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I’ll give you an example. Family and support services supports wonderful organizations that do mentoring around the city. These are phenomenal partners. They do good work. They are full of people who care deeply about the youth who they serve. We will fund an organization who goes and recruits mentors, who will take at risk black and brown boys on field trips, but we will not give a black father $100 to take his own damn kid on a field trip. There’s something wrong with that dynamic. The system over time has become part of the problem.

I’ve got 400 million dollars every year and I’m putting it out there. No-one can match government for the amount of money we can put. So the system can also, because of its resources, become a part of the solution. It was in that spirit, Tuesday August 15, 2017, that the Mayor called and instructed me to investigate FII because as he said, “it was disruptive.” We are super excited to start on this journey with FII here in Chicago. We have no idea where this is going to lead. We know that it will cause us all to change. As we move forward in this work, it won’t be like anything we’ve done before. We’ll be asked to get out of the way of this program so that it can do it’s good work and that’s going to be hard for us.

When you read the book or any of the articles that are out there you’ll hear that FII at various points has fired workers who feel like they need to deliver the solutions to people who participate in the programs.

Stories from our blog

Marisol Tejera: Friends for Life

Marisol describes the FII environment as a place where positive peer accountability happens. “My biggest takeaway was that sisterhood. These are definitely friends for life.” Donations to the UpTogether Fund get in the hands of FII families now, and strengthens long-term community fabric.

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Maresa Lara: Trust and Healing

Maresa is running her cleaning business, raising her kids, and healing from a rocky road. “Being part of FII taught me to trust people again.” FII puts cash in the hands of hard working families. They are helping one another accomplish their goals.

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William Goodwin: Fatherhood

William Goodwin uses his time to invest in his daughter. “As a father you have to take that time to let them know they’re beautiful in whatever way you can.” UpTogether funds have contributed to her education and enrichment.

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Arlyssa Heard: What’s Eating Me

“Sometimes it’s not what you’re eating, it’s what’s eating you.” Wisdom from Arlyssa in #RealDetroit. Families often report they like that the FII environment is reflective. This helps them determine priorities, and take action.

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