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Anne’s Haven In Portage Park Needs Help Raising Money For Its Women’s Workforce Development Program

The organization is raising money to help get its women workforce program off the ground and to expand other services to the community.

Anne's Haven, 5629 W. Irving Park Road, pictured April 5, 2022 in Portage Park.
Julie Egeland
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PORTAGE PARK — A Far Northwest Side nonprofit for women-identifying folks hopes to create a workforce development program — if it can get enough financial assistance.

Anne’s Haven, 5629 W. Irving Park Road, offers wellness, professional and personal development programs for women looking to expand their skills and network. It opened in 2016 and became a nonprofit in 2020.

Over the past year, the nonprofit received two city grants to start a workforce education program for women looking to start a career, gain skills and find solid employment, founder Janet Giangrasse said.

But the grants were not enough to cover the program’s expenses. Anne’s Haven needs more financial assistance to create the program, which will be its first one as a nonprofit and the first since the pandemic hit. The organization is collecting money via a GoFundMe fundraiser that started in 2020. It has raised more than $4,900 and has a goal of $15,000.

The six-month program will offer job training, resume building and opportunities for women, Giangrasse said. The program is open to anyone but is geared toward low-income Latina women, which the nonprofit mostly serves.

“When we become a 501(c)3, there was no place like Anne’s, so we had to [apply] for different grants because people did not understand what we offered,” Giangrasse said.

Giangrasse said money raised will also go toward expanding other programs at Anne’s Haven, including ones focused on social groups for elders in the community, women’s wellness, youth leadership and supporting mothers who have lost children to gun violence.

Credit: Julie Egeland
A list of events hang by the door of Anne’s Haven, 5629 W. Irving Park Road, on April 5, 2022.

The programs are directed by community leaders and come from a desire to support other women and create a strong network of talents and skill-transferring, Giangrasse said.

“It’s women that say, ‘I need this and I want to do this,'” Giangrasse said.

Giangrasse opened the event space and program incubator organization as an ode to her mother, Anne McNicholas-Giangrasse, who envisioned a life without barriers for women and a hub for collaboration and connection.

Before the pandemic, Anne’s Haven routinely held private events, workshops, support groups and classes that attracted women from all over. The organization also hosted toy drives, clothing swaps and benefit concerts, and it partnered with nearby nonprofits, businesses and local artists.

Since becoming a nonprofit, the organization has struggled to get donations for its programs, and the pandemic put a damper on revenue with no in-person events. But as the space gets back to normal, Giangrasse hopes to attract folks and create programs that can benefit the entire community.

“It’s important for women to know we are here,” she said. “Not only that they bring what they want, but to see what other women are offering … to let them know we have women in Chicago who are incredible and have amazing things to offer each other.”

Credit: Julie Egeland
Anne’s Haven, 5629 W. Irving Park Road, started in 2016 and is a tribute to the founder’s mother, Anne McNicholas-Giangrasse.

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