Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe
We at the Reader know how to shed a light. From separate and unequal schools to the drug trade and its repercussions, from police brutality to abuses of TIFs, for more than 40 years we've been doing the kind of reporting that holds the city accountable. But we often feel there's something missing in the way we engage with our readers when it comes to these stories. It's not enough to "like" an article about Chicago's cycle of violence, or to share one about the loss of affordable housing. All of us can help illuminate the problems, but the solutions are harder to come by.
That's why we're partnering with Public Good Software. For the past several months they've been working on a "Do Public Good" button — something like a Facebook or Twitter button for taking action. The button will eventually live on all of our articles that tackle big issues. If you see a story that sticks with you, you can click the button, and the folks at Public Good will connect you with not-for-profits working to solve problems. Once you find an organization you believe in, you can donate, volunteer, sign a pledge, basically contribute in whatever way feels natural to you. One note, we at the Reader are not involved in selecting the charities, nor do we benefit financially from this relationship. This is just our way of connecting readers to a marketplace where they can take action. Do you have a charity you'd like to see included, or do you run one that wants to get involved? Drop them a line; they're currently expanding both causes and organizations.
To get you started, here are a few of the most moving stories in our archives. You'll find the button on the bottom of each article. Right now we're focusing on stories that relate to the not-for-profits Public Good Software has already signed up. As they add more causes, we'll add more articles. If you think of any other stories you'd like to see rounded up here, let us know in the comments.
Wells Community Academy in West Town has disadvantaged students, many unhelpful parents, a bad reputation, charters nibbling at its enrollment—and some rare successes. Can it survive?
Nortasha Stingley's 19-year-old daughter, Marissa, was shot dead just blocks from her home. How do you get over a thing like that?
At Growing Home's downstate training farm, they're finding out that it's not a whole lot.
Lathrop Homes, on the western edge of Lincoln Park, has long been one of the Chicago Housing Authority's most diverse and successful properties. But today it's a shell of its former self.
A murder in the projects.
Jasmeen Wellere grew up on the south side, Hayley Himmelman on the North Shore. Both flourished in their classes, but they've faced very different challenges—and been afforded very different opportunities.
Theaster Gates is fighting blight with artists-in-residence.
The open-air drug market on the west side thrives in the same way that legal businesses do—by meeting demand, capitalizing on a cheap and plentiful workforce, and offering excellent customer service.
What toll does violence exact on the children who survive?
Photographs of environmental blight.
The color of his skin
Joe Henson was killed because he was black. Forty years later, the daughter he never met is still searching for clues about his death. Part 1 of 2.
A missing gun, a wavering prosecution, and decades of regret. Part 2 of 2.
Is there a cure for Chicago's crippling dependence on firearms?
Recent arrivals from Burma and Bhutan have built a teeming garden in the city.
What would it take for the Fisk, Crawford, and State Line coal-fired power plants to close up shop? And what would happen if they did?
The price of intolerance
Racial tensions on Chicago's south side had been simmering for years when, on September 1, 1971, the animosity boiled over—forever altering the lives of two men. Part 1 of 2.
Forty years after racial tensions escalated to tragedy in a south-side neighborhood, Duffie Clark maintains that someone else pulled the trigger. Part 2 of 2.