Donor Spotlight: Cathaline Gray Carter

How did you get introduced to Community Renewal Society, and what prompted you to give for the first time?

I first heard of Community Renewal Society through the prison ministry at Trinity United Church of Christ. I went online and saw that Community Renewal Society was doing things that I wanted to do. I give to Community Renewal Society because it’s right here making a difference in Chicago and Illinois.

Of all the issues that Community Renewal Society works on, what is of most interest to you?

Prison reform is my thing, because our community has been so decimated by an explosion in the prison population. The prison population is booming on the backs of black and brown people. When you put people in jail, you ruin families and neighborhoods. It’s horrific.

Most of your activism is with the Chicago Teachers Union. How does giving to Community Renewal Society fit into your life of activism?

By being an organization that is respected, Community Renewal Society can do more than I could ever do alone. As I support Community Renewal Society, I push you forward to do those things that I can’t always show up for in person. The little bit of donation that I give, that’s just so I have my hand in the work.

You are one of our generous monthly donors. Was giving something you were raised to do?

I’ve always taken giving seriously. When I was growing up, I got five dollars per week. Out of that, I was supposed to ride to school, buy shorthand pads, typing paper, and lunch. I usually ended up walking to school so that I had my 50 cents for church. I know it sounds corny, but giving is how I say thanks for still being here. I’ve got to make my time here worthwhile. It cannot be just about me.

You are a lifelong Chicagoan, born at Provident Hospital. You’re also a retired Chicago Public Schools teacher. What are your dreams for Chicago?

I would like to see equity. I would like to see our children in schools having a chance. I’d like to see students with teachers who look like them, and if they don’t look like them, who care about them. I want their families to have jobs, a safe place to play. I want our communities to be fair. That’s my dream.

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