December 3, 2019
by JESSICA SUSS
Chicago is famous for plenty of reasons — it’s home to some of the country’s best pizza, beautiful Lake Michigan, ludicrously sub-zero temperatures … and the list goes on and on. What you might not know about our fair city, though, is that Chicago is a hotbed of charitable activity. In fact, a 2015 study by Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy on behalf of The Chicago Community Trust recognized Chicago as the most philanthropic city in the country. We’ve always sought to connect our readers to carefully vetted nonprofits, first and foremost through our annual Philanthropy Awards, but with a city positively teeming with deserving nonprofits, we simply can’t stop there. This December, as you look for ways to brighten someone else’s holiday season, check out this list of 11 incredible nonprofits that also happen to all be past runners up for Philanthropy Awards. No matter which one you support, you’ll be helping to make a big difference in Chicago and beyond.
Known casually as the ZCenter, the Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center has been helping sexual assault and abuse survivors in northwestern Illinois since 1983. In fact, ZCenter is the only rape crisis center in Lake County and has been serving survivors for 35 years, helping them take back their lives and supporting them as they move from being victims to living as thriving, empowered survivors. In 2018 alone, the organization counseled more than 1,000 clients (including transgender and nonbinary individuals, who are at special risk for sexual assault and violence) and educated more than 13,000 students in Lake County schools about preventing sexual violence. ZCenter also provides advocates in emergency rooms and trains law enforcement in dealing with victims of sexual assault. Volunteers can do everything from manning the 24-hour support hotline to accompanying survivors to court appointments. Survivors can take part in both individual and group counseling in a holistic environment that focuses on guiding clients back to health through gentle compassion.
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