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JCUA works to combat poverty, racism and anti-Semitism in partnership with Chicago's diverse communities. In its earliest days, JCUA stood with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to advocate for open housing and school desegregation in Chicago. Today, JCUA works in partnership with groups in Chicago's most disadvantaged communities to help residents achieve solutions to pressing needs. Within communities, JCUA works with organizations that share its commitment to social and economic justice and that have limited access to resources with which to achieve their goals. Some organizations have been the targets of injustices, while others are simply working to improve their neighbourhoods. JCUA helps groups create solutions that meet needs in areas such as affordable housing, living-wage jobs and workers rights, and reform of the criminal justice system.
JCUA has a comprehensive, four-pronged approach to achieving its goals. The Community Ventures Program links philanthropic investment with nonprofit community development corporations to help them build and renovate affordable housing and create jobs and other economic opportunities in Chicago's most disinvested neighborhoods. The Community Initiatives Program provides technical assistance to grassroots organizations, helping them to develop the skills and capacity needed to advocate for their constituents. Through its Public Policy and Advocacy Program, JCUA builds and supports coalitions to advocate for enlightened public policies that address the systemic roots of poverty and racism. JCUA's Outreach and Education Program educates and mobilizes the Jewish community and the general public to impact critical social and economic justice issues.
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