Report Release: Illinois Racial Justice & Equity Landscape Study

Executive Summary:

This groundbreaking study, commissioned by Grand Victoria Foundation (GVF) and the Great Cities Institute (GCI), seeks to shed light on the challenges faced by Black communities across Illinois, with a specific focus on 81 “Black population centers” throughout the state where 30% or more of the residents identify as Black, outside of Chicago and Cook County.

The study represents a crucial step in GVF’s strategic shift towards racial equity and justice grantmaking, recognizing that significant concentrations of Black populations in Illinois outside of Chicago and Cook County often receive little attention, despite their unique predicaments. With a mission-driven approach, GVF and GCI aim to use this research to understand the lived experiences, aspirations, and challenges of these communities, and to identify ways to support their efforts towards equity and justice.

The “Illinois Racial Justice & Equity Landscape Study” is a comprehensive research endeavor that encompasses both quantitative and qualitative data. Through extensive data collection and analysis, including demographic information, socioeconomic indicators, and community input, the study paints a nuanced picture of the current state of Black populations in these areas. The study also identifies over 1500 organizations that are actively working to improve outcomes within these communities, showcasing the resilience and determination of local stakeholders.

The findings of the study provide invaluable insights into the racial justice and equity landscape in Illinois, highlighting the unique issues faced by Black populations outside of major metropolitan areas. The study aims to go beyond mere data and statistics, by elevating the voices and stories of community members, and by recognizing their aspirations for a more equitable and just future.

Based on the research findings, GVF and GCI provide recommendations on how philanthropic, civic, and corporate entities can support these communities in achieving their desired outcomes. These recommendations are rooted in a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities present in these communities, and aim to foster meaningful and sustainable change through grantmaking, strategic support, and collaborative efforts.

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