5th Annual Philanthropy Awards: BUILD, Inc.

Photos courtesy of BUILD, Inc.

Founded in 1969, BUILD, Inc. has been engaging at-risk youth both in and out of the classroom to help realize their full career potential, and also to contribute to the overall safety of their neighborhoods.

Executive Director Adam Alonso has been working closely with BUILD, Inc., first as a volunteer and currently as executive director, for 25 years, during which he’s “observed BUILD’s mission in action as the organization invests each year in more than 2,000 young people who have the highest intensity of need and risk, and who live in communities that face the greatest challenges.”

BUILD’s Intervention Program serves youth ages 11-14 in five of Chicago’s most challenged communities with high risk of gang involvement. This special program “addresses the individual and social risk factors associated with participation in gangs, crime and violence, mitigates their impact and promotes resiliency.” The program’s Intervention Specialists, including former offenders with strong ties to the community, mentor the program’s youth and work with them on academic engagement and support, life skills, the arts and gang detachment.

What makes BUILD truly so incredible are the success stories of the young people the Intervention Program has helped over the course of BUILD’s nearly 50 years in operation. Jabriel, an 18-year-old college student who is now thriving at Kishwaukee College in Malta, Illinois, entered BUILD after being in and out of foster homes for seven years. With the help of his BUILD mentor Booney, he found someone to count on, and his successes are a reflection of BUILD’s astounding work.

BUILD, Inc.

BUILD, Inc. By the Numbers:

  • $1 invested in court and gang-related youth saves the community $46
  • More than 2,000 young people at highest risk and with greatest need have been helped
  • 274 youths involved in the Intervention Program in 2016
  • Nearly 50 years in operation

This article is part of our 5th Annual Philanthropy Awards series. Find more of our winners here: