5100 W. Harrison St. Chicago, 60644

Philanthropy Awards: winner

SINCE 1969, BUILD has helped thousands of at-risk youth in Chicago escape gangs and resist violence to become positive leaders in their communities. They support young people facing enormous obstacles and traumas, surrounding them with the care and opportunity they need to succeed. The original street violence interrupters, BUILD still works in street violence intervention and gang detachments, but now also provides after-school programs; academic and college counseling; mental health care and support groups, and enrichment opportunities ranging from art and music to gardening, sports leagues, and podcasting. Potential doesn’t discriminate –and when young people get the support and opportunities they deserve, it turns out they accomplish extraordinary things.

  • 84% of BUILD’s court-involved youth avoided re-arrest, compared to Illinois average of 40%
  • 99% of youth in BUILD’s prevention programs successfully stayed out of gangs
  • 96% of all BUILD youth graduated high school, with 79% going to college

Under COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, the obstacles BUILD youth face have only grown, as they are cut off from the safe spaces and groups at BUILD’s youth center, as well as from their in-person mentors, homework helpers, art teachers, coaches, and therapists. BUILD staff have been working hard to take all that support virtual, staying connected online, on private social networks, on phones, and texts. Each BUILD staffer is a lifeline for so many youth, and as long as Illinois shelters-in-place, donations keep those lifelines intact.

Contact: Adam M. Alonso, CEO

***Make it Better Social Justice Award Winner, 2017***