Who We Are
It is our mission to not only providing the merriment and gift-giving that fill hearts with joy but also the life-long gift of possibilities… To open up opportunities to allow families and youth to expand, pursue and realize their dreams through scholarships, educational tools, and technology gifts, and recognition of community achievement and excellence.
Since 1996, bringing smiles, joy, and the true spirit of the holidays to thousands of deserving families has been our mission. In our 22 year history we have reached the underserved communities of the south and west sides of Chicago; impacting 17 wards and raising almost 2 million dollars through sponsorships, donations, and in-kind contributions.
Christmas in the Wards began as Christmas in Englewood Foundation, founded by local businessman and Riteway-Huggins Construction CEO, Larry Huggins. As a youth, Larry Huggins grew up in the underserved Englewood community on the Chicago South Side. As an adult, he never forgot his roots or the community that supported his endeavors. For several years, Christmas in Englewood Foundation was supported by grassroots fundraising from friends, local business, and civic partnerships, with the first event in 1996 raising $7000. Fellow minority businessman, Everett Rand, CEO of Midway Wholesalers shared Huggins passion and commitment to serve and invest in Chicago’s communities; joining the organization their combined efforts brought awareness to the cause and growing investment from political leaders and the business world at large.
In 2011, the foundation reorganized as Christmas in the 8th and 34th Wards and became a 501c3, nonprofit organization; two monumental changes ushered in a new chapter garnering broader community outreach and support. By 2014, realizing its growth, impact, and potential; Christmas in the 8th and 34th Wards became Christmas in The Wards signifying the organization's desire to reach and serve as many and one day ALL of Chicago’s underrepresented communities.
Today, as Christmas in the Wards, our passion and dedication to uplift the lives of families and students throughout Chicagoland during the holiday season and beyond is realized through incredible partnerships, sponsors, and an engaged board of business, civic, and community leaders. In our twenty-four-year history, we have served 12,000 families from 25 wards across Chicago’s south, west, and north side communities.
Join us in our cause!