July 2024 Newsletter

I hope you’ve been having a great summer so far! With street fests, parades, sporting events, and more, Summertime Chi is in full swing. It’s hard to believe that Independence Day weekend is here! Wishing you and your loved ones a safe and happy celebration. If you have yet to find a location to watch a fireworks show, check out this article from NBC Chicago for where to watch fireworks across the Chicago area. 

My office has officially expanded our social media presence to Instagram! Be sure to follow our Instagram to stay up to date on events in the district, legislative and governmental program updates, and other communications from your Representative in Springfield. Click the link here to follow @repmargaretcroke!

In the Community 


Old Town Art Fair Ribbon Cutting

Thank you to the Old Town Triangle Association for inviting Commissioner Degnen, State Senator Feigenholtz, Alderman Knudsen, and me to participate in the opening day ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the Old Town Art Fair’s 74th year! This art fair is one of the oldest in the country and consists of over 220 nationally acclaimed artists, with an estimated 30,000 art lovers in attendance throughout the weekend. What a perfect way to start a lovely weekend!

HR0697 Presentation to the Junior League of Chicago

After giving a presentation on Illinois’ legislative process ahead of their advocacy day in Springfield, I had the honor of returning to the Junior League of Chicago house to present them with HR0697, a House Resolution I introduced in the General Assembly this spring to recognize and show support for the organization’s efforts to promote civic welfare and advance women leaders. I appreciated the opportunity to present this resolution to them and visit with members of this wonderful organization.

ELVN Meeting

Thank you to East Lakeview Neighbors for inviting me to attend your June meeting to give a recap on the Fiscal Year 2025 budget, the Governor’s focus on healthcare, my legislative efforts, and other Springfield happenings. It is always a pleasure to speak directly with constituents and to hear comments and concerns first-hand so that I can best advocate for you and your families in the State House.

Pride Parade

I joined fellow local, state, and national leaders at the Equality Illinois Pre-Parade Kickoff where Governor Pritzker signed two pieces of legislation into law– HB5507 to ensure options for changes to birth certificates to reflect someone’s identity, and SB2930 to require nonprofit organizations to publish their board makeups online in an effort to increase diversity among their leadership. It was great to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and these bills becoming law!

Grant Opportunities

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is looking to assist Illinois-based businesses and organizations seeking federal grants through their Federal Grant Support Program! The state-funded grant will help Illinois compete for additional federal funding to strengthen our businesses and communities that align with the State’s economic development objectives. Eligible applicants are encouraged to apply through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to have part of their match covered by state dollars. Applicants can apply for this program while they are preparing an application for a federal grant. More information can be found here.

The Governor, in partnership with DCEO, is providing direct relief to families across Illinois through the State’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The energy bill assistance program assists eligible families with natural gas, propane, and electricity bills. Applications will be taken on a first come first serve basis through August 15, 2024, or until funds are exhausted. To learn more about this program, please visit here.

Need help navigating DCEO’s grant process? Grantees may contact the Grant Help Desk by e-mail at CEO.GrantHelp@illinois.gov or submit a question using this form.

The Illinois Arts Council (IAC) is pleased to announce the release of the Fiscal Year 2025 (FY25) General Operating Support (GOS) and Youth Employment in the Arts (YEA) Grant Application. As part of IAC’s Bold New Changes grant funding revamp, these applications are combined and simplified to provide general operating support and youth employment support to eligible Illinois non-profit organizations. Additional changes to these grant programs include initiating a 3-year cycle for General Operating Support grantees, expanding the eligible ages and grant period for youth employment, and shifting to a regional model for application review. Potential applicants can review the GOS & YEA webpage for eligibility requirements and the Application Guidelines which provide complete instructions. The FY25 GOS & YEA application deadline is Friday, July 19, 2024, at 11:59pm in IAC’s online Salesforce grant portal.

DCEO’s Film and TV Workforce Training Program. The goal of the Film and TV Workforce Training Program is to train Illinois high school graduates (or equivalent) in entry level film and television production positions. These positions can include on set training (production assistants, hair and make up), office training (office production assistants, location assistants, production accountants), and other entry level positions to meet the increased demand for more workers to staff the growing number of productions in Illinois. The FY25 Film and TV Workforce Training Program application deadline is Tuesday, July 9, 2024 at 5:00pm through this application link. More information, including detailed application instructions and eligibility requirements can be found here


Do you want to stay up-to-date on active state grant opportunities? Subscribe to Illinois NOFO Notifications to receive a weekly digest of Funding Opportunities (NOFO) offered by state agencies. 

To subscribe, send a blank email (subject and body) to subscribe-omb-gata-grants@lists.illinois.gov.

Constituent Services Highlight

Going on any road trips this summer? Although we cannot prevent speeding tickets or flat tires, our office can help prevent headaches by providing guidance on vehicle registration, titling, license renewal, and other services through the Secretary of State’s office. After nearly a year of waiting for a title, Sam reached out to our office to see if we could help him in obtaining the title for his refurbished car. We were thrilled to be able to secure it for him in a matter of days. 


Examples of other state-related programs and common constituent inquiries include:


If you are not sure who to contact regarding an issue pertaining to government affairs, my team is always happy to connect you with the appropriate resource. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us at (773) 348-8974 or via email at info@repcroke.com.

Community Updates:


Lincoln Central Association’s Carnival Summer Block Party

Lincoln Central Association is excited to again partner with Carnival Grocery for the Summer Block Party on Saturday, July 13 from12-3PM at the intersection of W Dickens and N Lincoln Ave. This family-friendly event will feature face painting, a balloon artist, games from Lakeshore Sports and Fitness, music, and more. This event is free to enter and open to the public. 


Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce’s Armitage & Halsted Sidewalk Sale

LPCC’s 2024 Armitage & Halsted Sidewalk Sale returns this summer on Saturday, July 20th, and Sunday July 21st from 11AM-5PM each day. Enjoy open air shopping, one-of-a-kind merchandise, and amazing specials at over 20 locations! The sale will take place on Armitage, from Racine to Halsted, and on Halsted, from just south of Armitage to Webster

For more information, including businesses participating, please visit the LPCC’s website here


Sheffield Garden Walk

The 53rd Annual Sheffield Garden Walk will take place on Saturday, July 20th and Sunday, July 21st from 12-5PM each day. This free community event will feature a self-guided walking tour of 40+ beautiful gardens, live music, interactive installations, architecture walks, and more!

To kick the event off, the Sheffield Neighborhood Association is hosting a Family Fest at Oscar Mayer school on July 20th from 10AM-1PM. For more information on this event, please visit the SNA’s website here


19th Police District Council Mini Series on Race and Policing

Join the 19th Police District Council for the second meeting of their two-part, interactive mini series on race and policing with Romeo Jackson. This important discussion about the intersection of policing and race will take place on July 24th at 6:30PM at Third Space Alliance (716 W Addison).

The council’s traditional monthly meeting will be held on July 31st at St. Clement Church (642 W Deming). 

To RSVP for either of these meetings, please see the link here (although not required). 


18th Police District Council July Meeting

Join the 18th Police District Council for their July meeting, focusing on the latest updates on the safety plan for the upcoming Democratic National Convention. Glen Brooks, Chicago Police Department Director of Community Policing will share his insights on the DNC security plan. This meeting will take place on July 23rd at 6PM at DePaul University, Arts and Letters Hall (2315 N Kenmore Ave), Room 123. Paid parking is available at the DePaul University parking lot (2331 N Sheffield). Meter parking may also be available on the street. 18th District Commander Michael Barz (or a representative from 18th) will also attend to answer any questions.

To RSVP (preferred, but not required) please fill out the form linked here


Lincoln Park Zoo Summer Wine Fest

Lincoln Park Zoo’s Annual Summer Wine Fest is July 26th, starting at 6PM with VIP Admission, and 7PM for General Admission. This 21+ event will feature more than 50 different varietals from 20 wineries, all of which you’ll enjoy while admiring the zoo’s lush gardens and animal habitats, featuring more than 170 animal species from around the world. 

To learn more and to purchase tickets, please visit the zoo’s website here


Chicago Parks Foundation’s Pitch in for the Parks

Pitch in for the Parks is back for its fourth summer! The Chicago Parks Foundation provides volunteer groups with supplies and support to independently host clean-ups at any of Chicago’s 600+ parks. Thanks to outstanding community enthusiasm, the effort has quickly grown, and with thousands of volunteers and hundreds of clean-up events! There are a few opportunities to participate in this effort in the district, including: 


Cook County Sheriff’s Office Tracked Vehicle Partnership

The Cook County Sheriff’s office recently introduced a program which allows the public to give consent to law enforcement to access their vehicle tracking information through the manufacturer in the event their vehicle is stolen. Access to this information will help local law enforcement immediately track and recover a stolen vehicle. If you’re interested in registering your vehicle for this program, please fill out the vehicle consent form.




Explore More Illinois: Digital Museum Passes through Chicago Public Libraries

Chicago Public Library’s museum passes are now digital and expanded across Illinois! New attractions include a wide range of museums, historical societies, zoos and more. This pass program is accessible online 24/7, with no need to visit a CPL location to check out or return a pass.

To reserve digital passes, visit CPL’s digital museum pass website here, log in with your library card number and PIN to see all the amazing offers from familiar and new attractions, and make your reservation online. Remember to bring confirmation of your reservation to your destination. 


Register your Business for the Cook County Military & Veterans Discount Card Program

The Cook County Clerk’s office is excited to share the Cook Co. Military & Veterans Discount Card Program, an initiative aimed at honoring our veterans and military members by offering them exclusive discounts at local businesses. 

If you are a small business owner and would like to show support for our military and veterans by offering discounted goods or services, please fill out the form linked here


Mental Health Mobile Crisis Response

Residents of the 19th Police District are encouraged to keep the above contact information for Mental Health Mobile Crisis Response. If you or someone you know may be struggling with a mental health crisis, please utilize these resources.

PAWS Shoutout


We have a new PAWS Chicago pal to introduce for June: Meet Paleta!

The more you get to know Paleta, the more you fall in love with her. She is a little gal with the biggest ears you have ever seen. She is still a puppy and learning the ropes, however, she does do well when home alone or with visits from the dog walker. She is still trying to figure out if she likes canine or feline friends, but with time and patience she could improve. Her dream is to have her own yard to run around and play in, so a home with a private yard would be ideal for her. 

If you’re interested in adopting Paleta or another furry friend, visit PAWS Chicago for more information.


Wishing you a safe and happy holiday weekend and summer! Please don’t hesitate to contact my office with any questions or concerns. We’re always happy to be a resource for you.