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$18 Million Grant Supports Innovative Program to Bolster Success of Middle-School Students in Five Chicago Public Schools

Resource type: News

LISC Chicago |

Integrated Services in Schools Program to be managed by LISC/Chicago’s New Communities Program Agencies

To increase the success of middle-school students in Chicago and bolster their chances of graduating high school, The Atlantic Philanthropies, an international foundation with a focus on children and youth, will award a major grant to support a five-school effort over four years. The grant will be announced on Wednesday, March 26th at 9:30am at Orozco Community Academy in Pilsen.Chicago was chosen for its nationally recognized capacity to implement sustainable change in both its communities and schools.

The new initiative, Integrated Services in Schools (ISS), is designed to ensure that middle school students succeed in school and their communities by providing them with multiple supports, including: comprehensive on-site school-based health services; before, after-school, and summer learning opportunities; and effective mentoring by caring adults. In addition, the initiative will ensure that middle school students and their families benefit from available public programs, including tax credits and health care coverage.

ISS will be managed by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Chicago and implemented at each school through partnerships between community based organizations and local Chicago Public Schools. Chicago is one of up to four sites nationwide, selected to participate in this initiative because of its demonstrated success in both school reform and community redevelopment. Each school was chosen because of its partnership with New Communities Program (NCP) lead agency.

NCP works to support comprehensive community development in 16 of Chicago’s neighborhoods, and is a long-term initiative of LISC/Chicago, which has engaged in a year-long process to plan for this comprehensive school/community reform effort, managed by NCP lead agencies at the neighborhood level.

The five schools are Ames Middle School in Logan Square, which will partner with Logan Square Neighborhood Association; Marquette Elementary in Chicago Lawn, which will partner with the Southwest Organizing Project; Orozco Elementary in Pilsen, which will partner with The Resurrection Project; Perspectives-Calumet Middle School in Auburn Gresham, which will partner with Auburn Gresham Development Corporation, and Reavis Elementary in Grand Boulevard and Kenwood, which will partner with Quad Communities Development Corporation.

“Middle schools are a too-often neglected link in the chain of success for children and their families. Atlantic believes that all children, regardless of income or background, deserve access to high-quality after school and other out-of-school programs, adult mentors who care about them, and health care coverage and services,” said Gara LaMarche, President and CEO of The Atlantic Philanthropies.

“By providing these supports to their students in effective and innovative ways, and documenting what works, Chicago schools can lead the way for thousands of public middle schools across the country in ensuring the success of their students.”

With the Chicago Community Trust acting as fiscal agent, the $18 million grant is expected to leverage $15.8 million in new or redirected support from public and private sources.

“It is an honor to be involved in ISS,” said Arne Duncan, CEO of Chicago Public Schools.

“We are looking forward to working closely with LISC/Chicago and the many community organizations that are working together to make this happen.”

Research indicates that each of the three key components of this program (extended day and learning, and health and social supports) can play a pivotal role in the lives of children. The ISS approach of providing all of these services in a coordinated manner in specific locations seeks to achieve results that are far greater than those that can be achieved by any one of the approaches on its own.

“ISS has already made a difference for us,” said Coralia Barraza Principal of Orozco Community Academy. “The goal is educating all children, building citizens, building their capacity to navigate in the world; we had students, parents, community leaders, and faculty fully engaged in the planning process.”

Each school will not only work with their designated NCP lead agency, but also with local community based health center and neighborhood based Center for Working Families that provide employment services, financial counseling and benefits access to implement this pioneering initiative. These partnerships are designed to support the social, emotional, and academic needs of children at a critical juncture in their lives.

“This grant represents a major investment by a major philanthropic organization in the future of Chicago schools, our children and their communities,” said Andrew Mooney, Executive Director of LISC/Chicago. “This program will bring communities and schools together in an innovative and exciting way.”

The ISS Chicago Committee, formed to guide and support ISS., is chaired by Julia Stasch of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Members of the Committee include civic leaders representing Chicago Public Schools, the Polk Bros. Foundation, Michael Reese Health Trust, the City’s Department of Children and Youth Services, Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago, the Federation for Community Schools, JPMorgan Chase, The Chicago Community Trust and the Chicago Department of Health. Both Polk Bros. Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation made early grants to ISS to support the planning for the initiative.

The Atlantic Philanthropies are dedicated to bringing about lasting changes in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. Atlantic makes grants through its four programme areas – Ageing, Children & Youth, Population Health, and Reconciliation & Human Rights – and through Founding Chairman grants. Programmes funded by Atlantic operate in Australia, Bermuda, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United States and Viet Nam. To learn more, please visit:

LISC/Chicago organizes capital and other resources to support initiatives that will stimulate the comprehensive development of healthy, stable neighborhoods and foster their connection to the socioeconomic mainstream of the metropolitan region. Since 1980, LISC/Chicago has infused more than $160 million into housing and economic development, leveraging an additional $4.3 billion in total community investment. The results are quantifiable: nearly 27,000 units of affordable housing and 4.6 million square feet of commercial space have been developed. LISC/Chicago’s proven strategies and innovative market-oriented approach to community development make it the preferred intermediary for investors who are committed to Chicago and its neighborhoods.

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Gara LaMarche, Integrated Services in Schools, ISS