To do so means empowering our coworkers with ongoing professional development through trainings, orientations, and the sharing of best practices with the community at large.
This agency-wide culture of growth is possible thanks to our partnership with the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, who generously supports our Learning and Development program at Mercy Home. Their dedication not only allows us to provide evidence-based care to youth and families who have experienced trauma, but also helps our organization adapt during unforeseen events like the COVID-19 crisis.
Support provided by the McCormick Foundation also allows us to share the ARC Model of Treatment (Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency: A Framework for Intervention with Traumatized Youth), which we have incorporated into our Mercy Model of Care, with other social-work professionals and community organizations throughout Chicago and beyond. This evidence-based approach has been cited nationally as one of the best models for intervention with youth and families who have experienced multiple and/or prolonged traumatic stress.
This network of empathy, resources, and positive relationships are a blessing for the children who live at Mercy Home. Most often, they come from long-neglected communities on the South and West Sides of the city that have been overwhelmed by poverty and challenged by a lack of opportunity. These factors contribute to high unemployment rates, crime, gang culture, and gun violence.
But our friends at the McCormick Foundation are helping to turn the tide in these communities. They invest in their potential and make our most vulnerable neighborhoods stronger for our kids when they return.
“In recent years, we have deepened our investments in the West and South Sides of our city that have historically not had the same resources and opportunities as the rest of the city due to decades of racial segregation, discrimination, and disinvestment,” said Tim Knight, President and CEO of the McCormick Foundation. “Two of our exemplary efforts lie in Englewood and Little Village. There, community-led efforts are addressing the inter-related issues of education, public health and safety, and economic development and jobs. We are focused on helping to ensure that all families and children have the opportunity to thrive, without regard to race, ZIP code, or income.”
To see that these opportunities come to fruition, the McCormick Foundation partners with the Greater Englewood and Little Village Chambers of Commerce to activate community service initiatives.
“Following the events of last summer, we have made significant investments in small business recovery, are supporters of the Chicago Sports Alliance, which funds evidence-based solutions for gun violence in the city, and are committed to helping to acclimate returning citizens,” said Knight.
Additionally, we are also grateful for the McCormick Foundation’s support of Mercy Home’s initiatives in education. Kids often arrive at Mercy Home an average of three years behind their same-aged peers in school, so establishing a sound academic foundation for our boys and girls is a top priority on their path to resiliency.
“Obtaining a solid education is a means to help students get out of poverty, leading to self-sufficiency and economic growth.”
The McCormick Foundation’s support helps coworkers in our Education and Career Resources department connect our kids with tutors, design individual academic plans, and create enrichment projects. ECR coworkers also connect our young learners with internship and job opportunities that provide critical workplace experience so they can step confidently toward a successful future and a fulfilling career.
“Obtaining a solid education is a means to help students get out of poverty, leading to self-sufficiency and economic growth,” said Knight. “We focus on strategies that strengthen the most impactful relationships in a child’s life: families, teachers, and leaders. Our investments in education include Big Shoulders Fund schools, programs that help parents find schools for kids, and professional development programs for teachers, principals, and school leaders.”
The McCormick Foundation is named after Colonel Robert R. McCormick. Born in Chicago in 1880 to a family committed to civic engagement and community service, McCormick made many accomplishments throughout his life: he was alderman of the 21st Ward, he served in the Illinois National Guard and volunteered for duty in World War I, and he was publisher and editor of the Chicago Tribune for more than 40 years.
Following his death in 1955, the McCormick Foundation was founded to carry on his commitment to civic engagement and community service. Though the foundation has supported organizations both nationally and outside of the U.S., in recent years the focus has shifted to their own backyard.
“The McCormick Foundation is the legacy of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, whose will expressed his hope that the Trust would reflect the important commitments in his life – children and families, education, veterans, and freedom of speech and of the press,” Knight said. “The Foundation today has articulated his values in its mission to help ensure that people, especially children, have equitable access to the opportunities they need to flourish regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or ZIP code. Mercy Home’s mission of providing the young people in its care a loving and supportive environment strongly aligns with the Foundation’s mission.”
As Mercy Home continues to be a solution for kids and families in need, we are honored to partner with the McCormick Foundation to create change in Chicago. Their active, hands-on approach to solving complex issues in vulnerable, underserved communities is an inspiration. Together, we see a brighter future for our children, their families, and our city.