Our Change Philosophy

The inclusive approach we take goes by a lot of names—comprehensive, holistic, integrated, multi-modal. At the core, we know that for long-term change to happen — big or small — we have to adopt a deeper approach to supporting individuals and a community.

What We’re Up Against

People don’t lead single-issue lives. Individual problems exacerbate other problems. Isolation and poverty from a lack of opportunity, generations deep, cause a sense of hopelessness.

A single person might experience:

  • Limited access to fresh, healthy food
  • PTSD from experiencing or committing violence
  • Police brutality
  • Abuse
  • Incarceration
  • Fear of walking outside because of violence
  • Sexual assault
  • Discrimination
  • Lack of safe transportation
  • Housing insecurity
  • Hunger
  • Low educational support or attainment
  • Illiteracy or partial literacy
  • Mental illness
  • Substance abuse
  • Child support and family law cases
  • Isolation
  • Hopelessness
  • Poverty and joblessness
  • Lack of healthcare access

All these problems weave together into a web that is hard to escape. 

Think of it this way

If you get a job but can’t get there, you can’t keep a job.

If you don’t have clean clothes and you’re hungry, you might make it to school but you won’t learn your best.

If you attempt to stem violence without providing opportunity, you’re planting a seed without watering it.

If you rally around children but not their caregivers, you provide temporary help.

If you come into a community without becoming part of the community, everyone misses out.

Our Approach


We engage and employ residents to lead our programs, acting as change agents, activists, and role models. At the core of every I Grow program you will find community involvement. This plants the seeds for a connected, engaged, and empowered community.

I Grow Chicago’s programming supports:

  • Mentorship and skill building
  • Restorative justice and community building
  • Yoga and mindfulness
  • Creative expression
  • Urban farming and food access
  • Other needed supportive services



Comprehensive work can create comprehensive change. This positive change happens when we approach all the issues as the same issue, at the same time. It happens when we approach the whole person and the whole community, at the same time.

Our approach creates space for larger changes:

  • Fostering connection
  • Nurturing a sense of belonging
  • Promoting wellness
  • Preserving dignity
  • Championing justice

The Path to Peace

We tend to each problem and each person individually and as a part of a system, as part of a neighborhood, as part of a community. We advocate for intergenerational efforts and interdisciplinary approaches. We know everyone from the youngest neighbors to our community elders have much to offer and can all benefit from holistic support.

Our approach aims to create peace for individuals and communities. When hope and peace are nurtured, we can change a life, a street, a neighborhood and a community. We can change the world.

Philosophy in Action

Love lives in public