Each year, University of Chicago faculty, students and staff work with partners across Chicago to advance educational programs, promote health and provide medical care, develop jobs and economic vitality, conduct community-engaged research, serve the cause of public safety and help build the civic infrastructure local communities need to thrive.
This sustained commitment to the South Side and the city has grown steadily in recent years and touches nearly every corner of the University community. In an effort to shed light on the spectrum of UChicago’s outward-facing programs, initiatives and opportunities, the University created a report that highlights its annual economic and social impact on the city.
Entitled “Our Commitment to Chicago,” the report highlights the University’s long-term contributions in several areas: COVID-19 community response and support, educational programs, medical care and health promotion, urban research, civic infrastructure, public safety, jobs and economic benefits, and direct payments to the city.
The University’s initiatives in the report include:
- More than $235 million in University spending on goods and services directed to South Side companies over the past 10 years, and more than $567 million in UChicago Medicine benefits and services for the South Side community in fiscal year 2020;
- Extensive support for South Side communities and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, including more than $840,000 in grants to small businesses, donating more than 300,000 free meals for South Side residents, and providing COVID-19 vaccines to more than 64,000 people;
- Assisting thousands of Chicago Public Schools students through free educational programs, including targeted help for low-income and first-generation students;
- Developing future leaders in nonprofits and local government agencies across Chicago; and
- Collaborating on evidence-based solutions to reduce violence and evaluating community-led violence prevention programs.
By sharing the document with South Side neighbors, civic leaders and members of the campus community, University leaders hope to generate new avenues for people to participate directly and deepen the institution’s positive impact on our shared community.
“What we have seen again and again is that when our neighbors on the South Side are aware of what we’re doing, when they’re connected to our programs, the relationship between the institution and the broader community grows stronger,” said Derek R.B. Douglas, UChicago’s vice president for civic engagement and external affairs. “Continuing to strengthen those relationships is vital for addressing our shared community’s challenges and seizing opportunities to further scale our positive impact. Getting the word out about the breadth and depth of our civic engagement on the South Side and across the city of Chicago is an important step in that effort.”