Our Work

With a growing membership of nearly 2,000 Jews across Chicagoland, the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs brings a committed base to our three main program areas: issue-based campaigns, youth engagement and community investment.

Organizing Campaigns

As a model for community engagement on a grassroots level, JCUA has built relationships and stood in solidarity as an ally with communities directly affected by poverty and discrimination for the past five decades. In the past, our work has focused on a variety of issues including civil rights, public housing, police brutality, immigration reform, and worker rights — all with an emphasis on correcting systemic injustice in our city and region. Today, JCUA pursues social, racial and economic justice in Chicago by mobilizing our members to work with organizations and in coalitions on pressing local issues.

Learn more about our active and past organizing campaigns.

Youth Engagement

JCUA is dedicated to empowering the next generation of Jewish leaders. We have two programs that engage teens and young adults across Chicagoland, focusing on community organizing through a Jewish lens and putting values and ideas into practice by taking action locally on crucial issues.

The Or Tzedek Organizing Internship, which was recently redesigned into a full-year program, is for teens passionate about social justice who want to build concrete organizing skills and take their activism to the next level. In JCUA’s College-Aged Organizing Fellowship, participants develop and strengthen their Jewish social justice identities while building organizing skills to combat the root causes of inequality in our city and create real systemic change.

Learn more about our Youth Engagement programs.

Community Development

The Community Ventures Program (CVP) is a zero-interest loan fund for housing and economic development projects. CVP loans pay early predevelopment costs, leverage other financing, and get projects off the ground, helping to create and preserve affordable housing and living-wage jobs across Chicago.

Learn more the Community Ventures Program.