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UCAN, a Chicago-based nonprofit with 515 employees, strives to build strong youth and families through compassionate healing, education and empowerment. It achieves this mission through a comprehensive assortment of programs, including residential treatment, therapeutic day school, violence prevention, support of pregnant and parenting teens, counseling, foster care placement, and vocational training and internships. The programs are offered at fourteen sites in six counties, serving over 12,000 clients annually.



Who Did The Grant Help?

UCAN’s Therapeutic Youth Home in Chicago’s North Lawndale Community provides safe and housing for youth between the ages of 7–18 who have histories of trauma, including abuse and neglect.

What Problem Did the Grant Solve?

UCAN’s is responding to the violence crisis in Chicago by relocating UCAN’s Headquarters and Therapeutic Youth Home to Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood, helping to re-envisioning the way violence, mental health, and trauma prevention services are delivered.  As UCAN’s existing facilities have become functionally obsolete over time, a new campus in the North Lawndale neighborhood is the best way to ensure UCAN’s current and future success.

First Nonprofit Foundation supported mission of UCAN is advanced by this effort as together we:

  • increase UCAN’s youth mentoring, advocacy and violence prevention services
  • consolidate and improve the facilities youth enjoy
  • create affordable and supportive housing and access to quality mental healthcare for youth who have suffered trauma from throughout Chicago
  • most importantly, relocate near the population we serve; moving to North Lawndale allowed us to more effectively serve our target population.  3,500-4,000 youth will be served by staff at UCAN’s new campus, including victims and perpetrators of violence, abuse or neglect; state wards; homeless youth; and teen parents.  Approximately 100 youth annually will live in UCAN’s Therapeutic Youth Home.
What Was The Impact Of The Grant?

First Nonprofit Foundation built strong youth and families through UCAN’s compassionate healing, education and empowerment. Our full continuum of services include extensive community and violence prevention programs, support for pregnant or parenting teens, counseling, foster care placement, vocational training, and internships for promising former wards of the state.

The project promoted the revitalization of a large, vacant area and brought needed employment opportunities to North Lawndale by creating approximately 426 temporary (new and retained) construction jobs onsite during campus development, with a minimum of 50% professional services contracts to minority and women-owned businesses (M/WBEs) during construction.

First Nonprofit Foundation’s impact extends beyond the physical dimensions of our new campus. The First Nonprofit Foundation Training and Collaboration Centers at this campus leverage video and conference technology to achieve measurable organizational efficiencies for our own organizations and for the benefit of partner organizations in North Lawndale and beyond.  This space will also be available for community residents and organizations and will be a signature demonstration of our desire to bring 21st century resources to a markedly underserved part of the city of Chicago.  Over the coming year, we will know how this project has made a difference as we see how, in this physical and virtual venue, Chicago nonprofit leaders will gather, share expertise, and streamline program offerings to children.

Please offer a brief testimonial statement from your organization about your experience with the First Nonprofit Foundation:


“First Nonprofit Foundation shared guidance with UCAN and helped us secure the tools and resources necessary to make a difference in one of Chicago’s most under-resourced neighborhoods.  The impact of this support will be magnified though the opportunities for remote collaboration and more efficient coordination of care for youth who need healing,” said Thomas Vanden Berk, CEO of UCAN.  Vanden Berk continued, “First Nonprofit Foundation is helping us ensure that youth who have suffered trauma can become our future leaders.”