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Our Impact

Together with our supporters, the Chicago Public Library Foundation changes lives by investing in equitable access to lifelong learning resources, creative tools, and unparalleled expertise. The impact priorities detailed below were identified as part of the Library Foundation’s strategic planning process and align with the Library’s own strategic plan.

A woman reading I Just Like You by Suzanne Bloom during story time.

We invite supporters to invest in a suite of responses—encompassing both new initiatives and proven program models—that respond to persistent challenges in our city. This flexible approach allows us to effectively leverage the Library’s vast resources in the service of our community.

Girl looking up from her homework and smiling.

Close the Academic Opportunity Gap

In our knowledge-driven economy, education can open the door to career opportunities, social mobility, and so much more. Yet, for too many Chicago students, affordable out-of-school learning opportunities remain limited. The following donor-powered programs leverage our Library’s city-wide 81-branch footprint, vast free resources, and commitment to lifelong learning to help ensure that all our city’s children have the support they need to succeed early in life—and to keep succeeding.

A teenager in a red sweatshirt playing the keyboard in a music room.

Activate Creativity and Connection

Chicago’s world-renowned arts and culture sector fuels tremendous creative, economic, and innovative growth. But access to big ideas and top talent is often far out of reach for lower-income members of our community. As a result, many Chicagoans are shut out from the holistic benefits of the arts. Our city, in turn, misses out on opportunities to be elevated and enriched by the inclusion of diverse voices and viewpoints.

The following programs invite all Chicagoans to explore ways of expressing themselves and imagining new possibilities for their lives, their communities, and Chicago.

A cybernavigator helping a patron brush up on their computer skills.

Bridge the Digital Divide

With online learning, telehealth, and remote employment on the rise, Internet access and digital literacy are more vital today than ever before. Yet, 40% of lower-income households in the U.S. are without home broadband services or a traditional computer. Many adults and older adults also lack the skills they need to navigate our increasingly digital world. The Library Foundation is committed to bridging this skill and resource gap—known as the digital divide—through free and user-friendly Chicago DigitalLearn digital literacy modules accessible from any computer.

Together, we transform lives through technology.

You Make More Possible!