In the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Chicago Football Classic (CFC) and its partner, Sherman Dodge, continue to offer support to underserved communities and college-bound students. On Thursday, August 20, CFC founders Larry Huggins and Everett Rand joined Sherman Dodge owner Dave Dickens to present a brand-new Ford E450 van to Habilitative Systems Inc. (HSI) a human services agency based on the west side of Chicago.
“We are grateful for strong partners like Sherman Dodge who are helping us continue to make an impact in our community without our annual game taking place this fall,” said Chicago Football Classic founder, Larry Huggins. HSI services are critical to the community and we could not think of a more deserving organization to receive this vehicle from Sherman Dodge.”
HSI aids a variety of individuals in Chicago with developmental disabilities, mental illness, and substance abuse, as well as offers youth and family services. According to Donald Dew, HSI president, and CEO, the van will be used to reach more of Chicago’s underserved communities.
“Having this 16-passenger, fully-accessible vehicle is significant because as we all know the pandemic has created a tremendous amount of isolation, and more so for people with special needs,” Dew said. “ This van will help us increase outreach and services in the community.”
HSI is also the lead agency for the Counting on Chicago Coalition (COCC) and the largest Illinois census regional intermediary and grant recipient of the state of Illinois. The COCC is comprised of 30 social service agencies from across Chicago. HSI, along with ITS 30 partners, is charged with promoting the census and educating marginalized populations to ensure the hardest-to-reach residents are counted in the 2020 census.
“We know if we’re not fairly counted, we don’t get our fair share of federal resources back into the Chicago area” noted Dew.
In addition to the van donation to HSI, Sherman Dodge donated a Jeep Wrangler to the CFC, which it plans to raffle to help raise funds for the Chicago Football Classic Scholarship Fund. Last week, the CFC awarded $100,000 in scholarships and brand-new laptops for remote learning to 20 deserving African-American high school graduates attending historically Black colleges and universities this fall.
“Over 10 years, Sherman Dodge has contributed over a million dollars to the Chicago Football Classic,” Huggins said. “The only reason we can do what we do is because of our generous sponsors.”