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CU a finalist in $90 million Racial Equity 2020 Challenge

Thinkinc. congratulates Communities United on being the only Chicago finalist in the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s $90 million Racial Equity 2030 Challenge! The news was covered by the Chicago Tribune, Fox-32 Chicago and WBBM Newsradio.

Communities United — a client of Thinkinc. —  works with youth leaders to cultivate youth-led strategies on community healing. A big focus is on youth leadership to create new ways for institutions to respond to mental health issues.

To scale up their 10-year roadmap, Communities United — in partnership with Lurie’s Children’s Hospital of Chicago — is receiving a $1 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Racial Equity 2030 Challenge to scale up their 10-year roadmap.

The challenge is awarding a total of $90 million to help build and scale actionable ideas for transformative change in the systems and institutions that uphold racial inequities.

“It’s still in the design phases,” said Laqueanda Reneau, a community organizer at Communities United for the past four years, in a Chicago Tribune interview. “I’m seeing our people coming into these spaces and into their schools with the pressures of the whole community, not just as that one young person that just needs to sit down and learn and understand how to do this mathematic problem. We have already been approaching our young people through that lens. Through this project, the goal is for us to be able to reach even more young people. Our young people know about the reasons why our Black and brown communities are at a disadvantage. And because of that, they want to bring forward the solution.”

The Chicago Tribune also delved into the impact of trauma on youth.

“The vast majority of kids who have been traumatized survive and recover, but they don’t always use their traumatic experience or their lived experience to do something transcendent — that is to grow post-trauma,” said Dr. John Walkup, chair of the Pritzker Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Lurie Children’s Hospital and professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“If you look at human beings in general that’s how we’re all built,” he said. “We have bad times, we come through those bad times, we never forget those bad times, and hopefully we learn enough from those that we can do something better in this world because of our bad times. (Communities United and Lurie) began to put together this idea: If you’ve been traumatized in your community, but you get mentorship and support, and you come together to do something to heal your communities, that you will heal yourself in the process. … Healing your community breaks the cycle.”