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Reason to Give is a 501c3 nonprofit organization located in the Humboldt Park community of Chicago. Founded in 2007 by Dawn Hancock, owner of Firebelly Design, it was a way for her growing studio to do good in their own backyard. What began as a cool website and the dream of a do-gooder, helping a few local families, has developed into a strong organization reaching hundreds and changing lives. Our supporters have grown too, but many have been loyal from the start.
We’ve always believed that giving should be simple and direct. Reasontogive.com has been an outlet for our families to tell their stories and a way for donors to see the impact their support has. Over the years, we’ve grown our programs to better meet the needs of our community and better serve our population. We’ve taken on several big projects in the community, raising funds and organizing volunteer events for local schools and organizations. When our families told us their hardest times came around the holidays and when they had to go school shopping, we started our annual events. Every August, we provide backpacks full of school supplies to 100 children in our program. Through our holiday events, we provide winter coats, clothing, toys, and help to fulfill our families’ wish lists.
When it wasn’t enough for us to just provide our families with the stuff they needed anymore, we created comprehensive, bilingual resource guides and handed them out to the community. And when our families still asked for more, we started a whole other phase of Reason to Give, providing education.
In 2010, we began an education initiative to provide local families a place to learn real life skills to help them be more successful at home and in their professional lives. We teamed up with local universities, organizations, and businesses who facilitated the workshops. Upon graduation, each student was awarded a laptop to help them continue to reach their goals at home. The success of our education initiative prompted us to transform our organization, putting education at the forefront of what we do.
Our goal is to empower our community members to reach their full potential and become self-sufficient. We offer students 20 weeks of intense classes that help them overcome obstacles in their personal lives, prepare them to be successful in school or the workplace, and educate them on all the opportunities available in their community. Professional and peer mentors guide students through the first half, until the students become mentors themselves. In the end, students walk away with all the tools they need to be successful, including a laptop of course, and a huge network of successful people willing to help them. We may have a new mission, but somethings will never change. Reasontogive.com is still the way for our students to tell their stories and our donors to give directly and see the difference they can make.