Background on the Illinois African American Coalition for Prevention

The Illinois African American Coalition for Prevention is a membership-based, charitable organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 2005, this statewide charity organization helped to strengthen the Prevention Initiative in under-served communities, especially the African American group.

Funded by the Illinois State Board of Education, the Prevention Initiative was established with Public Act 85-1046 and became effective July 13, 1988. The Prevention Initiative provides grants to programs that work with children from birth to 3 years old and their families. The goal is to build a strong foundation to prepare children for later school success.

Illinois African American Coalition for Prevention (ILAACP), aware of social and health disparities in Illinois aims is to ensure that African American children and families in the city receive adequate help and assistance. 

Based on a report published by the Illinois Department of Public Health in 2011, the black population in Illinois had a lower median household income compared to the black or black population in the United States. There was a wide gap in income disparities between black income when compared to the income of whites and other races. 

Black households, based on the report, were the highest percentage of food stamps recipients in Illinois. The African American community in Illinois also had the highest percentage of children less than 18 years old living below the poverty level.

The black population’s unemployment rate (as well as their levels of debt and requests for aid with their credit scores) was more than double (21.3%) compared to all other race and ethnicity groups. This figure was nearly three times that of whites. The health effects of unemployment go beyond lack of income. It also attributes to other factors such as stress, lack of health insurance, and low high school graduation rates.

ILACCP’s four pillars are:

1. Raise public awareness about how the social and health inequality negatively affects the Illinois’ African American communities. 
2. Identify, promote, and assess effective and culturally competent Prevention Initiatives, policies and strategies. 
3. Provide high-quality prevention and early intervention services through training, evaluation, and coaching of African American organizations.
 4. Educating Illinois taxpayers and legislators about the cost-effectiveness of prevention and early intervention by increase funding and resources for ILAACP members.

Some of the projects that ILACCP successfully launched include a partnership with Aetna Insurance. Aetna and ILACCP hosted screenings and discussions in a town hall meeting format around Illinois area to examine the sources of health disparities and therefore create policies to promote health equality. This was in partnership with the Health & Healthcare Disparities Committee of the Illinois House (HHDC).
The organization also launched several programs, one of which is called Choose Respect Illinois. CRI is a statewide, grant-making initiative providing schools, faith-based organizations, and youth-serving organizations with a mini-grant ($300k over 3 years) to implement Choose Respect, a healthy relationship/teen dating violence prevention curriculum targeting youth between the ages 11. Choose Respect Illinois was in collaboration with the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority, Illinois General Attorney’s Office, Illinois Center for Violence Prevention, and Center for Disease Control & Prevention. 
ILACCP also organized and facilitated the Affordable Care Act (ACA) town hall meetings and focus group. They established a partnership with libraries, social service organizations, churches, and community leaders to raise awareness for ACA enrollment throughout the Chicago area including Chatham, Auburn Gresham, and Greater Grand Crossing communities. They also help members of the community enroll in health care insurance coverage.