“Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart bigger.”

Ben Okri




Dear Friend of Woods Fund Chicago,

It is our pleasure to present Woods Fund Chicago’s 2015-2016 biennial report. We invite you to spend some time getting to know the leaders we have highlighted in this report. We are amplifying their stories because in too many spaces and places and for too long, others have constructed a narrative for them. Their impact speaks volumes about how investments in empowering people can reap exponential returns and demonstrates that community organizing works. Their struggles and achievements bring our mission at the Woods Fund to life.    

We extend our sincere gratitude to Nasir, Lavette, Charles, Grace, Nataki, Reverend Straight, Rosalinda, Jayme, Amina, Jeanette, Manolita, Keana, and Emily for sharing their stories with us. We have deep admiration for their courage and commitment to “being the change they want to see in the world.” 

Join us in saluting them and the countless others they represent.



Amina Dickerson, Chair, Board of Directors

Grace Hou, President


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Our grantees, are catalysts for change. Through their extraordinary work, they are changing the story of Chicago.

2015—2016 Biennial


Nasir Blackwell

Inner City Muslim Action Network

Keana Lindo

Southwest Organizing Project

Charles Jones

First Defense Legal Aid

Lavette Mayes

Chicago Community Bond Fund

Emily Byrds

Jane Addams Senior Caucus

Nataki Rhodes

Restaurant Opportunities Centers–Chicago

Manolita Huber

Communities Untied

Grace Pedao

Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment

Jayme Robinson

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

Rosalinda Martinez

Enlace Chicago

Jeanette Taylor

Kenwood Oakland Community Organization

Amina Henderson

Southwest Organizing Project

Rev. Charles Straight

The People’s Lobby