Updated: Feb 10
This past year many of us have hurdled never-before-seen challenges and fought tirelessly for a state of normalcy.
At M&P, we’re tipping our hats to the non-profit organizations across the nation who strive to enrich and support the families who are living amid our nation’s housing crisis.
Margaret’s Village and its team of dedicated allies and advocates work year round to provide transitional housing options for homeless women, children and families living in Chicago’s South Side community. We partnered with Margaret’s Village this year in an effort to shed much needed light on the work that the non-profit is doing in hopes of catapulting their vision and bringing awareness to the needs of those living with homelessness in one of Chicago’s most diverse and culturally rich neighborhoods.
Our team caught up with Angela Hicks who is the Executive Director at the non-profit. She shared insight into upcoming projects, the impacts of COVID-19, the highlights of the organization’s efforts and how our readers can get involved with the non-profit’s mission.
M&P: Margaret’s Village is continually improving facilities and services. What are some of the most pressing projects and challenges your team is facing in 2021?
Angela Hicks: The government typically provides 40-45 percent of our general operating funds while we raise the rest of our annual operating budget. The costs of operating Margaret’s Village have increased while government funds have remained static which means we are having to continually rethink our strategy and operating budget for the year. Margaret’s Village serves one of the lowest income areas in Chicago and the country and so often we find that we need to search for donations and grants outside of our own community who simply don’t have the means or the income to donate. In addition to that Margaret’s Village operates within former Archdiocese properties that are upwards of 100 years old. This means that maintenance makes up a larger portion of our budget than we’d like. Infrastructure repairs and general wear and tear maintenance are a part of our daily reality.
COVID-19 has changed all of our lives. The families we serve have felt the impact more keenly than others. The school-age children of the families we serve have had to continue their studies via a virtual platform. Socialization is a key part of learning for youngsters and we are hoping that soon they will be able to resume their friendships with their fellow students.
We were also faced with the hard, but necessary decision, to close our Senior Center to ensure the health and safety of our most vulnerable individuals. In an effort to check in with our senior community our Senior Center Director is reaching out to each member and ensuring their wellbeing and that all basic needs are being met. Margaret’s Village has created protocols to ensure the health and safety of not only our residents, but also the staff who serve them. Essential personnel for both Believe Shelter and Maria Shelter were able to receive incentive pay for the work they did in helping to ensure a safe environment for everyone. We are proud to share that we have had zero cases of COVID-19 from members of our staff or the families we serve.
M&P: There are a lot of ways to get involved with the non-profit organization. What does your team need more of now than ever before as COVID19 has become a part of our everyday lives?
AH: Our programs are meeting goals and we have successfully passed all city audits this year related to our programs and financials. Our Believe Shelter is operating at capacity and due to the COVID-19 crisis and regulations pursuant to social distancing requirements, Maria Shelter is operating at three-quarters of its normal capacity. We are ensuring outcomes in regard to services and programs while also working to increase mental health services for children during this particularly difficult time. The funds from our supporters are essential in helping Margaret’s Village maintain consistency in our programs right now.
We are always glad to accept monetary donations but in-kind gifts are very greatly appreciated as well. From toiletries and blankets to clothing and school supplies, in-kind donations make a huge difference to the families that we serve. We also encourage those in our community to spread the word about the work we are doing here at Margaret’s Village. We are always looking for event sponsors and volunteers who can help our team support our mission.
M&P: What role do you see social media playing in expanding the organization’s reach and in letting community members know about the services your team provides?
AH: Because Margaret’s Village runs on an anemic budget, social media is essential to getting the word out to not only our donors but to people in our community who need our services. We are always looking for a “viral” moment in an effort to expand our donor base. Following us on social media channels and sharing our work is a great way to bring awareness to the work being done here at Margaret’s Village.
M&P: 2020 was a pretty difficult year with a ton of unexpected obstacles. Can you share some of the obstacles your team faced and how you overcame them? Right now, more than ever, stories of hope and success are so important.
AH: In 2020 we had to cancel our Spring Luncheon and Fall Gala. In lieu of the Fall Gala we hosted a virtual round table discussion.
On the evening of September 24, Margaret’s Village hosted its annual fundraising Gala. Unlike prior years when we broke bread with supporters and friends, listened to music and celebrated our service to the underserved in our community, this year’s event went virtual. So, for those who missed it or who would like to hear the enlightening discussions from our panelists and inspirational speeches from our Executive Director, Angela Hicks and our award recipients, here's a link to the replay.
The panel discussion was so very relevant for these times when the pandemic has intensified the challenges of homelessness including food insecurity, educational disparities and lack of employment opportunities. Alisa Rodriguez, Managing Deputy Commissioner City of Chicago Dept. of Family & Support Services and Julie Dworkin, Director of Policy Chicago Coalition for the Homeless provided us with several key takeaways. Please be sure to check out the link above and share it with your network.
A note from M&P Founders, Zach Phillips & Kaitlin McMillan
Our mission at M&P has always been to help businesses grow, develop, and utilize their digital presence to the max. While we are a business as a collective, it’s vital to recognize that we are people, too. We are people who are passionate about social justice, growth and development as a nation and as human beings.
That’s why M&P has started an initiative we call The Good Karma Campaign. The campaign is designed to offer our marketing services to deserving businesses that are too busy saving the world to invest in their brand awareness. Each one of us at M&P lends our specific skill set to The Good Karma Campaign giving each company the full M&P marketing experience. Through our efforts, we help these small businesses expand their digital presence helping to increase leads and improve rankings on Google. In the case of Margaret’s Village our Operations and Project Manager, Grace Eiden spotted an opportunity and took initiative to reach out on M&P’s behalf.
Grace has successfully provided ongoing SEO and social media efforts that have increased exposure for the non-profit, quadrupled their holiday donations, and provided Margaret’s Village with insights into their brand reach. We believe marketing can be used for the greater good, not just selling products. Through The Good Karma Campaign, the team at M&P hopes to play a small role in making the world a better place for all of us. If you know a business that would be a good candidate for our campaign, please reach out to us via our contact form on the website.
Check out Margaret's Village!