The Chicago Urban League is an affiliate of the National Urban League, the nation's oldest and largest community-based movement devoted to empowering African Americans to enter the economic and social mainstream. Founded in 1916, the Chicago Urban League initially helped rural African Americans migrating from the south adjust to northern, urban living. Today, as one of the major civil rights organizations in Chicago, and one of the 96 affiliates of the National Urban League, the Chicago Urban League is committed to support and advocate for economic, educational, and social equality for African Americans.
Throughout our 96 years of service, African Americans have made tremendous gains in the journey towards equality and empowerment. However, current trends show that there remains much more work to be done. In 2012, with the input of its board, staff, and key stakeholders, the Chicago Urban League launched a strategic plan that identified three critical areas to focus its programs and services: educational equality, economic development and social justice. Under the leadership of the President and Chief Executive Officer Andrea L. Zopp, the Chicago Urban League continues to be a leader on issues impacting African Americans and a major resource for African American empowerment through advocacy, collaborations and innovation.
Our work reaches into the heart of the community and touches thousands of students, job seekers, entrepreneurs, homeowners, and families. Programming areas include: Education, Human Capital, Workforce Development, Entrepreneurship, and Housing.
Education: Our Education Department offers comprehensive programs that give students from middle school through college the skills and confidence necessary to compete academically while exposing them to various careers, social and cultural opportunities.
Human Capital: In our Human Capital Development department we provide life coaching, personal and employment counseling, academic assistance and mentoring to over 400 predominantly male clients. Through the Urban Youth Connection (UYC), we serve 70 - 100 male students from Chicago Public Schools who are at high risk of being perpetrators of or victims of violence.
Employment: In our employment program we provide general work readiness training through our Success Strategies workshops that include resume writing, interviewing, computer training and other basic skills training. Entrepreneurship Our Entrepreneurship Center serves over 1,000 clients annually and provides strategic business consulting, intensive training programs and business development support to emerging and established African American entrepreneurs.
Housing: Our Housing Counseling Department is a HUD-certified counseling agency and a City of Chicago Department of Housing Delegate Agency. We provide low-to moderate-income residents with professional housing counseling assistance through our programs and services.
The Chicago Urban League's N.U.L.I.T.E.S. (National Urban League Incentives To Excel and Succeed) program provides middle school students with the skills & confidence necessary to compete academically while exposing them to various careers, social and cultural opportunities. The program currently serves 125 sixth through eighth grade students from the Deneen School of Excellence, Elihu Yale Elementary and Benjamin E. Mays Academy. NULITES is broken into four modules: high school preparation, financial literacy, STEM and health and wellness. The Chicago Urban League's Project Ready program provides academic preparation for college along with life skills development, personal, global & cultural awareness to 50 ninth through eleventh grade students from high schools all over the City of Chicago.