A NOTE PRESIDENT
I have been worrying about our “Eleanor women” – the work-
ing women we seek to help through our grants. These are
challenging economic times. Many of our women are unsettled
and nervous, as are we all. They fear for the security of their
jobs, their homes, or the impact of one bad, unforeseen event.
Many have seen their hours at work cut back.
Imagine going without food so your children remain well-fed.
We’ve been hearing about women for whom “making ends
meet” means skipping meals for their children’s sake. We have
heard about how young mothers are diluting their infants’ for-
mula to make it go further. We’re being told that pregnant
women are foregoing meals, risking harm to themselves and
the Eleanor Foundation
their unborn children. This is the bad news.
The good news is that many of our women see today’s troubling
times as the time to invest in a better future and recognize that edu-
cation is the key to lasting economic advancement. Those who can
Women like Kamilyn know that times are especially tough
are seizing the opportunity to go back to school or get training that
today. But they are determined to get ahead. What’s more, the
will better position them in the marketplace. Women constitute a
numbers of such women are growing. Our upcoming national
majority of enrollments – 70% – at the City Colleges of Chicago,
research report – see page 2 – reveals a startling demographic
where enrollments rise during times of economic strife.
shift that demands our attention. In February, the New York
Times reported that “women are poised to surpass men on the
This issue features the inspiring story of Kamilyn Baskerville,
Vol. 3, No. 1 February/March 2009
nation’s payrolls...for the first time in American history.”
who is being assisted through our grant with The Cara Program.
Having settled into a new apartment and a better paying job, she
As a result of dramatically greater job losses by men (82% of
is pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in business with scholarship
job losses experienced this recession), women are in record
assistance offered through one of our partnerships. Kamilyn
numbers being thrust into the unenviable role of serving as both
received straight As in her first semester, while holding a full-time
primary breadwinner and caregiver for their families. That so
job and raising three children who also are thriving in school.
many women in the Eleanor Foundation’s target population
(over 80%) lack access to services and programs convinces me
In this recession, record more than ever of the urgency of our work and the value of our
numbers of women are being
The Eleanor Foundation continues to build a citywide network
thrust into the unenviable role of services to advance working women and single working
mothers. The third round of our three-year Self-Sufficiency
of both primary breadwinner Initiative grants brings programs to women on the city’s South
and West sides, expanding our ability to readily serve any work-
and caregiver for their families. ing woman and open doors to lasting economic security. My
thanks again to all of our partners and supporters who help
make this goal a reality.
I am in awe of Kamilyn’s resolve and her stamina. Success is
within reach for her and her children, who are flourishing in the
Rosanna A. Márquez
programs we created with Cara and our other partners, thanks to
AN ELEANOR WOMAN: KAMILYN BASKERVILLE
A Rough Road Home
2006 was a rough year for Kamilyn Baskerville. Kamilyn broke according to LISC Chicago, 97% of local elementary school
off plans to marry, had a death in her family, and decided that students are low income and nearly a third of the neighborhood
she and her children had to leave the lives they loved in residents live below the poverty line.
Tennessee. With her Army background, a range of skills, and
4.0 grade average, Kamilyn thought she would easily find a job A Place to Go. A Program to Rely On.
and a home for her family back home in Chicago. With no job prospects in sight, Kamilyn needed some guidance.
quot;I could have let depression get me down, but I didn't,quot; recalls
It didn’t work out that way. “When I got out of school, I could- Kamilyn. quot;If you don't give up on yourself, you can find the
n’t get a job,” recalls Kamilyn. “I didn’t know why. I went on a resources you need.”
lot of interviews, but no one would hire me.”
So Kamilyn asked for help. A Catholic Charities casework-
Kamilyn and her three young children soon found themselves in er told her about The Cara Program, a local nonprofit
a homeless shelter in Chicago’s Humboldt Park—where, respected for its comprehensive approach to transitioning
(continued on p.2)
NATIONAL RESEARCH REPORT TO SPOTLIGHT WORKING SINGLE MOTHERS
This spring, the Eleanor Foundation will convene a landmark presentation
and discussion of The Future Rests on Single Working Moms. The The Future Rests on Single Working Moms will detail women’s
Foundation commissioned the national research project to investigate the economic status in the 10 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, accord-
market of opportunity that working women represent in revitalizing com- ing to U.S. Census 2000 data:
munities and families.
• New York • Philadelphia
Spearheaded by Gary Orfield, Director of the Civil Rights Project former- • Los Angeles • Boston
ly at Harvard University and now located at UCLA, the project will offer • Chicago • Detroit
a detailed demographic analysis of the growing population of working • Washington, DC • Dallas
single mothers. A nationally renowned scholar, Dr. Orfield’s report at the • San Francisco • Houston
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago will feature:
For more information, please visit www.eleanorfoundation.org.
• National trends that challenge long-held assumptions about lower-
income working women;
• A comparative analysis of the situation faced by working single
mothers in Chicago and the other nine largest U.S. metropolitan
• Public policy implications for working mothers and their children,
focusing on opportunities for educational and economic advance-
ment for both.
THE ROAD HOME: KAMILYN BASKERVILLE
“The Eleanor Foundation helped
me to get where I am now: (continued from p.1)
working, a better place, living in a the homeless into permanent jobs. It wasn’t long before
better area,” explains Kamilyn Kamilyn found her way to a Cara Program dinner, and connect-
Baskerville, an Eleanor woman ed to the range of services she needed to create a better life for
served by The Cara Program. herself and her kids.
That same year, the Eleanor Foundation launched a new hub of serv-
ices for women through The Cara Program that stretch into multiple
communities. To leverage Cara’s track record of success, the
Foundation committed three years of funding and technical assis-
tance to create new services for lower-income working women: pro-
viding them two years of comprehensive training, permanent job
placement, mentoring and support that many single working mothers
find missing in their lives.
Moving Forward – On The Path to Success
Today, Kamilyn is an example of the success of the Eleanor
Foundation’s investment in women. Employed as a mail investigator
for Pitney Bowes in downtown Chicago, she and her three children—
two daughters aged 16 and 12, and a 10-year-old son—now live in a
four-bedroom apartment on the city’s north side, made available
through a partnership between the Eleanor Foundation and the
Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund.
“The Eleanor Foundation helped me to get where I am now: work-
ing, a better place, living in a better area,” explains Kamilyn. “I’m
even doing better at my job because you know, I was a little stressed,
a little frustrated. It seemed like a whole load on me lifted off.”
Single-mom Kamilyn is working full-time, raising her children, and
working toward a four-year college degree in accounting. She’s also
started writing again—a childhood passion of hers—through a pro-
gram at the Neighborhood Writing Alliance, another Eleanor
Foundation partner. Her schedule is tight, but she wouldn't have it any
“You have to set an example for your kids,” claims Kamilyn. “You're
their Spiderman and their Superman. So if they see you defeated,
they'll think they can't do anything themselves.”
With a mother’s warm smile she adds, “I'm also proud to say my chil-
dren all have perfect grades.”
2 | SpotLight
The Eleanor Foundation’s 2008 grants culminated its three-year Self-
Sufficiency Initiative with $685,950 in new awards, bringing total invest- “By partnering with Eleanor Foundation, we
ments under the Initiative to $3.3 million.
will leverage our experience to help women
This marks a significant increase over its $2 million commitment to launch
access jobs and career paths to the middle
a citywide network of services for working women. “More than ever, these
investments make good sense,” notes Rosanna Márquez, the Foundation’s
class that once were out of reach.”
President. “By funding programs that invest in working women, the
Foundation and its supporters are helping strengthen Chicago communities
and families in a systematic, measurable way.”
Through its signature program, the Foundation now is supporting 12 organ- Jane Addams Resource Corporation (JARC)
A resource grant of $55,950 will launch JARC’s Women in Manufacturing pro-
izations with multi-year grants and advisory services to serve over 1,200
gram to provide working women skills in high-demand manufacturing fields:
low-income families led by Chicago’s working women. The Initiative estab-
computer numerical-control machining, metal fabricating, and quality assurance.
lishes single points of access—or hubs—through which working women can
address any of the four core barriers to sustained economic independence:
“Women have long been interested in our job training program but childcare
employment and education, childcare, credit cleanup, and housing. The
constraints, unstable housing and their schedule demands kept them at bay.
Foundation also makes resource grants to organizations that specialize in a
Meanwhile, there is a shortage of skills in manufacturing in Chicago,”
single area and whose work extends the reach of hub services.
explains Ray Prendergast, JARC Executive Director. “By partnering with
Eleanor Foundation, we will leverage our experience with working families,
manufacturer relationships and supportive learning strategies to help women
“By funding programs that invest in access jobs and career paths to the middle class that once were out of reach.”
working women, the Foundation and its JARC will couple its training with computer literacy, and access to housing
and childcare. Women will also receive financial literacy education, person-
supporters are helping strengthen Chicago al financial coaching and assistance with applications for public benefits
through JARC’s Center for Working Families.
communities and families in a systematic,
Kinzie Industrial Development Corporation (KIDC)
measurable way.” A $200,000 grant over two years will support KIDC’s work to train women
to be Emergency Medical Technicians for placement primarily with Superior
Ambulance Company. EMT career growth potential includes positions with
fire, police and independent rescue squad departments. As a resource
grantee, KIDC will work with its sister organization, the Industrial Council
Given the economic climate, the Eleanor Foundation focused its 2008
of Nearwest Chicago, to offer job placement and small business start-up
investments in programs that move working women into career-path jobs
services to women being served by other Eleanor Foundation grantees who
with livable wages in growing industries—and one program proven to fos-
are interested in other careers.
ter stable homeownership. These grants included:
Community Economic Development Law Project (CEDLP)
YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago
An $80,000 grant provides two years of continuing support for CEDLP’s First
A two-year hub grant of $350,000 will fund the YWCA’s Economic
Time Homeownership program, which provides free legal representation to
Empowerment Institute (“Institute”), helping anchor its location in the Greater
women participating in the Chicago Housing Authority’s Choose to Own pro-
Grand Crossing community and launching its work in the West Garfield neigh-
gram. As a resource grantee, CEDLP helps Eleanor women with “Housing
borhood. The Institute will address all four core needs and serve women com-
Choice” vouchers apply their subsidies to conventional home mortgages and
prehensively, providing them long-term support, career planning, job training
avoid subprime loans. To date, CEDLP has helped 212 women successfully
and asset building. The Institute also offers computer literacy, anti-racism and
buy their first homes. Not one of these homes has been foreclosed on.
community leadership training, and sexual violence support.
ELEANOR FOUNDATION BOARD ELECTS NEW LEADERSHIP TEAM
We are pleased to announce a new slate of officers has been elected for the Scott Swanson Nick Brunick
Foundation’s Board of Directors. Scott Swanson, President of Charter One Chairman Vice-Chair
Bank Illinois, who has served on the Board since 2003, is now Chairman. He
is joined by Vice-Chair Nick Brunick, an attorney at Applegate and Thorne-
Thomsen, P.C.; Secretary Courtney Cavatoni, Managing Director, JP
Morgan Private Bank; and Treasurer Scott Pickens, a partner at Schiff
Hardin LLP and Chair of its Finance Group.
Steve King, Principal and Co-Founder of Prairie Capital and immediate past
Chair, will continue to serve on the Foundation’s Board of Directors and
Executive Committee. We thank Steve for his stellar service as Board
Chairman for the past two years.
News from the Eleanor Foundation | 3
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A NOTE PRESIDENT
The Eleanor Foundation will put more spotlights on its partners,
working women and others who are passionate about women’s eco- MEET KAMILYN BASKERVILLE: AN ELEANOR WOMAN
nomic security. And we’re going green—emailing new issues of
Spotlight this summer and fall. Stay in the loop. Sign up for our ELEANOR'S NATIONAL RESEARCH SPOTLIGHTS
eUpdates at www.eleanorfoundation.org. WORKING SINGLE MOTHERS
FOUNDATION BOARD ELECTS NEW LEADERSHIP TEAM
Since 1898, the Eleanor Foundation has supported low-income working women in Chicago in their efforts to achieve economic self-sufficiency.
Today, we provide financial assistance to organizations that offer innovative programs to help this underserved and vital group of women.
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Chicago, IL 60654