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Give Chicago

Celebrating Chicagoans and charities that make a difference.

Students at Octavio Paz elementary open their gifts provided through the Chicago Sun-Times’ Letters to Santa program at the school’s annual holiday party. | Mark Brown/Sun-Times
Students at Octavio Paz elementary open their gifts provided through the Chicago Sun-Times’ Letters to Santa program at the school’s annual holiday party.
Mark Brown/Sun-Times

Over the course of our 70-plus-year history, our newspaper has had its fair share of taglines, including “The Bright One,” “The Picture Newspaper” and our current “The Hardest-Working Paper in America.”

This special section reminds us of another of those slogans: “Credible. Colorful. Charitable.”

For decades, our Chicago Sun-Times Charity Trust has been making holiday dreams come true for tens of thousands of Chicago Public Schools students through its “Letters to Santa” program.

This past summer, we launched a companion initiative, “Chicago Reads,” that provided free books to thousands of schoolchildren, too.

None of this would be possible without you, our readers. So today, we’re inviting you to learn more about the charitable work of some key community partners: UChicago Medicine, the Northern Illinois Food Bank, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Allstate, Merit School of Music, Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter and the Chicago Fire Foundation, charitable arm of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club.

This “Give Chicago” section is the brainchild of our advertising department, which will be donating space to our aforementioned partners in the upcoming year. To learn more about that initiative, click here.

We’re supplementing this section with stories from a new feature called “Doing Well,” which frequently runs in “Well,” our weekly wellness and lifestyle section. Doing Well stories aim to highlight the work of people and not-for-profit organizations that help us lift each other up. We see them as an essential part of providing a well-rounded news report that appeals to a wide, regional audience.

Speaking of lifting each other up, it seems fitting here to highlight the work of one of Chicago’s best journalists, our very own Mark Brown. Every year, Brown kicks off our Letters to Santa program with a column. He did that last year by profiling Adrian Gonzalez, who shared a story that reminds us how one act of kindness can change a life.

As an 8-year-old at Jungman Elementary School in Pilsen, Adrian Gonzalez got a gift from the Sun-Times’ Letters to Santa program. Now, he coordinates his company’s participation in the program.
Mark Brown/Sun-Times

From Brown’s column:

Toward the end of the column, Mark includes some parting wisdom from Gonzalez: “For anybody that does this, I want to say thank you. . . . Whoever gave me a gift 22 years ago, I want to say thank you. I want them to know that I remember it, and I appreciate it. And I spend so much time giving back partly because of that.”

It’s a cycle we hope repeats itself as you peruse this section.

In the meantime, keep doing well. And thank you for readership.

Chris Fusco

Editor-in-Chief

For details about Letters to Santa, Chicago Reads and the Sun-Times Charity Trust, go to charitytrust.suntimes.com.

Click here to download today’s special Give Chicago print section.

Give Chicago cover

Here are the “Doing Well” stories appearing in today’s Give Chicago section:

Vote for your favorite charity partner by clicking here.

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