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Local nonprofits win MacArthur awards

Two local nonprofits are among organizations in fifteen countries announced Wednesday as recipients of the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.

The Children and Family Justice Center at Northwestern University and the Southwest Organizing Project will each receive a $750,000 award from the MacArthur Foundation.

The Children and Family Justice Center provides representation for youth in the juvenile justice system and advocates for reforms while teaching future lawyers and policy advocates.

“This award will allow us to expand our advocacy on issues ranging from the extreme sentencing of youth, fitness to stand trial, to the urgent need to assist incarcerated young people transition back into the community,” said Judy Biehl, executive director of the center.

Working in an ethnically diverse community hard-hit by predatory lending, SWOP members knocked on thousands of doors with information on foreclosure relief and helped nearly 500 families keep their homes.  The group is also working to bring vacant properties back on the market.

SWOP also applies community organizing strategies to decrease gun violence, involve parents in schools, and help immigrant families.

“We’re moved, we’re honored, and we’re excited by the MacArthur Foundation’s award,” said Jeff Bartow, SWOP’s executive director.  The group plans to use the funds to acquire permanent quarters to replace its cramped office and to build its technology capacity.

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Category: nonprofits, philanthropy

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