CHICAGO -- The Cubs and White Sox are joining forces with the Chicago Bears, Blackhawks and Bulls to work on finding solutions to decrease violence in the city by creating the Chicago Sports Alliance.The five pro sports teams announced Wednesday they will donate $1 million in grants to support three
CHICAGO -- The Cubs and White Sox are joining forces with the Chicago Bears, Blackhawks and Bulls to work on finding solutions to decrease violence in the city by creating the Chicago Sports Alliance.
The five pro sports teams announced Wednesday they will donate $1 million in grants to support three programs addressing this issue. The teams intend to continue the Chicago Sports Alliance effort on an annual basis, and decisions regarding programs that will receive future funding will be made as the effort progresses.
"In many neighborhoods, crime and gun violence are major problems," Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said in a statement. "We look forward to working with other Chicago sports teams to invest in proven programs that help to address these issues, and hopefully make our communities safer."
All five teams will continue their individual charitable and community relations efforts, which donate millions in financial and in-kind support annually to organizations and programs and have significant impact on communities across the Chicagoland area.
Through the joint effort, the teams have partnered with the University of Chicago Crime Lab to strengthen their collective capacity to identify programs and make evidence-informed investments to reduce violence. The University of Chicago Crime Lab, which partners with policymakers and practitioners to help cities design and test the most promising ways to reduce crime and improve human lives at scale, drew on its experience to help the teams assess how to target funding in the first year of this effort.
The Chicago Sports Alliance will provide one-time grants to three programs in the city:
• Choose 2 Change (C2C), a high intensity mentoring and trauma therapy program proven to reduce violent behavior among youth in the Greater Englewood community who are at-risk for violence involvement.
• Analyst training by the Crime Lab for the Chicago Police Department's Strategic Decision Support Centers (SDSCs), which are rooms in the city's highest violence police districts in which district leadership and civilian analysts work together to develop localized crime reduction strategies.
• The University of Chicago Crime Lab to support efforts to measure and assess the impact of the teams' initial investments to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable Chicagoans.
Each sports team also will engage with the grant recipients throughout the year by providing in-kind support, as well as tapping into the teams' vast networks of fans and organizational strengths to help bring awareness to the programs.
"Chicago is our home," White Sox and Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said. "This is the greatest city in the world. Collectively, we need to work together to preserve it, and now is the time for us to double our efforts.
"While we understand that as sports teams we don't have all of the answers to solving such complicated issues, we do appreciate the incredible position of leadership that we are fortunate to hold. We have a responsibility to give back to our city and to all of our fans who have given us their hearts and cheers. These teams have brought championships to Chicago, but the great people of this city deserve a champion -- or an alliance of champions -- to stand together against this unacceptable level of community violence."
The partnership is not about the teams but the "power of coming together as Chicagoans to do all we can to try to make a difference," said Bears chairman George H. McCaskey, who said the alliance was Reinsdorf's idea.
"While our teams wear different uniforms and have different names, this city is something we all share," Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz said. "Chicago comes first in all of our names, and we share an unconditional commitment to build strong communities around us and do what we can to help identify solutions to one of the city's toughest and most complicated problems."
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.