Chicago Public Library (CPL), the Chicago Public Library Foundation (CPLF) and the Mayor’s Office of New Americans (ONA) are pleased to announce the selection of eight immigrant-serving non-profit organizations to provide services to Chicagoans in various stages of the naturalization process through the Chicago Cities for Citizenship (Chicago C4C) initiative. Chicago Cities for Citizenship is funded through a $250,000 grant to the Chicago Public Library Foundation from Citi Community Development. The grant supports eight community based organizations which will help Chicagoans achieve citizenship by providing education, outreach and direct assistance to immigrants at ten Chicago Public Library branches, as well as financial education.
The following non-profits will provide services at CPL branches through the Chicago C4C initiative, starting in June:
- Centro Romero
- Chinese American Service League
- Chinese Mutual Aid Association
- Erie Neighborhood House
- Southwest Organizing Project
- The Resurrection Project
- United African Organization
- World Relief Chicago
This group of qualified non-profit organizations was chosen through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process, which was open to all non-profits that currently provide naturalization workshops and financial literacy to immigrant communities. The non-profits will work closely with the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office of New Americans (ONA) and CPL staff to host monthly naturalization workshops at ten CPL Citizenship Corners. Workshops will directly assist immigrants in Chicago to become naturalized citizens through outreach, education, as well as legal screening and application processing. Some of these organizations will also provide applicants with financial literacy education and links to other resources with a primary focus on banking, credit, and consumer protection.
“Immigrants make significant contributions to our communities every day, and investing in immigrant integration provides new economic growth, not just for immigrants and their families, but also for the city as a whole,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “We are proud of the important work of these organizations that will continue to assist Chicagoans in navigating the naturalization process.”
Beginning in June, programs and workshops will take place in the following CPL branches:
- Albany Park, 3401 W. Foster Avenue
- Back of the Yards, 2111 West 47th Street
- Chinatown, 2353 South Wentworth Avenue
- Little Village, 2311 South Kedzie Avenue
- Lozano, 1805 S. Loomis Street
- Northtown, 6435 North California Avenue
- Sulzer Regional, 4455 North Lincoln Avenue
- Vodak-East Side, 3710 East 106th Street
- West Lawn, 4020 West 63rd Street
- Woodson Regional, 9525 S. Halsted Street
"We pride ourselves on being an anchor in Chicago communities, and our Citizenship Corners are a trusted resource," said Commissioner Brian Bannon. "Partnering with these eight organizations will allow us to deliver the highest-quality services to those seeking citizenship and naturalization information."
The Chicago C4C program was created after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Center for Popular Democracy and the National Partnership for New Americans jointly launched Cities for Citizenship – a national initiative aimed at increasing citizenship among eligible permanent U.S. residents. With support from Citi Community Development, the C4C initiative will provide services to Chicagoans in various stages of the naturalization process and assist them in achieving citizenship.
Through the Chicago New Americans Initiative, a partnership between the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the City has pledged to assist about one-third of its legal permanent residents to become naturalized, U.S. citizens.
"We look forward to continuing our partnership with the City of Chicago to inform and serve our communities regarding U.S. citizenship," said Lawrence Benito, CEO of the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights. “Our partnership will become increasingly important given state budget constraints, and consequently the impact on immigrant serving organizations."
Since the creation of the ONA, the City has strengthened its support for immigrant communities. The ONA has recently coordinated efforts with local partners across various sectors to ensure that as many Chicago residents as possible take advantage of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, opened up nearly 23,000 internship and job opportunities for DREAMers, and held numerous business expos through the New Americans Small Business Series to foster small business growth in immigrant communities.
Our ability to introduce leading-edge programs and innovative ideas is made possible by private-funding support from the Chicago Public Library Foundation and other corporate and nonprofit partners. The Chicago Public Library Foundation was founded in 1986 as a true public/private partnership with the City of Chicago to ensure the margin of excellence for Chicago’s outstanding Library. Through the support of many civic-minded individuals, corporations and foundations, the Foundation provides on-going funding for collections and a variety of other community-responsive programs, including the Summer Learning Challenge, Teacher in the Library, CyberNavigators, YOUmedia and One Book, One Chicago. In the past 29 years, the Foundation has provided $60 million in support to the Chicago Public Library. For more information, visit cplfoundation.org or call (312) 201-9830.