Community Partners Foster Student Success

Northeastern Illinois University has many community partners who assist undocumented immigrants through resources and advocacy. Our relationship with these community groups is invaluable as we strive not only to improve services for undocumented students, but also to increase our advocacy for the retention of these students.


P.O. Box 08290
Chicago, Ill. 60608
(773) 609-4252

The Anhelo Project is a group of student leaders, alumni and staff from various campus-based organizations at high schools, colleges and universities in Chicago. Our goal is to support undocumented students, who despite growing up in the United States and earning their high school diplomas, continuously face challenging roadblocks when pursuing a post-secondary education.

We define an undocumented student as someone who is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. In addition, their biggest obstacle is financial need due to ineligibility for federal and state financial aid. Since the fall of 2009, the Dream Gala Committee (The Anhelo Project) has raised funds in an attempt to award scholarships to undocumented students who are in dire need of financial assistance. Our goal is to continue raising funds in order to further the education of undocumented students who are leaders in their communities.

AFIRE Chicago

4300 N. Hermitage Ave.
Chicago, Ill. 60613
(773) 580-1025

A recently formed Chicago advocacy group for immigrant rights, the Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE), supports comprehensive immigration reform and more just treatment of undocumented immigrants. Since late last year, AFIRE has been using conversation about readings by Pablo Neruda, Franz Kafka, Toni Cade Bambara and others to develop its organizational structure and mission.

Discussions have been facilitated by AFIRE directors Jerry Clarito and Arnold de Villa, who both attended a facilitation training workshop co-sponsored by the Illinois Humanities Council and the Project on Civic Reflection last summer. Civic reflection provided important support to AFIRE’s organizational development and has become part of AFIRE’s culture.

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​Cambodian Association of Illinois

2831 W. Lawrence Ave.
Chicago, lll. 60625
(773) 878-7090

The Cambodian Association of Illinois (CAI) is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit, comprehensive social service organization founded in 1976 by a group of Cambodian refugee volunteers who responded to the needs of Cambodians who were resettling in Chicago after fleeing the tyranny, brutality and torture of the Khmer Rouge genocide in which two million Cambodians perished. CAI services some 5,000 Cambodians in Illinoisover 3,000 in Chicagoall of whom are Cambodian refugees or the children of refugees who escaped the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge and the Cambodian Killing Fields. The Cambodian Association of Illinois is the only non-profit organization in the Chicago metropolitan area that provides bilingual programming to address the interrelated social and economic needs of our local Cambodian American population.



4749 N. Kedzie Ave.
Chicago, Ill. 60625
(773) 583-1387

The Albany Park Neighborhood Council (APNC) is a grassroots community organization that unites youth and adults from Albany Park and surrounding communities to address issues of social, economic and racial justice. Since its founding in 2000, APNC has engaged more than 10,000 community residents in its organizing efforts to improve the quality of public education, preserve affordable housing, increase access to affordable and quality health care, promote the rights of the undocumented and increase youth employment and programming opportunities for young people.

APNC engages community members who live, work and go to school or worship in the diverse immigrant communities of Albany Park, Irving Park, North Park and West Ridge, located on Chicago’s Northwest Side.

Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago

231 S. State St. Suite #300
Chicago, Ill. 60604
(312) 506-0077  

The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (the Council) is the unifying force that brings together a wonderfully diverse American Muslim community in the greater Chicago region, Northern Illinois, and now increasingly, all of Illinois!

The American Muslim community in Illinois is diverse. Within the Council one can find a wide array of ethnicities, races and cultures including African Americans, Nigerians, South Asians, Arabs, Bosnians, Albanians, Turks, Latinos, Caucasians and many more. The Council brings these extraordinary communities together in cooperation and collaboration with one another and with the interfaith community and with community organizations, the academy and the public sector in general.


25 E. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, Ill. 60604
(312) 362-8701

Community-based service learning has a long tradition at DePaul University, and the College of Law exemplifies this practice through its clinical programs. Under faculty supervision and guidance, students sharpen their skills and knowledge while engaging in legal practice outside the formal classroom setting.

DePaul's legal clinics allow students to contribute to the community beyond the University by fulfilling fundamental societal needs. Such experiences help students to better understand the type of legal work they want to pursue after graduation and provide them with a strong sense of professional accomplishment.

ENLACE Chicago 

2756 S. Harding Ave.
Chicago, Ill. 60623
(773) 542-9233  

In 1990, a group of civic and community leaders in Little Village founded what was then called Little Village Community Development Corporation (LVCDC) and is now Enlace Chicago. This group of Little Village residents came together as volunteers to engage residents and provide community input in the redevelopment of the abandoned industrial park at 26th Street and Kostner Avenue. Through this effort, the LVCDC founders felt they needed to create an organization that would engage neighborhood residents in planning for their community’s redevelopment. While the 26th & Kostner project fell through for the developers, the residents remained organized and moved forward with the formation of the organization.

Enlace Chicago has four programs: Community Education, Economic and Community Development, Violence Prevention, and Organizing and Advocacy; more than 5,000 youth and adults are directly served. The organization’s impact reaches well beyond this number and benefits the 100,000 residents in the community by creating opportunities and resources.

Enlace Chicago is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of the residents of the Little Village community by fostering a physically safe and healthy environment in which to live and by championing opportunities for educational advancement and economic development.

Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

55 E. Jackson Blvd. Suite #2075
Chicago, Ill. 60604
(312) 332-7360  

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) is dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society.

In partnership with member organizations, the Coalition educates and organizes immigrant and refugee communities to assert their rights; promotes citizenship and civic participation; monitors, analyzes, and advocates on immigrant-related issues; and informs the general public about the contributions of immigrants and refugees. ICIRR, under the direction of its member organizations, works on various programs and campaigns that empower the immigrant community in Illinois.

Illinois Dream Fund

191 N. Wacker Dr. Suite #3700
Chicago, Ill. 60606 

We are witnessing a period of extraordinary growth within the undocumented immigrant community. The world is constantly changing, and with that change, come great challenges and opportunities. Regardless of what lies ahead, we are certain of one thing; access to education for undocumented immigrants, is essential for the growth of Illinois and this nation.

Tomorrow’s leaders will need to be able to be great thinkers, possessing both wisdom and depth of understanding. And they must have a profound sensitivity to people’s needs and motivations. The Illinois Dream Fund Scholarship seeks to create access to financial resources to further this growth and development for the immigrant leaders of tomorrow. With the generous offerings of private donors and in-kind donations, the Illinois Dream Fund Scholarship provides scholarships to undocumented students who are incoming freshmen or current undergraduates that possess at least a 2.5 GPA (on a 4 point scale).

Illinois Latino Council on Higher Education

P.O. Box 409368
Chicago, IL 60640 

Illinois Latino Council on Higher Education aims to create an awareness of issues impacting Latinos in higher education and provide a statewide forum for Latino educators, community representatives, and other supporters for the social and professional advancements of Latinos. ILACHE is a statewide organization dedicated to the advancement of the status of Latinos through educational policy reform, advocacy, identification of best practices, and the dissemination of research and information.

Today, ILACHE continues to serve as an action oriented, independent advocacy group for Latinos in higher education in the areas of access and equity as it relates to employment, admissions and legislation in the state of Illinois. Through their annual conference, ILACHE provides public forums and networking opportunities to Latino higher education professionals, and to create advocacy agendas, share best practices, and to explore new ways of affecting legislative and university policies. Striving for inclusion and voice, ILACHE continues to advocate for the needs of the Latino community and provides a statewide forum for dialogue on issues in higher education.

Korean American Resource and Cultural Center

6146 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, Ill. 60659
(773) 588-9158

In 1994, a group of low-income, recent immigrants in their late teens and early twenties began to meet and discuss issues facing the Korean American community of greater Chicago, now estimated at 80,000. Recognizing the need for an organization that empowers community members through organizing and advocacy, the Korean American Resource and Cultural Center (KRCC) opened its doors in March of 1995.

KRCC’s mission is to empower the Korean American community through education, social service, organizing/advocacy and culture. Locally, KRCC is a member of the Korean Human Service Providers Council, the Korean American Vote Coalition, the Coalition of Asian, African, Arab, European and Latino Immigrants of Illinois and the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

KRCC is the Chicago affiliate of the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium and has an affiliate center in Los Angeles.

Latinos Progresando

3047 W. Cermak Rd.
Chicago, Ill. 60623
(773) 542-7077  

When Latinos Progresando (LP) opened its doors in 1998, it was led by founder and current Executive Director Luis Gutierrez who was, at the time, just 24 years old and working as a volunteer. The son of Mexican immigrants, Luis was born and raised in southwest Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood—the largest Mexican community in the Midwest.

With the goal to give families access to the resources Latino Progresando needed to thrive, LP opened its first bank account with just $200. Today, LP is recognized as a community leader, reaching thousands of families every year, meeting immediate needs, putting our community’s story on center stage, investing in the next generation of leaders, and developing resources in the community through coalition building. LP also leads advocacy and policy efforts around issues impacting Chicago’s Mexican community.

Legal Assistance Foundation (LAF)

Immigrants and Workers’ Rights Practice Group
120 S. LaSalle Suite #900
Chicago, Ill. 60603
(312) 341-1070 

For the past 40 years, LAF (formerly the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago) has made its mark on justice for the poor in Cook County, providing direct legal services, advocacy, outreach and impact, protecting the legal rights of the most vulnerable in our society, including battered women, people with disabilities, public housing residents, applicants for and recipients of subsistence benefits and Medicaid, immigrants, children, the elderly, low-paid workers, people with HIV-AIDS, and nursing home residents.

LAF’s Immigration Project is committed to serving the direct legal needs of Illinois’ immigrant community and, in particular, expanding its services to reach vulnerable immigrant groups in Chicago, suburban Cook County and immigrants living elsewhere in Illinois. The Project provides legal information through a weekly phone line, and represents individuals applying for status through the Immigration Service, specializing in the area of domestic violence, other crimes related to the crime victim’s visa and the VAWA self-petition, and individuals in removal proceedings. The Immigration Project can also provide services related to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Logan Square Neighborhood Association 

2840 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, Ill. 60618 
(773) 384-4370  

The mission of Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA) is to convene networks of neighbors, schools, businesses, social service agencies, faith communities, and other organizations to collaborate for thriving communities in Logan Square, Avondale, and Lathrop Homes. LSNA is committed to empowering and maintaining these communities as diverse, safe, and affordable neighborhoods in which to live and work, learn and grow.

LSNA directly serves over 7,000 adults and children through these various programs, and the organizational work impacts tens of thousands more. In fact, as neighborhoods from across the nation and around the globe look to LSNA for replicable models of community leadership and development, LSNA stands as a true example of how one community can transform the world.

Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund 

11 E. Adams Suite #700
Chicago, Ill. 60603
(312) 427-0701

Founded in 1968, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) is the nation’s leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the “law firm of the Latino community,” MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights and political access.

MALDEF strives to implement programs that are structured to bring Latinos into the mainstream of American political and socio-economic life, to provide better educational opportunities, to encourage participation in all aspects of society and to offer a positive vision for the future. Unique to MALDEF is an approach that combines advocacy, educational outreach and litigation strategies to achieve socio-economic change.

MALDEF has achieved significant legal victories with the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Plyler v. Doe. The Court struck down a Texas law that allowed districts to charge tuition to children of undocumented immigrant parents. MALDEF’s victory opened school doors to all students equally. In 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court heard seven challenges to a Texas Congressional redistricting plan. Only MALDEF’s prevailed. The New York Times described it as “the most important voting rights case of the decade, rejecting the statewide gerrymandering claim brought by...other plaintiffs while accepting the Voting Rights Act challenge in Southwestern Texas, brought by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.” The case resulted in new lines drawn for the 23rd Congressional District and a special election (where a MALDEF suit opened the polls early) resulting in the Latino community having the opportunity to elect its candidate of choice to Congress.

National Immigrant Justice Center

208 S. La Salle Suite #1818
Chicago, Ill. 60604
(312) 660-1370  

Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) is dedicated to ensuring human rights protections and access to justice for all immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

NIJC provides direct legal services to and advocates for these populations through policy reform, impact litigation, and public education. Since its founding three decades ago, NIJC has been unique in blending individual client advocacy with broad-based systemic change.

Thanks to the support of hundreds of pro bono attorneys from the nation’s leading law firms, NIJC has made critical advances in the lives of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers. NIJC provides legal services to more than 10,000 individuals each year and maintains a success rate of 90 percent in obtaining asylum for those fleeing persecution in their home countries. NIJC and its pro bono attorneys have been on the vanguard of federal impact litigation and advocacy, setting positive precedents for those seeking human rights protections within our borders.


2026 S. Blue Island Ave. 
Chicago, Ill. 60608
(312) 666-2663

By focusing on the development of community leaders, the Pilsen Neighbors Community Council (PNCC) has worked in alliance with churches, other community-based organizations and schools to make people's voice heard on a path to citizenship, education funding reform, economic development, and health care.

PNCC has been instrumental in bringing new institutions and capital improvements to the neighborhood. These include:

  • Allocation and construction of Benito Juarez High School
  • Allocation and construction of Harrison Park Field House
  • Allocation and construction of the West Side Technical Institute
  • Allocation of $26 million in city infrastructure funds between 1995-1999
  • Planning and development of Alivio Medical Center, a not-for-profit community health center located in the Heart of Chicago and serving Pilsen, Little Village, and Back of the Yards

Since 1972, PNCC has have been partially supported by the summer event, Fiesta Del Sol. The Fiesta brought one million people to the neighborhood in 1995 to enjoy Latino music, food and entertainment.

United African Organization

3424 S. State St.
Chicago, Ill. 60616
(312) 949-9980

United African Organization (UAO) is a dynamic coalition of African community-based organizations that promote social and economic justice, civic participation, and empowerment of African immigrants and refugees in Illinois. UAO advocates on behalf of the African community through democratic and inclusive organizational structures, as well as partnership with other immigrant rights organizations. They engage in activities that promote the cultural, educational and economic empowerment of African immigrants and refugees and strive to dispel uncomplimentary stereotypes and promote positive image of Africans through various educational seminars, workshops, conferences, and publications.

UAO addresses issues of discrimination encountered by constituents and seeks to assist them in the areas of immigration, employment, social services, and economic development. They promote the teaching of African history and culture and, in doing so, develop and preserve them by all possible means.

World Relief

3507 W. Lawrence Ave.
Chicago, Ill. 60625
(773) 583-9191  

World Relief believes God has equipped the churchthe most diverse social network on the planetto be at the center of these stories, leveraging time, energy and resources to join the vulnerable in their time of need. They practice principles of transformational development to empower local churches in the United States and around the world so they can serve the vulnerable in their communities.

With initiatives in education, health, child development, agriculture, food security, anti-trafficking, immigrant services, micro-enterprise, disaster response and refugee resettlement, they work holistically with the local churches to stand for the sick, the widow, the orphan, the alien, the displaced, the devastated, the marginalized, and the disenfranchised.