Crown Family Helps Reduce Poverty through Inspiration Corporation

With a focus on education, poverty, and health, the Crown Family Philanthropies gave over $100,000 to Inspiration Corporation. This donation is part of a series of annual gifts that Crown makes to the growing nonprofit, which provides meals, support services, housing, employment, and vocational training to over 3,000 needy Chicago residents each year. (See Crown Family Philanthropies: Chicago Grants).

Crown Family Philanthropies devotes a good portion of its annual budget to creating safe and affordable communities for low-income Chicagoans. The Inspiration Corporation grants are part of Crown's Human Services/Stability Program, which aim to lift people above the poverty level with dignity.

Inspiration Corporation was founded in 1989 with little more than a red wagon filled with coffee and sandwiches. As founder Lisa Nigro's wagon gained media attention, she progressed to a kitchen in a van and finally a storefront restaurant for the homeless. Not only does Inspiration Corporation provide meals, it helps the homeless reenter the workforce through 60-hour, four-week courses that build self-esteem, communication, financial management, networking, and interviewing skills. As if that wasn't enough, Inspiration Corporation also provides permanent supportive housing in over 150 scattered units and in an eight-unit apartment building suitable for families.

If your nonprofit is trying to reduce and prevent poverty-related issues in the city of Chicago, the Crown Family Philanthropies should be at the top of your grant wish list. Letters of Intent should be emailed to the Human Service Program Officer through the Crown website with supporting documentation. (Read Crown Philanthropies executive director, Caren Yanis' IP profile).

When asked how the foundation keeps up with its giving, Lester Crown stated "For numerous organizations, there's an annual contribution and there's no involvement — we obviously aren't involved in 600 organizations personally. At least the names are recognizable, and what they are doing is recognizable, and it's pretty easy to continue to do it each year."

What’s the moral of the story? If you get in with Crown, like Inspiration Corporation has, you'll likely be set for years to come.