Each year, The Reva and David Logan Foundation aims to help our elders, families, neighbors facing unstable housing, students in temporary living situations, refugees, and other vulnerable folks to survive the cold of the Chicago winter with dignity with our Winter Wear program. Through the program, we provide nonprofit organizations throughout Chicagoland with winter gear to distribute to their communities. This year, the total request from partnering organizations was double our allotted budget, demonstrating an overwhelming need for this program.
Spearheaded by Senior Program Officer Jessie Mott, the RDLF staff remains passionately committed to this program each year, devoting significant time to organizing orders and shipments with our wholesale vendor partner Dollar Days as well as volunteering at distribution events. The true stars of the show are our many partners, who cumulatively reach thousands of people in need in the Chicagoland area through their distributions.
From the events that our staff were able to attend this year, it was clear that our partners deeply love and respect the communities they serve. Events were full of warmth and excitement, and several distributions were paired with free meals and fresh food to share together. Those at the distributions got to take their time perusing all of the winter gear (coats, boots, thermals, gloves, hats, scarves and more), making sure they had the right fit for what is sure to be another bone-chilling winter season.
- Budget of $1.48 million
- 59 unique organizations
- 70 distribution locations
- 47 communities reached in the North, West, Central, and South sides of Chicago, as well as surrounding suburbs
In the winter of 2017, RDLF provided funding for all 72 residents of North Side Housing and Supportive Services’ (NSHSS) emergency Uptown shelter, a grantee partner, to go shopping at a local store to try on and select their own pair of winter boots.
In 2018, once Senior Program Officer Jessie Mott came on board, the RDLF began to devise a plan to scale up the winter weather offerings to include other grantee partners and products such as coats, hats, gloves, etc. Another partner of ours, Cradles to Crayons Chicago, introduced us to the wholesale vendors that provided their winter products. We researched them and sampled their warmest coats.
We ultimately selected DollarDays as our vendor partner and have continued to work with them each year.
Since 2019, the RDLF has been designing and distributing survey “wish lists” to a growing list of partners that include current grantees, mutual aid groups, CPS schools, food pantries, and churches.
With our growing team, the process has become more collaborative and refined. We are currently revising the survey to capture more of the information needed on the front end to allow for seamless accounting post-distribution.
What was the catalyst for starting this program?
Jessie: It should go without saying that here we believe everyone deserves the right to be protected from the cold, have access to healthy food, and a safe place to live. While RDLF’s strategic grantmaking has its eye on systems change, we cannot ignore that thousands of our very own neighbors are unhoused, hungry, and struggling to stay warm during these brutal Chicago winters. The program began with a single grantee that operated a men’s shelter in Uptown, and now we have extended the program to the majority of our partners who work with unhoused children and adults as well as various other groups.
How has the need for this program evolved over the years?
Jessie: The need continues to grow exponentially. Of the 70,000 (conservatively speaking) unhoused people in Chicago coupled with the influx of recent migrants, we realize there is no way for us to solve the issue alone. We can, however, do our part by connecting with our trusted partners and their networks to reach some of the city’s most vulnerable people and provide them with brand new, attractive, warm clothing that don’t look like donations.
What are your goals for next year’s program?
Jessie: We hope to find other funders who can collaborate with us in the future, primarily through financial contribution, to expand the program. We have done extensive research and know how to reach some of the hardest to reach. With additional support, we can leverage our networks to provide warm clothing to thousands more.
How can other people help?
Jessie: We’d love to talk to other foundation or corporations who’d like to learn more about our work and get involved. For instance, there could be opportunities to “sponsor” some of our winter program partners to ensure that their wish lists are fulfilled. We do our best to fulfill each order in its entirety, but unsurprisingly, the budget is exceeded very quickly.
From our Winter Wear 2023 partners:
Chicago HOPES for Kids: “HOPES has been busy this past week gearing our students up for the upcoming winter season ? Thank you to The Reva & David Logan Foundation for their generous in-kind donation of winter clothing!”
Sarah’s Circle: “Last week, Sarah’s Circle was able to distribute winter gear to hundreds of women in need, thanks to a very generous donation from the Reva & David Logan Foundation! These women received coats, fleeces, and thermals in any size they needed from S – 6XL, as well as hats, socks, gloves, scarves, and boots. We’d like to extend our gratitude and appreciation to our community partners at the Reva & David Logan Foundation.”
Common Pantry: “We served 112 households and 343 individuals. 143 of those individuals were children and 200 were adults. That is definitely a new record for our winter gear distribution and the event would not have been as successful without all of your hard work! This is always such a great event for our guests and they are always appreciative. We couldn’t do this without you!”
Inner City Missions: “At Christ Community Church we served 280 people, and at Carter Temple Church we served 150 people, both same day. Great turnout, everyone was happy and grateful. These popups are a great hit in the communities. Thank you Reva & David Logan Foundation, you are the best.”
Restoration Ministries: “We held our Coat & Boot give away on Monday night. We were able to serve almost everyone! Everyone who wanted boots got them and almost everyone received a coat. Please know that we are so grateful to you and the foundation for your amazing generosity and kindness. We served about 150 families plus all of our recovery program residents who needed a coat received one. Everyone we served was very grateful too. It was a great night!”
Franciscan Outreach: “[The RDLF] donated well over 3000 winter gear items! Included were 305 hoodies, 400 jackets, 423 pairs of boots, 400 pairs of thermal socks, 400 scarves, 400 neck gaiters, 400 sherpa-lined hats, 400 waterproof gloves, and 105 thermal sets! This amazing act of kindness will help guests of Franciscan Outreach as the cold winter months of Chicago rapidly approach. Thank you for ALL your support! It means the world to us!”
Onward House: “We would like to thank the Reva & David Logan Foundation for an outstanding gesture of holiday giving. We received from them a shipment of 19 pallets of winter clothing for participants in our center-based education programs and Illinois Welcoming Center. The donation includes hundreds of winter coats, winter boots, and hoodies that arrived just as the weather got colder. Your support means so much to us and to those who will be warmer this season thanks to you!”
The Night Ministry: “The [RDLF] recently donated an absolutely incredible 370 hoodies, 1,380 jackets, 335 pairs of boots, 1,000 pairs of socks, 355 pairs of gloves or mittens, 250 neck gaiters, 100 hats, and 90 thermal sets to The Night Ministry! Because the donation was so substantial, staff from across departments came together to help carry the boxes inside our Bucktown headquarters to be sorted for distribution to those we serve, individuals who are unhoused or experiencing poverty.”
Connections for the Homeless: “Thanks to the [RDLF], we were able to assemble an extensive collection of coats and boots of various sizes and colors to suit everyone’s needs. The spirit of giving and solidarity was palpable as volunteers organized donations and helped those attending the event find the cold-weather gear they needed.”
The Night Ministry: “The foundation’s compassionate and generous gift means so much to us and those we serve. The winter is a challenging time for our clients, and their donation will help keep so many warm. We are deeply grateful to the Reva and David Logan Foundation!”
Taskforce: “The TaskForce team would like to extend a HUGE thank you to the Reva & David Logan Foundation for their incredible donation of winter gear! We were able to give out over 200 coats, boots, and scarves to the community!”
SkyART: “Across both events, we were able to distribute a grand total of 2400 articles of winter gear and help over 200 community members across the South and West sides of Chicago keep warm this winter. Thanks again to the [RDLF’s] incredible generosity … We not only made a lasting impression on our new neighbors, but were able to lend a helping hand to recently settled immigrant families and recovering Chicagoans, alike.”
Connections for the Homeless: “As Connections CEO Betty Bogg put it, ‘There’s really nothing that can compare to the satisfaction that comes from providing someone with something they urgently need. Today, we gave out warm clothes and good feelings.’”
Connections for the Homeless: “This past weekend, our Winter Warmth event took place at the Lake Street Church, bringing together nearly 100 compassionate volunteers in a collective effort to extend warmth and care to those in need within our community. In the course of a few hours, we distributed hundreds of winter coats and snow boots to nearly 600 people.”