History & Mission

The mission of Ada S. McKinley Community Services, Inc. is to empower, educate, and employ people to change lives and strengthen communities.

Ada S. McKinley’s founder and namesake was a schoolteacher and social reformer who started the agency in 1919 amid the Spanish Flu pandemic (January 1918 to December 1920) and the Chicago Race Riot of 1919. The agency was founded as a settlement house to assist Black World War I veterans and their families migrating from the South. Today, as we face similar circumstances with the COVID-19 pandemic along with civil unrest and protests to end systemic racism, Ada S. McKinley continues to be resilient and consistent in protecting the well-being of the people it serves.

The agency recently celebrated its 100-year milestone, and currently serves more than 7,000 people annually at over 70 program sites throughout the Chicago metropolitan area, Wisconsin and Indiana. Its wide range of services include: Child Development & Youth; Employment & Community Support; and Behavioral Health & Clinical. Services rendered daily include tutoring, mentoring and college placement, foster care, housing opportunities, mental health, youth and family counseling, employment training and placement, and head start programs. The agency has modified its delivery of services as necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic impact to adhere to social distancing guidelines while continuing to meet the needs of the community.

The vision of Ada S. McKinley Community Services, Inc. is for all people to have the opportunity for education and employment.

Learn more about our founder and the racial bias that denied her a rightful place in Chicago history.