Google+ Onward Neighborhood House - Enriching children, families and communities

2016 Gala – RSVP today & don’t forget your trip raffle tickets!

Posted December 2015

For more information, click here.



Support Letters to Santa – A Partnership with The Second City

Posted October 2015

Did you know that Onward House’s most vulnerable families benefit immensely from the funds raised at The Second City’s annual 24-hour improve & music holiday marathon? Show your support to Onward House families and attend the 24-hour marathon on November 23-24 starting at 6pm at The Second City. For more information or to donate now, click here or like them on Facebook for event updates.


Register for GED classes

Posted September 2015


See What We’ve Been up to!

Posted August 2015


Golf Outing - Thank you!

Posted August 2015

Thank you for the generous support at the 2015 Onward House Charity Golf Tournament held on September 16 at Ruffled Feathers Golf Club. More than 120 golfers attended the event this year. With your support, we raised more than $50,000 that will be used to support our programs in Belmont Cragin including Early Childhood Education, an After School Program, Adult Education Services, the Community Computer Resource Center and Family Support Services including a food pantry.

We hope to see you again next year!

For more information, please contact Melissa Tracy at or (312) 666-6726.


Thank you for a successful gala!

Posted March 2015

Thank you to all who supported the 9th Annual Night of Bright Futures Gala that was held on Saturday, February 21 at Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago!

The event featured live music and entertainment from Soda Rocks as well as Jeff Hunter, pianist and piano teacher at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Over 200 guests enjoyed a large selection of silent auction items, live auction items, a wine pull and a trip raffle as well as an evening full of great food, great music and dancing.

A huge thank you goes to our sponsors and donors for the evening:


Onward Neighborhood House Receives Gold Circle of Quality Designation from ExceleRate Illinois!

Posted December 2014

Onward House recently received the highest award of excellence from ExceleRate Illinois, the Gold Circle of Quality designation for early learning providers who make quality a priority.

ExceleRate Illinois is a statewide quality rating and improvement system designed to make continuous quality improvement an everyday priority among early learning providers. The program establishes standards for helping infants, toddlers and preschool age children develop intellectually, physically, socially and emotionally. It provides a framework for early learning professionals to identify opportunities for improvement, increase their skills and take steps to make positive changes.

The Gold Circle of Quality recognizes programs that meet or go beyond the highest quality goals. Gold Circle programs have met the highest quality standards in three areas: learning environment and teaching quality; administrative standards; and staff training and education. Programs are actively engaged in continuous quality improvement.

Click here to read more.


Fall/Winter 2014 Newsletter Now Available for Viewing!

Posted November 2014

Spring/Summer Newsletter
Onward House’s Fall/Winter newsletter is no available for viewing! Click here to read about our historic move, what’s happening in our expanding Adult Education Program and updates on our new food pantry in Belmont Cragin!


If you would like to be added to our newsletter mailing list, please contact Melissa Tracy at



Onward Neighborhood House receives $25,000 grant from the Tampico Foundation

Posted October 2014

CHICAGO, IL - The Tampico Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Tampico Beverages, recently honored Onward Neighborhood House with a $25,000 grant at their 2014 Benefit Gala, held Sept. 25 at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.

The Tampico Foundation, now in its second year, works to support children and families in need across the globe. The Foundation is committed to providing charitable contributions to organizations and individuals that are dedicated to supporting programs in under-served communities around the world.

Onward Neighborhood House Board President Prentice H. Marshall, Jr. said that Onward Neighborhood House was the perfect charity for the Tampico Foundation to support.

“Onward was a natural fit for Tampico's generosity,” Marshall said. “Tampico has very strong ties with many Central American countries; and Onward's families are overwhelmingly Latino.”

At the gala, the Tampico Foundation chose to support Onward Neighborhood House, whose mission is to empower families and individuals in need to achieve their full potential in a community-based setting through participant-driven educational, recreational and social service programs. Tampico also supported a second organization, Action Against Hunger. Only two awards are distributed each year.

At the event, Onward Neighborhood House’s Executive Director, Mario F. Garcia, spoke to the audience about its history, programming and vision for the future. Onward House began as a settlement house in 1868 in the West Town community of Chicago, and served as a church, school, refuge and community center for thousands of impoverished newcomers providing vital social services that gave working immigrants a foothold in the new world. During the Great Depression, Onward House served thousands of people annually through its education, youth and family support programs. More than 100 years later, Onward House continues to serve those in need. Today, programming includes: Early Childhood Education, a School Age Program, a Family Support Program which includes a food pantry and a Community Computer Resource Center that provides training and free access to technology as well as English as a Second Language and GED classes.

In 2008, a second center opened in Belmont Cragin. In September 2014, Onward House closed their West Town site, as many families had left the area; and expanded their Belmont Cragin location, to better serve the needs in that community.

Onward Neighborhood House’s children, families, board and staff are very grateful to the Tampico Foundation.

“We were overwhelmed by the generosity of Tampico's gift,” Marshall said. “It will allow us to expand our programs serving the Belmont-Cragin community, especially the business incubator program we hope to launch soon.”

The business incubator program will offer resources for aspiring local entrepreneurs hoping to start their own businesses.

For those interested in becoming involved or volunteering at Onward Neighborhood House, please reach out to Development Coordinator Laura Bollin at (773) 622-3215 or


2014 Charity Golf Outing hits a hole in one for Onward Neighborhood House!

Posted October 2014

The 2014 Golf Outing at Onward Neighborhood House was very successful! Thanks to our golfers and wonderful sponsors, we raised over $50,000 to support the children and families that come to Onward Neighborhood House

There wasn't a cloud in the sky, and all of our 104 golfers had a great time out on the Ruffled Feathers Golf Club golf course Sept. 18. Eighteen holes of golf were followed by a delicious dinner, door prizes, a raffle and a silent auction, where golfers won trips to Arizona, Florida, Wisconsin, and more!

During dinner, golfers were able to see a slideshow of all of the great progress Onward Neighborhood House has made this year - from the opening of our food pantry, which now serves over 50 families a week, the hiring of our Adult Education Coordinator, Santia Lopez, and our big move to Belmont Cragin!

We wanted to extend a huge thank you to all of the great sponsors who made it possible: Kirkland & Ellis, LCP, Jenner & Block LLP, Windstream Communications, Cushman & Wakefield, Klöckner Pentaplast, US Signal Company, Packaging World, Brand Packaging, Lipschultz Levin & Gray, Mark Products, LLC, Razorsight, Laurel BMW of Westmont, USI, Printed Specialties, Packaging Digest, First Light, Faegre Baker Daniels, Sonus, Torstenson Glass, Glenview Community Church, and Ruffled Feathers Golf Club! We couldn't have done it without all of you!

To see more from the golf outing, check out the album on our Facebook page:


Onward Neighborhood House's move to Belmont Cragin in the news

Posted October 2014

Onward Neighborhood House's move to serve the Belmont Cragin community was a featured story on DNA Info Chicago's West Town page on Oct. 1. The story told of the changes in West Town, Onward House's desire to serve those who need us in the Belmont Cragin community and shared the success of our expanded food pantry in Belmont Cragin. You can check it out in the link below. DNA Info Chicago is an online newspaper that focuses on different areas of the city.

Click on the picture below to access the news in the DNA website


Onward House is Moving

Posted September 2014

For over a century, Onward Neighborhood House has served Chicago's West Town neighborhood. For most of that time, the neighborhood was emblematic of many of Chicago's neighborhoods: a community of working immigrants in the process of integrating into all facets of our beloved city. In the past decade, however, many of the families we serve have moved west, and the West Town community now features many new single family and town homes. As our families have migrated, so also has the need for the services we provide.

Onward's non-profit board of directors, recognizing this trend, opened a second facility six years ago in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood on the far northwest side of the city. Today, Belmont-Cragin resembles the West Town neighborhood of decades past: it is a vibrant, overcrowded neighborhood of first- and second-generation immigrants. Most of Onward's services are now delivered in the Belmont-Cragin area, and we are proud to have become an integral part of the area.

Onward Neighborhood House is in the process of purchasing the building seen here. It's just steps from our current location and will add over 9,000 square feet of administrative and programming space.

Onward's board has determined that its mission can be enhanced and expanded by closing its West Town site, selling the land and building, and investing the proceeds into expanded, enhanced, and additional programs in the Belmont-Cragin and surrounding neighborhoods.

We are happy to report that we have successful transitioned our families to other programs in West Town or their communities, and most of our employees will be joining us at Belmont-Cragin.

We have worked with state and city officials and our generous donors to make sure we continue to provide outstanding services to our families, children, and individuals. We are also exploring additional opportunities. There is a critical need in the area not only for our nationally-accredited educational programs, but also adult classes, ESL classes, computer skills programs, senior companionship events, and a food pantry.

Questions or concerns may be directed to Mario Garcia at (312) 666-6726 or


Golf for a Good Cause at Onward Neighborhood House's 9th Annual Golf Outing

Posted September 2014

CHICAGO, IL - On September 18th, some of Chicagoland’s most enthusiastic golfers will gather at Ruffled Feathers Golf Club in Lemont to swing their clubs for a great cause: the children and families of Onward Neighborhood House.

This year, the golf outing will raise funds for an exciting project: the expansion of our Belmont Cragin Center, which will become our only site at the end September. Through golf rounds, raffle prizes and auction items, we hope to raise funds to serve Onward Neighborhood House. Those funds will assist us in reaching those who need us most in the Belmont Cragin community, through an expanded food pantry, enriched computer classes for children and adults, a larger reach with our after school and day care programming, and more.

Our generous sponsors are Inteliquent and Transparent Container. The event begins at 11:00 a.m. with breakfast, and shotgun start for the golfers is at 1 p.m. The outing will close with a delicious dinner at 6:30 p.m. as well as entertainment. This golf outing is not to be missed!

The mission of Onward Neighborhood House is to empower families and individuals in need to achieve their full potential in a community-based setting through participant-driven education, recreational and social service programs.


Onward Neighborhood House opens food pantry in Belmont-Cragin

Posted September 2014

At Onward Neighborhood House, we try to bring simple benefits to our families like healthy, well balanced meals. Through a partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, we have recently opened a client-choice food pantry across the street from our Belmont Cragin center at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ.

The food pantry is be client-choice, so visitors to the food pantry will be able to select items from different “food stations,” and shop like at a supermarket. Each food station will be different, and may include fruits, vegetables, dairy, frozen meats, bread and grains and breakfast foods.

The “client-choice” opportunity will provide more freedom and dignity to the food pantry process, said Onward Neighborhood House’s Executive Director, Mario Garcia. Clients will be able to select their products, much like shopping at a small neighborhood grocer.

The pantry will be open from 4 – 6 p.m. on Thursdays. As demand increases, Onward Neighborhood House anticipates increasing the food pantry’s availability to twice a week. The pantry is located in the basement of St. Peter’s Church, 2805 N. Linder Avenue.

For more information, call Leticia Gonzalez at 312.666.6726


Belmont Cragin Community Comes Together at National Night Out

Posted August 2014

On August 5, hundreds of families in the Belmont Cragin community joined together to celebrate their neighborhood and fight back against crime at the Chicago Police Department's 25th District police station.

The night included performances by a local Zumba group and Latin percussionists, the Fighting Tigers martial arts team and Chicago's Ultimate Tumblers. Volunteers from a local Target store gave out free school supplies to help the children of the neighborhood start the year off right.

Alderman Rey Colon (35th Ward) and Alderman Ariel Reboyras (30th Ward) spoke to the crowd about the spirit of community and thanked the police officers of the 25th District for keeping everyone safe.

Children and their families enjoyed a petting zoo, face painting and music from D.J. Prince. Families ate hot dogs and potato chips with their neighbors; and gathered information from community organizations - including Onward Neighborhood House.

Onward House had a table to provide information to families that live in the area and did not know about us. Now families are aware about our services and this activity helped us to have more presence in the community. Everyone had a great time!


Onward House on the little screen!

Posted July 2014

On July 16th Onward House’s Community Computer Resource Center Manager, Mauricio Blanco, was interviewed by Univision television about the benefits of our center. At the CCRC, we offer free classes in Microsoft Office, basic skills, computer repair, and more! Learn more about our classes by watching the video below, which is only available in Spanish. If you’d like to take a class, contact Mauricio at 773.622.3215. We’d love to help you!


August 5, for National Night Out

Posted July 2014

Please join Onward House and the 25th District police station on Tuesday, August 5, for National Night Out, a free event to show criminals that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back! National Night Out is a unique crime and drug prevention event sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch. The event is designed to heighten drug and crime prevention awareness, generate support for and local participation in anti-crime programs and strengthen neighborhood spirit and the partnership between the police and the community. The Illinois Department of Transportation will be creating state identification cards for children at the event and Target will be distributing free school supplies.


At this free night, you and your family will hear from guest speakers, enjoy free refreshments and music and participate in raffles. The fun goes from 6-8 p.m. at 5555 W. Grand Ave. We hope to see you there!


Deloitte makes an impact at Onward Neighborhood House

Posted July 2014

On June 6, 35 volunteers from Deloitte came to volunteer at Onward Neighborhood House for IMPACT Day, Deloitte’s annual day of community service.

At Onward Neighborhood House, the volunteers painted the future Family Resource Center at our Belmont Cragin site. The Family Resource Center will be a place for our families to come rest and relax, and will include couches, a computer area, and meeting space. The volunteers also put down new woodchips on the playground and cleaned classrooms.

More than 800 volunteers in 80 communities across the country volunteered their time and talents to help nonprofit organizations during IMPACT Day. Their efforts went a long way to help nonprofit organizations throughout the United States.

At Onward Neighborhood House, Deloitte volunteers truly made an “impact!” Our Family Resource Center will be a wonderful addition to our community, and we’re happy Deloitte was able to participate in helping Onward Neighborhood House transform the space into such a welcoming and inviting space for our families. We’re so grateful for all of Deloitte’s help!


It’s All in the Family!

Posted April 2014

To continue our 40th anniversary celebration with Glenbrook South High School, we interviewed another former Tutoring Club member who inspired a teacher, her father, to become the faculty sponsor. Click her picture to find out why Melissa, who is now an elementary school teacher, wanted to tutor Onward Neighborhood House students!

Melissa Cowell, former Glenbrook South High School Tutoring Club member & daughter of the current Tutoring Club faculty sponsor.

Fun Fact: “My favorite movie is probably Pride & Prejudice, but at the moment, my students and I are all about Frozen!”


Happy Anniversary

Posted March 2014

This year, we are happy to be celebrating a 40 year partnership with Glenbrook South High School. Throughout the years, they have helped Onward Neighborhood House in so many ways: the Annual Thanksgiving food drive, donating supplies, and bringing students to tutor those in our School Age Program. We caught up with two former tutors. Click their pictures to check out what they had to say about their experiences tutoring Onward House students!:

Daria Dlouchy, former Glenbrook South High School Tutoring Club co-president

Favorite Quote: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”- William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Favorite Indulgence: “Sour candy and spicy food. I put Sriracha on EVERYTHING!”

Julie Nadig, former Glenbrook High School Tutoring Club member.

Fun Fact: She was an extra in the newly released movie, Divergent…keep an eye out for her! J


Thank you!

Posted February 2014

Onward Neighborhood House and its Auxiliary Board would like to thank all those who supported the 8th Annual "A Night of Bright Futures" Gala.

A special thanks to the Museum of Contemporary Art at Chicago for hosting, Wolfgang Puck for the delicious food, and Soda Rocks for not only providing amazing music that had everyone dancing, but also acting as the MC for our Live Auction.



Happy Holidays!

Posted December 2013


Happy Holidays from all of us here at Onward Neighborhood House! Take a look at the pictures from the Children’s Christmas Concert at Belmont Cragin, and the Annual Holiday Party at West Town. The children and their families had a great time thanks to all those who came to celebrate with us.

A special thanks to all of those who support us this holiday season. Because of your generosity, you have all made someone’s holidays much brighter!


Onward Neighborhood House Fall/Winter 2013 Newsletter

Posted November 2013

Onward House’s Fall/Winter Newsletter is now available for viewing! Click here to read about our growing Community Computer Resource Center, an amazing forty year relationship with Glenbrook South High School, and a personal letter from the Executive Director himself!

If you would like to receive a copy of future Newsletters in the mail, please contact Nicole Lopez at


A Healthy Food Drive for Onward Neighborhood House Families

Posted October 2013

Longtime friends and partners of Onward Neighborhood House, The Second City, will be collecting healthy foods at their theatre to give to Onward Neighborhood House families!

Here is what you need to know:

Dates: Now until Friday, November 15th

Bin Locations: The Second City Main Stage Box Office (1616 N. Wells)
The Training Center (230 W North Ave, 4th Floor of Piper's Alley)
The Reception Desk (230 W North Ave, 3rd Floor of Piper's Alley)

What to donate: Non-perishable, healthy foods like canned fruits & vegetables in their own juices, broth-based soups, whole wheat crackers, oatmeal, whole grain pastas & rice, unsalted nuts, pretzels, etc.

Make sure to stop by The Second City to donate!


The 6th Annual Charity Golf Tournament was a success!

Posted September 2013

The Annual Charity Golf Tournament on Thursday, September 12th at Ruffled Feathers Golf Club in Lemont, IL was a success- thanks to all those who participated, volunteered and sponsored! We would especially like to thank Transparent Container and Inteliquent for, once again, being presenting sponsors of this great event. We would also like to thank the following companies for sponsoring the outing-you all helped make this day enjoyable and a success in support of Onward House’s Belmont Cragin center. Make sure to take a look at pictures from this event on our Facebook page!


Stop by Onward Neighborhood House to sign our 120th Birthday Banner!

Posted July 2013

Come to our West Town or Belmont Cragin site anytime during July to sign our 120th Birthday Banner! Whether you went to Onward House as a child, live in the community, worked or volunteered at Onward House, or utilized any of our services, we hope you will join us for this monumental celebration! You can leave a signature, memory, or message to commemorate your experience with Onward Neighborhood House.


Onward House Spring/Summer 2013 Newsletter

Posted June 2013

Spring/Summer Newsletter
Onward Neighborhood House’s Spring 2013 newsletter is now available online. Click here to read about our 120th anniversary, our expanding adult education program, and one auxiliary board member’s dedication to our mission.

We have also released an Annual Report to thank all of our supporters and update you on Onward Neighborhood House’s financial position at the end of Fiscal Year 2012. We are very grateful for everyone who has supported Onward Neighborhood House through their time and gifts.

If you would like to receive a hard copy of the newsletter in the future, please contact Emilie Bowman at, to be added to our mailing list.



Thank you to all those who made our 7th annual gala possible

Posted March 2013

This year, Onward House is celebrating 120 years of service in Chicago. We began the celebration at Venue One with our 7th annual Night of Bright Futures Gala on March 2. Guests enjoyed delicious hors d’oeuvres from Blue Plate Catering and dessert provided by Metropolis Coffee. Guests danced to the music of TVK Orchestra in between browsing the silent auction tables and purchasing raffle tickets. Even after a long night of fun, some guests went to Lumen for the after party.

Thank you to Inteliquent, Transparent Container, Sidley Austin LLP, Chapman & Cutler, Whitney, PwC, FTI Consulting, MidAmerican Group, Northern Trust, BMO, and Quality Catering for Kids for sponsoring the event. We truly appreciate their ongoing support of our mission. Thank you to everyone who contributed or attended the event! Your generous support helped to raise over $42,000 for Onward House programs in the West Town and Belmont Cragin neighborhoods.

You can see more photos of the event by Ollie Photography, Inc. by clicking here.
We hope that you will be able to join us next year!

Mark Your Calendars- Our Annual Night of Bright Futures Gala is March 2, 2013

Posted December 2012

This year, Onward House will celebrate 120 years of service and our seventh annual Night of Bright Futures Gala at Venue One at 1044 W. Randolph in Chicago from 7:30-11:30 pm.

As always, the evening will include friendly faces, heavy hors d’oeuvres, drinks, dancing, live and silent auction and much more!

For more information or to purchase tickets for $125, visit or

All proceeds benefit the people served by Onward Neighborhood House.

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Our Mission

The mission of Onward Neighborhood House is to empower families and individuals in need to achieve their full potential in a community-based setting through participant-driven educational, recreational and social service programs.

Onward House Locations

Administrative Offices
5413 W. Diversey Ave.
Chicago, IL 60639

Ph: 312.666.6726
Fax: 312.666.6735

Belmont Cragin
5423 W. Diversey Ave.
Chicago, IL 60639

Ph: 773.622.3215
Fax: 773.622.4074

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