Let’s go back to the reason I started this donation project. When people refer to all the issues that Chicago has, one question that is consistently asked is “What are Chicagoans doing to fix their own city?”. People assume that because of the continuous violence and negative undertones, that people in Chicago are not trying to fix these problems. The truth of the matter is that there are a lot of people working very hard to make the city a better and safer place.  My next donation is to Breakthrough Urban Ministries. I chose this organization because they fit into the category of an organization that is working hard to restore Chicago back to a great city.  Breakthrough was founded in 1992, and for the past 25 years has gone above and beyond to break the cycle of poverty and violence in Chicago’s East Garfield Park. They have the Breakthrough Men’s and Women’s Center, where they provide services for the homeless including: food and shelter, access to laundry/showers, as well as employment training and housing search assistance. They also have the Breakthrough Fresh Market, a food pantry that provides groceries and supplies to families. And in 2015 they opened the Breakthrough Familyplex that offers academic and athletic programs to the youth of East Garfield Park. In every sense this organization has proven they will walk the walk. So this month if you have some extra cash please donate to this amazing organization helping to uplift the awesome city of Chicago.


Basketball has always been a major part of my life. When I was younger, it kept me out of trouble. A lot of decisions I made were based on whether or not it would affect me playing ball. It also kept me focused on school because if I had poor grades, I wouldn’t be able to play. Basketball has done a few great things: it has taught me about leadership, and how to become the best player I could ever be and with integrity. The game has also taught me how to think for myself, and most importantly, it has helped me to become the best woman I could have ever imagined.  Keeping integrity at the top of my game, my next donation is, girls in the game.  
girls in the game is a non profit based in Chicago and was founded in 1995. Their mission is to promote sports and health education while also focusing on developing leadership qualities for young girls. girls in the game has after school programs that meets once a week.  “Game days” includes various activities as well as summer sports, and leadership camps. There are programs for elementary, middle, and high school. I am happy to support girls in the game because they are providing an opportunity for young girls to stay active, and also teaching them values they can have for a lifetime.
Please donate to this awesome organization that’s improving Chicago one girl at a time!

I recently watched a movie on Netflix called “Imperial Dreams”.  The movie was about a young man in Los Angeles that returns home from prison and tries to start a new life. This story was an excellent depiction for the many ways our current prison system is broken and how people can get stuck in a life of poverty and crime, even when they make a concerted effort to turn their life around.

When people talk about the sociological issues in Chicago, often times it is not taken into consideration that people get stuck in tough and unfortunate situations. When the school systems and public housing  are not up to par and people from inner cities have trouble getting sufficient jobs, they can fall into gangs and crime as a way to make ends meet. Once children are raised in that environment, sometimes they have no other choice but to live the lifestyle that surrounds them. What happens when people are caught in that lifestyle? What happens when they are released from prison? They want a chance to do the right thing, but can’t get a job. As of 2015, in the state of Illinois, over 45% of offenders released from prison each year will have returned back to prison, three years later. 

SAFER FOUNDATION is a non-profit organization that has programs and services exclusively for people with criminal records. The foundation helps them with finding jobs, housing, and relationship building along with other services. In a 2011 study by Safer Foundations, the recidivism rate for Safer Foundation clients who achieve employment was 24.3 percent. That is a significant difference from the state rate of 45%.  They are giving Chicagoan's an opportunity to start over and break the cycle.  Learn more about Safer Foundation and to donate, click here.

ALLIES OF INNOCENCE is an initiative that offers free grief and trauma counseling to survivors of Chicago gun violence.

Gun violence is an issue that has plagued Chicago for years. Whenever there is a shooting that results in a death, there is a cycle. The news picks up the story and the community feels sadness, anger, and frustration. In some cases, there may even be protests, but within a couple weeks the outrage dies down and people move on with their lives or focus on another more recent victim. This leaves the families that are affected by gun violence to cope with the loss on their own.  Allies of Innocence, the second group I decided to donate to, pledges to help these families affected by gun violence even after the rest of the city has forgotten about them. 

Allies of Innocence is made up of five components: Burrell Communications Group whose co-CEO, Fay Ferguson, came up with the idea for the initiative; Perspectives Ltd, a private business that helps recruit mental health professionals to offer individual, couple, family, and group counseling services; The Faith Community of St. Sabina whose senior pastor, Rev. Michael Pfleger, contributes to the initiative; and Purpose Over Pain, a 10-year-old advocacy group of parents who have lost children to Chicago’s gun violence, that helps connect families to the intiative; and Winston & Strawn LLP, a Chicago based law firm. Being someone whose family has been personally affected by gun violence. I understand that the grief can feel as if it never ends. It can be very difficult escape the fog that covers your life once you lose a loved one, which is why this initiative is so important. Allies of Innocence was founded just last year and they need our help, so please donate to this amazing initiative and help make Chicago a better place. 

To read more about Allies for Innocence you can visit Dallas Weekly, Chicago Sun Times, or WGN Radio. To donate, click here.


THE BLACK STAR PROJECT is a non-profit organization founded in 1996. Their objective is to provide educational programs to disadvantaged black communities with the intention of closing the racial academic achievement gap.

They provide different programs including private tutoring, mentoring, math boot camp, and a few others. There were a few aspects of this organization that caused it to stand out from the rest. For one, not only do they target the students, but they also have parent programs. These programs help parents get more involved with their child’s education, and also provide courses educating parents on a variety of topics from budgeting in the household to helping single mothers raise boys to men. Parents participation in their child’s learning process is a key aspect that often is overlooked. What sealed the deal to make this the first organization I donated to was the founder, Phillip Jackson. Mr. Jackson has worked in the Chicago Office of Management and Budget, was CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago, Chief of Staff of Chicago Public Schools and CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority just to name a few. He has had high ranking titles in so many areas of Chicago’s education system and community and truly understands how the city operates. The Black Star Project portrays all key qualities of an organization that makes a serious impact on the community, and that is why I chose them as the first recipient of Devereaux’s Donates. Read more about Black Star Project, and to donate, click here.