President Preckwinkle Announces $200,000 Grant Supporting Lawrence Hall

Cook County Justice Advisory Council grant funds programming aimed at reducing recidivism among youth in Chicago’s Southeast Side.

(COOK COUNTY, IL) — Today, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle joined Commissioners Bill Lowry and Stanley Moore, IL Senator Robert Peters and representatives from Lawrence Hall to announce a $200,000 grant through Cook County’s Justice Advisory Council (JAC) to support Lawrence Hall’s Recidivism Reduction work in Chicago’s Southeast side. 

The grant is a part of Cook County’s recent $1.5 million investment in community-based organizations addressing the root causes of violence in underserved communities in the county. 

“We know that the solution to community violence does not lie with police, or courts or jails. It lies in investing in our people and communities that need it most,” said President Preckwinkle. “Programs like Lawrence Hall’s Recidivism Reduction Program provide real solutions to those impacted by disinvestment and help break the cycles of violence and imprisonment that damage our communities.”

Lawrence Hall, a social service organization formed in 1865, has been working with youth and families in the South Shore neighborhood since 2015. The funding provided by the JAC directly supports young people ages 14-24 who have previous or current involvement with the criminal justice system. 

“By partnering with the Justice Advisory Council, we can help strengthen the communities our kids and families live in,” said Sean McGinnis, Chief Program Officer at Lawrence Hall. “Our new recidivism reduction program makes our streets safer and shows those with justice involvement a future they never before dreamed for themselves.”

Lawrence Hall takes a holistic approach to helping young people recognize and avoid high risk behaviors that lead to repeated incarceration. Program participants receive one-on-one case management, educational and employment support, as well as clinical services including individual and group therapy.

“We cannot talk about our pain or goals when we fear for our life,” said Program Case Manager, Aaron Brown. “I want to get kids from the neighborhood to a place where they can feel safe, where they do not have to be tough but can be vulnerable and honest. Only then can we help them chart a more positive path in life.”

"We know that the violence plaguing our neighborhoods is a symptom of a much larger problem: a profound lack of community resources, which leaves few viable options for our youth to thrive," said Cook County Commissioner Bill Lowry - 3rd District. "Organizations like Lawrence Hall are vital solutions to this problem, and I commend them for their work to reduce recidivism and reintegrate our neighbors back into society."

The $1.5 million in grants awarded to community organizations this summer is a starting point in a targeted investment strategy from Cook County. The Cook County Equity Fund and other investments will bring an additional $120 million dollars to the county over the next two years to build wealth and provide opportunities in communities most impacted by disinvestment and the criminal justice system. The overarching goal is to build stable and thriving communities throughout Cook County.

The funding is being stewarded by the Equity Fund Taskforce, a diverse 50 member group of stakeholders from local government agencies, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions. The group is charged with reimagining how we think about public safety in Cook County.


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