Dear friends and supporters,
We are incredibly grateful for all you have done to support our mission this past year. Thanks to you, we have made tremendous progress towards achieving goals outlined in our Vision 2020 Strategic Plan to expand our Community Resurrection Model and accelerate our impact. Since our founding, we have leveraged $500 million in community investment and empowered more than 100,000 individuals.
Within our Community Wealth Building pillar, we impacted 38,000 individuals and helped leverage more than $33 million in community investment. Of significance, TRP earned recognition as a Community Development Financial Institution—joining a select group of just over 1,000 organizations from around the country who are in a position to deploy capital in ways that compliment traditional lending institutions to create more homeowners and generate more community investment. Lastly, by working with our partner, Self Help Federal Credit Union, we supported the expansion of their footprint in the Chicago region and are excited to see their Chicago-based operation Second Federal Credit Union surpass more than $150 million in lending in our communities.
Within our Stewardship of Community Assets Pillar, we continued to create, preserve, and manage affordable housing and community facilities for our families and workforce. This is critically important as the cost of housing continues to outpace family incomes. In 2017, TRP continued to operate 599 units of housing across several communities to provide families with high quality affordable housing. In 2017, we launched a new initiative to acquire small buildings in Pilsen to prevent the displacement of working families. We added 37 units to this portfolio and have plans to triple the portfolio over the coming year. Last year also marked expansion of our model into the Brighton Park community as we partnered with Gads Hill Center to provide development services that will ultimately result in a new 18,000 sq. ft. early learning center for the community— the area in the state most-in-need of early learning opportunities.
Within our Community Ownership Pillar, we continued to make significant strides in several areas. In the area of immigration, our team continues to do great work in our communities. We responded to the increasingly hostile political climate by helping record-high numbers of people. In partnership with the City of Chicago, National Immigrant Justice Center, and several community partners we launched the Chicago Legal Defense Fund, and reached more than 24,000 Chicagoans providing them with education on their rights. After the current administration announced their decision to rescind DACA, our team partnered with Univision to launch DACA Tuesdays to ensure that as many DREAMers as possible would renew their DACA and continue to be protected. We held DACA renewal clinics, informational sessions and raised funds for DACA scholarships to ensure that as many DREAMers as possible renew their DACA status and continue to be protected. TRP also further increased its immigration capacity by opening a new immigration office in Pilsen and hiring new legal staff members.
Within this pillar’s area of safety, we launched our #IncreasethePeace movement to encourage youth from several communities to become leaders and advocate for policies and initiatives that promote non-violence. The initiative received national attention and was featured by CNN’s Van Jones over the summer. Lastly, in the area of education, we celebrated another graduating class of La Casa students and are proud to report that 94% of our students have graduated in six years or less—a rate that significantly exceeds their peers.
These are only a few of the highlights over the past year that you helped us achieve. Despite all the progress we made this past year, we still have a lot of work to do. We’re looking forward to leveraging last year’s success to continue creating healthy and vibrant communities. Our Imagine More Campaign has positioned us for this growth. We thank you again for standing with us in this effort as champions, donors, grantors, and partners.
Raul I. Raymundo