OF NORTHWESTERN SETTLEMENT HOUSE
A single action can
make lives better
for our neighbors
We offer a unique doorway to engage with communities.
Through a wide scope of flexible options to get involved with the Northwestern Settlement, we know how to help you make a difference. You can trust us with your time and donations.
Scroll on to learn about a few of our touchstone initiatives.
The Dollar Letter
The Dollar Letter is our annual fundraiser. Now comprised of a variety of cost-effective activities, it gets its name from the first appeal in1909, when members sent letters asking friends to give "just $1." More than a century later, the message in those notes remains fresh and true -- "if we each give a little, we can all do so much."
Since 1909, we've helped fill unmet needs at Settlement through unrestricted grants supported by the Dollar Letter. For example, in 2017 these indispensable donations launched Settlement's mental health clinic for children and families. Beyond this kind of vital seed money, our backing provides stability for Settlement to successfully win highly competitive grants and shores up inevitable gaps in funding for essential programs.
Looking for hands-on ways to make authentic connections? Once a year or once a week, we make it easy to volunteer at Settlement, connect with old friends and meet new ones. Opportunities range from tending a hidden garden (which we’ve nurtured for a century) to ushering at Adventure Stage, reading to Head Start kids, helping in the food pantry or in a classroom at Rowe Elementary, and more.
We help make the holidays better for our Settlement neighbors by providing food, gifts, warm clothes, and other items. Whether you like to shop, wrap, knit, or just write a check, this perennial-member-favorite project has a role for you. It's a great way to get the whole family into the giving spirit!
For 125 years, Northwestern Settlement has served its Chicago neighbors through a variety of programs that nurture, educate and inspire the American dream.
Learn more about the impact of Northwestern Settlement's many programs:
Northwestern Settlement was founded in 1891 by leaders of Northwestern University, as a separate and financially-independent institution. At that time, the West Town community where the Settlement House is located was primarily the home of disenfranchised German, Polish, Irish, and Scandinavian immigrants, and the neighborhood failed to register in Chicago’s collective conscience. In 1909, the Evanston Board was founded to help raise funds and support for Settlement. It was Settlement's first auxiliary board.
The original Settlement Movement model involved settling in a needy community and recruiting university faculty, staff, graduates, and volunteers to live and work at the house, gathering resources to empower community residents to change their own lives.
Today, although the methods of service have changed, Northwestern Settlement continues to provide transformational opportunities. Focusing on changing lives through education, social services, and the arts, Northwestern Settlement’s programs are fully integrated to meet the complex needs of our neighbors.