At First U, we give away our offering twice a month to agencies in the community who are working for the greater good. We select four recipient organizations who receive roughly six offerings each. Members nominate eligible organizations, and the congregation votes to select four recipients at our Annual Meeting in May. This year, we received four eligible nominations, and all four will be recipients of our Give Away the Basket program for the 2018-2019 church year.
Families and Prisoners United
Families and Prisoners United (FPU) is an organization built on bringing together families and prisoners who share common emotional, psychological, and financial dilemmas as a direct or indirect result of broken penal system. FPU is focused on rebuilding broken family bonds, restoring rehabilitated individuals to society, and refining the rehabilitated individual and making them into constructive components and members of society while preventing recidivism.
The Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America
The Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN) builds partnerships among social movements and organized communities within and between the U.S. and Latin America. In CRLN’s words: “We work together through popular education, grassroots organizing, public policy advocacy, and direct action to dismantle U.S. militarism, neoliberal economic and immigration policy, and other forms of state and institutional violence. We are united by our liberating faiths and inspired by the power of people to organize and to find allies to work for sustainable economies, just relationships and human dignity.”
Hyde Park Transitional Housing Project
Founded in 2002, the Hyde Park Transitional Housing Project (HPTHP) provides housing and a stable, supportive environment for up to two years for homeless families in Chicago’s Hyde Park and Kenwood neighborhoods who are working on improving or developing the skills necessary to live independently.
Southsiders Organizing for Unity and Liberation
Southsiders Organizing for Unity and Liberation (SOUL) believe that their faith calls us to the fight for justice for all, especially those who have historically been marginalized and oppressed. In their words: “Our mission is to assist low-income people of color in the Chicago Southland to build power, then subsequently leverage that power to fight for their own interest and liberation. We achieve this mission by partnering with congregations, people of faith and local community groups, training them in disciplined organizing strategies to build leadership, create public policy and foster legislation, engage in direction action, and hold their public officials accountable to the interest of their communities.
“SOUL is working to build a movement to create change. We have keenly listened to the communities that we serve in order to develop a shared vision. We are dedicated to the belief that all people deserve decent and affordable housing, access to healthy, nutritious food in every neighborhood, and a sanitary environment where people will be able to breathe clean air and drink clean water. We are working to create a full-employment economy, so that everyone (despite the color of their skin, their economic demographic, prior criminal history, etc.) has the opportunity to work with access to gainful, sustainable, living-wage employment. We believe that good, quality public education is a right and not a privilege. And we are committed to ensuring that public funds are leveraged fairly, to invest resources in the communities that need them the most and not redistributed to keep local economies beholden to corporate greed.”