Holistic Healing Fund – Fast Facts

Holistic Healing Fund – Fast Facts

A Fund to invest in individuals, organizations, systems/infrastructure, narratives and mindset shifts, for healing 

  • Individual Level

    Investing in individuals and leaders of color who are providing direct healing services to those in their respective communities

  • Organizational Level

    Investing in individuals and leaders of color who are providing direct healing services to those in their respective communities

  • Narrative and meaning-making

    Investing in shifting narratives that can help influence perspectives, perceptions, and behaviors around healing

  • Systemic/infrastructure level

    Investing in systems and infrastructure that would shift funding to more healing initiatives 

Chicago Beyond is an investor for youth equity. Since inception in 2016, we have invested more than $45 million in local nonprofit organizations, community leaders and ideasAcross many investments, our purpose is one: that all youth have the freedom to achieve their fullest human potential. 

About The Fund

Young people are at the heart of Chicago Beyond’s workThey have voiced that healing holistically is what will allow them freedom to realize their fullest life potential. Adults, and elders whom they trust, affirm: this healing is necessary.

  • Addressing various forms of harm done to our youth and communities
  • Healing our young people means protecting them from toxicity in the four different types of harm:
    • Physical harm: Healing from physical wounds and body trauma from generational gun violence in communities of color 
    • Emotional harm: Healing from mental suffering, distress, psychological trauma from generational hopelessness and disinvestments in communities that mess with the psyche of individuals 
    • Intellectual Harm: Healing from existing narratives
    • Structural Harm: Healing from existing systemic racism and discriminatory policies and practices that prevent individuals from reaching their basic need
  • Addressing various forms of harm done to our youth and communities
  • Healing our young people means protecting them from toxicity in the four different types of harm:
    • Physical harm: Healing from physical wounds and body trauma from generational gun violence in communities of color
    • Emotional harm: Healing from mental suffering, distress, psychological trauma from generational hopelessness and disinvestments in communities that mess with the psyche of individuals
    • Intellectual Harm: Healing from existing narratives
    • Structural Harm: Healing from existing systemic racism and discriminatory policies and practices that prevent individuals from reaching their basic need 

These four types of harms show up in the daily lives of our young people and communities, and they continue to present obstacles. 

  • Restoring peopleas they do the work of healing others, and for themselves
  • Offering many pathswhich people define for themselves, to individual, relational, collective wellbeing. This is healing “by” and “with” people themselves, not “for” people by others.]

Lastly, in addition to supporting our young people, a significant focus of the Healing Fund will be supporting the adults who support these young people. Experience and research show that young peoples’ wellness is closely linked to the wellness of the adults surrounding them.

More on what we do (and don't) mean by "Holistic Healing"

The healing field is comprised of conventional Westernized models of healing – diagnosis of mental health disorders and mental health research, psychiatric remedies for treatment of mental distress and illness, that fall short in providing holistic care for an individual. We have a 991-page categorization of mental health disorders, but struggle for a coherent positive vision of wellbeing for allnot just some.

Profound acts of love, community, and healing occur every day. But the numbers show that suffering is deep and pervasive. Suffering from physical wounds of trauma, emotional despair and hopelessness from years of community disinvestments, existing narratives and postsecondary trauma of watching toxic news coverage of people of color being devalued, and racist and discriminatory policies is deep and pervasive. 

Since our work began, Chicago Beyond has taken many starting points for our investments—and found healing at the heart of the impact of each one. From the holistic work of many of our investment partners, to creating meaningful spaces to bring together children and their incarcerated parents, to supporting restorative justice modelsHolistic healing is fundamental to helping each individual be able to reach full freedom. The end goal here is to ensure that individuals have the ability to heal; from all the toxicity in the ecosystem, so that we reach a more equitable society. 

The COVID-19 pandemic, its economic impacts, racialized tension, and summer unrest have shown the strength and tenacity of community-led work. They have also added stress and complexity with reverberating impacts. Healing is even more critical in this time, both for young people, and the adults who support our young people, their families, and our communities. 

In sum, Chicago Beyond’s focus on healing is not “new” but is deepened and made more explicit through this Healing Fund, as one way we can contribute in this time. Through our efforts to invest in healing, we have gotten clearer in our understanding of where the need to heal comes from, and seen where traditional funding processes got in the way 

 Centering healing is countercultural. Our structures, including structures that move moneyeffectively safeguard power, capital, property, reputation, supremacyand push humanness to the periphery. Questions like: “healing from what?” or “where is the harm?” find very different answers depending on: how we have been socialized; whether racism, social advantage, concentrated povertyexperienced violence, untold trauma, are intellectual concepts or embodied experience; whether we are accustomed to defining the problems to be solvedor are frequently treated as the problem to be solved. 

  • One common idea of healing is based in sickness. It focuses on symptoms to suppress or fix, as diagnosed and solved exclusively by clinical experts. Guided by the voices of young people, adults, and elders closest to them, “holistic healing” here focuses on the wellbeing aspired to, recognizing individual, relational, collective, systemic forces at play. The fundamental capacity to be a healer is the capacity to love.
  • Another common idea of healing: a privilege that may be selfish, a “nice if we had time” version of self-care that links to seeing people as economic input rather than as humans. Individuals are seen as providing services and are to be productive. They currently do not have time to heal and think of “healing” as a privilege that is not afforded to them. Instead of being able to take time for themselves, they’re caught in this constant cycle of wanting to be “productive.”
  • Indigenous traditions of healing are based in holistic practices that aims to treat a person’s body, mind, emotions, and spirit together. Some of these practices are: reinstating pride in one’s cultural identity, connection to one’s community and ancestral country, and understanding of well-being in communities. Guided by indigenous traditions, scholarship on liberation, and voices of community organizers, “holistic healing” here is integrally connected to people choosing their own path free from compulsion, and foundational to well-being of communities, organizations, society.
  • There is a common deeply held belief, caused by racism, that some individuals are worth less than other individuals. Healing from this belief places the individual at fault, that they are the ones who are broken, and need healing. Racism is based on a hierarchy of worth. It teaches shame and separateness, that you are broken, you are the wound. Guided by our values and the experiences we have lived, “holistic healing” here is based in certitude that all humans are fundamentally worthy. The premise for restoration is that we all have the capacity to return to the fullness of human potential. When we focus on ways for all of us to heal from the racism of the past and present, and we are able to build relationships across lines that value each person’s humanity and fullness, these are the ways in which we can heal fully.

Chicago Beyond’s Holistic Healing Fund is designed to invest in healing over time and on multiple levels. This is intentional, because healing is not a linear journey and takes time, and harm occurs at many levels. This understanding of healing requires changes from how funding commonly happens:

  • A common institutional approach sets up healing as a new area of focus, separate from traditional program areas like education or violence prevention, or within a single program area like healthcare. This institutional approach limits the impact that is possible. “Healing” here is interconnected, holistic, and root-level—a critical driver of nearly all organizational objectives and outcomes that depend on the wellbeing of individuals and communities. [Link to investment strategy]
  • A common funder approach invests in and measures change in individuals or avoidance of negative outcomes, with program staff cast as inputs. This limits the impact that is possible by anchoring in the assumption that what is easy-to-count must be what matters most. Funding “healing” here is investing in and supporting individuals and shifting system conditions that continue to perpetuate harm and eliminating funder processes that get in the way. [Link to impact philosophy]
  • A common institutional approach is built on implicit and explicit bias that makes some investments “risky”, or excludes them altogether. This limits impact because it devalues work that is interconnected in favor of work that is programmatic and linear, and devalues the wisdom of experience in favor of what can be known technically and impersonally. These biases are often rooted in the very same -isms that are a source of the harm from which healing is needed. “Healing” investments here are made through a different process. [Link to whole philanthropy]

Our vision for Chicago Beyond’s Holistic Healing Fund is that Healing holistically is what will allow our young people freedom to reach their fullest life potential.