Our CEDA Family is laser-focused on ending poverty in Chicagoland and building thriving communities together.

CEDA has provided basic needs for our neighbors for over 50 years – needs such as keeping their electric, gas, and water utilities on, supporting moms and babies, maintaining or finding homes, and working hand-in-hand to stabilize lives. But it goes without saying that communities in need are facing more obstacles than ever to mobilize out of poverty.  


A few examples of the dire need we are seeing right here in Cook County include: 

  • Fifteen percent – or seven hundred and fifty thousand people – living in poverty  
  • Four hundred and eighty thousand individuals are unemployed… We know forty-seven percent of adults across the Chicago region have experienced unemployment since March 2020 – including 65% of Latinx and 54% of Black adults 

And, unfortunately, women of color have been the hardest hit. They’ve experienced the most severe economic fallout and very sluggish recovery. 

11.8% of women in Cook County lost their jobs, with employment statistics for women of color being more severe than any other group. Women of color are over-represented in some of the industries experiencing the biggest job losses, like childcare, hospitality, and foodservice.  

As the heart of communities, it is imperative that women have the opportunity to thrive. CEDA looks to empower women of color and will be launching initiatives to this end later this year.  

High school students sitting together in a straight line.


In addition to focusing on women of color, we need to invest in our youthWe have to do all we can to stop the impact of the pandemic and education loss in Black and Brown Communities – impacts like:  

  • The average student could lose between $61,000 and $82,000 in lifetime earnings – or the equivalent of a year of full-time work – solely because of COVID-19 related learning losses. For disenfranchised and disadvantaged families and communities, that’s an impossible barrier in mobilizing out of poverty 
  • And what does that look like for our community at large?  $51 billion are estimated to be lost across the current K-12 students in Cook County 

We’re preparing our next big move – welcoming students from Thornton Township High School District 205 to our new “Green Generation Workforce Development Initiative. 

This initiative aims to help Chicagoland young adults build skillsets and knowledge that can grow from one generation of workers to the next. As industries turn to green building and technology, this approach will ensure our communities are ready with the skills they need to join the evolving workforce.  

The curriculum is aligned to professional certification requirements and provides students the opportunity to earn up to six credits to become home performance professionals over three years. Our initiative also provides paid summer internship placement, work opportunities with local firms, in-school electives or study hall replacements, and mentorship opportunities with seasoned industry professionals. 

We have great hopes for the “Green Generation Workforce Initiative. The partnerships built between CEDA, the Urban Efficiency Group, and the University of Illinois will enable students to look out at a horizon filled with opportunities and navigate personal and professional obstacles in today’s challenging society.  

Our vision of the future is just the start of the dynamic, fresh programming CEDA is bringing to Chicagoland. But none of it would not be possible without YOU. Your support and partnership are absolutely critical to Rebuilding Together. Stronger. and ending poverty for all of our neighbors.  

Join us and raise a glass to 55 years of ending poverty. Aged to Perfection: A Virtual Wine Tasting is June 10, 2021, and we’d love to see you there! RSVP 

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