Episcopal Charities & Community Services


To transform lives, Episcopal Charities and Community Services supports and strengthens its ministry partners, congregational outreach programs, and other faith-based ministries of Christian service that offer hope to all people in the Diocese of Chicago.


Since Episcopal Charities and Community Services [ECCS] was founded in 1960, God has used this ministry to transform thousands of lives in the Diocese of Chicago. Today, this life-changing social outreach is accomplished through ECCS’ support of its ministry partners and, increasingly, through its New Ventures and Capacity Building initiatives. Each year, ECCS reaches more than 60,000 people in Northern Illinois.

This year, Episcopal Charities will:

  • Grant nearly $650,000 to support the work of its ministry partners, representing the largest single source of unrestricted grants for each agency.
  • Further support and strengthen its partners through the Capacity Building program by helping them manage effective governing boards, increase their fundraising, and better communicate their ministries.
  • Explore innovative, community-based partnerships to respond to some of today‘s most important, unmet social problems through the New Ventures initiative that already include Ezra Community Homes and Waukegan to College.

Episcopal Charities and Community Services is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization registered in Illinois and governed by an independent board of trustees chaired by Bishop Jeffrey D. Lee. The ministry of ECCS is funded through special and recurring gifts from individuals, gifts from congregations given directly to ECCS, proceeds from the annual Episcopal Charities Ball, grants from corporations and private foundations, new charitable bequests, and investment income.


  1. 1957 - The first “United Episcopal Charities Appeal” raises $37,000 as a result of a consolidated appeal for funding to support the work of eight partner agencies.
  2. 1960 - Episcopal Charities and Community Services is chartered in the State of Illinois as a 501(c)(3) public charity.
  3. 2000 - New Initiatives in Ministry grants help local congregations develop responses that meet their community’s unique needs.
  4. 2003 - Grants from The Chicago Community Trust and the Polk Bros. Foundation help launch the Capacity Building Program that helps partner agencies develop stronger governing boards, increase their fundraising, and raise visibility for their work in the Diocese.
  5. 2005 - Ravenswood Community Services is approved at convention as ECCS’ newest ministry partner.
  6. 2006 - ECCS’ board of trustees authorize additional funding to explore new ministry partnerships as New Ventures.
  7. 2011 - Episcopal Charities’ annual unrestricted grants and other funding to ministry partners over the past decade surpasses $11 million.

Opportunities for involvement

ECCS invites the people of the Diocese of Chicago to volunteer with one of its ministry partners, serve as a mentor to the young people of The Julian Year, consider serving on the ECCS Board or its committees, spread the word about the work of ECCS in your congregation, and make a financial gift. To learn more, please contact Michael Cleavenger, ECCS Director of Development, via email or at 312.751.3578.