Christen Wiggins has been promoted to program director of We Rise Together: For an Equitable & Just Recovery, a funders collaborative working with community members to respond to the urgent economic needs of the Chicago region’s Black and Latinx communities.
As program director, Christen oversees grantmaking, and partnerships. Christen has served as We Rise Together program manager since 2021, coming to the role with more than 20 years of experience working with and for nonprofits in the fields of community development and affordable housing.
She established We Rise Together’s grantmaking strategy and has been on board since the first grants were issued in September 2021. Since then, We Rise Together has granted more than $34 million to Black and Latinx communities, unlocking some $328 million in neighborhood anchor real estate investments, as well as support for workforce development and Black and Latinx businesses. Envisioned as a five-year initiative, We Rise Together is at the mid-way point.
“The region’s Black and Latinx communities have strong visions for their development, and we’ve seen the pent-up demand for flexible capital to finance these developments,” said Christen. “We Rise Together has celebrated the grand openings of eight of our 32 neighborhood anchor grant recipients in less than a year-and-a-half, as well as many groundbreakings. We look forward to supporting the success of the rest of these anchor projects, and services that strengthen employment and support Black and Latinx businesses in the communities we serve.”
We Rise Together is housed at The Chicago Community Trust as part of the Community Impact team, which will continue to support the initiative with its deep bench of staff expertise.