Northwestern Settlement


Northwestern Settlement was founded in January 1891 by leaders of Northwestern University as a separate and financially independent institution. It formally opened its doors at its current location in 1901. Northwestern University Settlement is the oldest Settlement House in the city of Chicago next to Jane Addams Hull-House, and it is one of the few traditional settlement houses remaining in the entire country.

Northwestern Settlement is run by a 24 member Board of Directors and 74 full and part time staff members. The board is responsible for financial oversight and policy setting; the staff is responsible for developing and implementing relevant programming. In keeping with the population we serve, 62% of the staff are minorities and 62% are female.

The Settlement equips its neighbors with the tools they need to succeed. Our entire program is based upon the concept of individual and family self-help, and the underlying philosophy that every person deserves to maximize his or her potential to become a productive member of society. We focus on providing resources to our neighbors in three key areas: assistance for the immediate short-term crisis; knowledge, opportunities, and support to break out of poverty over the long-term; and access to a network of additional programs and services

  • Our staff and hundreds of volunteers work with nearly 8,000 neighbors each year through core programming and 38,000 through our theater.
  • The Settlement programs fall into three main categories: Youth, Arts, and Social Services. Education is woven into all three areas.
  • Current programming includes a school age program, year-round residential camping, a teen program, a pre-school, a food pantry, a scholarship program, an emergency fund, an award winning professional family theater, an AmeriCorps program, two 21st Century Community Learning Center programs, a senior citizens club, and English as a Second Language classes.
  • Last year, 58% of our clients were Hispanic, 29% were Black and 14% were White; 44% were under 18 and 98% were low-income.
  • The Settlement has always been a stable, fiscally sound, conservatively managed institution. We have a diverse revenue base, relying on private donors and earned income for 60% of our $4.4 million annual budget.

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