Blue Sky Bakery & Cafe, 3720 N. Lincoln Ave., is one of more than 100 organizations in the running for a grant from the Chicago Sun-Times Charity Trust. In total, the trust will award $500,000 in grants to charities that support youth in education, art and civic engagement, with Blue Sky aiming for a $20,000 slice of that pie.
“While business at the cafe has grown each month, our grant income is down considerably, making it very difficult to operate as efficiently as we would like,” Blue Sky owner Lisa Thompson wrote in an email to supporters. “This is where you can make a tremendous difference.”
Through the Sun Shine Project, the trust opened nominations for deserving organizations to the general public. Blue Sky met the eligibility requirements and has now moved on to the project’s second phase: gathering votes and comments from its fans. Voters are required to register on the Sun Shine website; only one vote allowed per person. Voting ends Oct. 9, with the trust debating recipients through Nov. 6.
Blue Sky Inn has been providing educational and creative arts programming to homeless youth in Chicago since 2001. The Blue Sky Employment Program was established in 2007 to provide at-risk youth with paid, part-time jobs in a supportive environment. The program began in a shared-use kitchen, and in April 2008, Blue Sky Bakery & Café opened to create a home for these services.