CF Insights asks a very simple but important question: "What if each community foundation could know what all community foundations collectively know?" This collection features research produced and funded by community foundations, and other resources relevant to the field. Contact us at and visit us at

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News That Matters: An Assessment of Chicago's Information Landscape

July 13, 2011

The Community News Matters project of The Chicago Community Trust conducted surveys and focus groups of the general public, local leaders and low-income residents to assess the level to which critical information needs of democracies are being well-met in the Chicago region and to identify critical information gaps and deficiencies in Chicago's information landscape that may need to be addressed.

Life After Prison: Tracking the Experiences of Male Prisoners Returning to Chicago, Cleveland, and Houston

May 15, 2010

Examines the reentry experiences of 652 men in the three cities, including housing stability, family relationships, substance use, employment, and recidivism. Analyzes outcome predictors such as prison programs, job training, and family structure.

Beyond Payday Loans: Consumer Installment Lending in Illinois

March 19, 2009

This report analyzes detailed, loan level data and describes the terms and conditions, borrower demographics, and default characteristics of loans made by consumer installment lenders in Illinois.

The Chicago Region's Foreclosure Problem Continued to Grow in 2008

January 28, 2009

This report summarizes key foreclosure trends in the Chicago region for 2008 and updates Woodstock Institute reports and fact sheets released previously that illustrated key aspects of the foreclosure crisis such as the spread of the crisis to suburban communities, the potential impact of the foreclosures on Chicago's affordable rental housing market, and the growing number of foreclosures that were becoming bank-owned properties and likely sitting vacant. The report includes detailed appendices with data for City of Chicago community areas and municipalities in the Chicago Six County Area.

Foreclosure Fallout: An Analysis of Foreclosure Auctions in the Chicago Region

August 20, 2008

This report examines the results of foreclosure auctions in the Chicago region held between 2005 and first half 2008 for regional municipalities, Chicago community areas and Chicago wards. The analysis provides the total number of properties going to auction, changes in the share of properties going to auction that become lender-owned, the auction values of these properties, and the property types of lender-owned properties in the City of Chicago.

Arts at the Core: Every School, Every Student

October 12, 2005

The profound impact of arts education on children and youth follows them throughout their lives. Arts education rewards our children by helping them to reach practical goals such as academic achievement and career success. Arts education enriches our youth with social, cultural and emotional benefits. As shown in study after study, a widely held belief in the positive value of arts education is shared by parents, teachers, school administrators and arts education experts.This belief is the reason that arts education has historically been an important part of the education of our children in the United States. However, deeper analysis both nationwide and here in Illinois reveals a gap between what individuals, educators and elected officials profess as the value of arts education and what is allocated to arts education in terms of budget, faculty, class time, curriculum, planning and evaluation.Illinois Creates is a broad-based statewide coalition of 150 education, business, civic and arts advocates dedicated to promoting a comprehensive, standards-based arts education program for all Illinois public school students.

2005 Report on Illinois Poverty

March 21, 2005

This is the fifth annual Report on Illinois Poverty. Since the 2000 report, poverty has both steadily increased and deepened. Illinois has 31% more people living in poverty than it did five years ago, amounting to an additional 373,000 people, larger than the population of St. Louis. Two years into the economic recovery Illinoisans are still confronted with high unemployment and sluggish job growth, and in 2003 Illinois experienced more layoffs than any other state in the nation. **In addition to a poor employment situation, Illinoisans are experiencing health care, housing, and transportation cost increases, making it increasingly difficult to meet basic needs. **This report looks at how population, economic, and basic needs issues are being affected by poverty in Illinois. Being aware of the problems people who are living in poverty face is the first step to understanding what solutions are best suited for the many different groups of people in Illinois. Promoting the development of economically stable communities within Illinois is in the best interest of the state as stable communities are healthier, more productive, and safer. We need to address these issues now so that in another five years, Illinois can boast a significant decrease in poverty.

Get the Facts! Public Benefits that Can Help You with Basic Living Costs

March 1, 2005

Provides basic information about Illinois' programsfor low-income individuals and families. It provides answers to common questions about benefits eligibility, application, receipt, and customer rights.

2004 Report on Illinois Poverty: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty for Illinois Teens

October 14, 2004

This report provides data on the status of poor and at-risk teens in Illinois and highlights the intersection of issues that put them at risk of physical, social, and financial harm. While teenagers face enormous challenges and pressures, they have tremendous potential. Effective prevention and comprehensive intervention efforts with vulnerable youth can break the cycle of poverty for Illinois teens, diverting individuals from a path toward a lifetime of poverty and onto a path toward a productive, healthy future.

Putting the Choice in Housing Choice Voucher, Pt. 3: Mapping Locations of Housing Choice Vouchers in the Chicago Region

July 1, 2004

Documents the location of vouchers by census tract in 6-county Chicago region as of June 30, 2003. The report provides a baseline to determine progress on assisting voucher holders in making moves to opportunity. To date, this report is one-of-a-kind.

2004 Report on Illinois Poverty: An Analysis of Rural Poverty

December 30, 2003

Rural Illinois is experiencing greater and greater declines in its well-being, growing barriers to economic viability and increasing disadvantage for economic and human development. 74 of Illinois' 102 counties are rural, non-metropolitan counties. Almost half of these rural counties have poverty rates higher than the state rate. **Limited job opportunity, limited access to health services, inadequate housing options, and declining populations perpetuate this rural poverty. This decline in regional development and growth is clearly linked to poverty populations facing poverty of housing, poverty of education, poverty of health, and poverty of opportunity. **This report examines population, economic, and basic needs issues in regions of Illinois, as defined by the Bureau of Tourism. These regions represent large areas of common demographic, economic, and geographic characteristics. Information on the South and Southwest regions of the state is highlighted, as they are disproportionately impacted by poverty. Data for each county in the state are included in the appendices.

2003 Report on Illinois Poverty

June 10, 2003

Annual report on poverty.