Who We Are



Strides for Peace envisions a Chicago where all can thrive and live free of the fear of gun violence.


Our mission is to increase the collective impact of community organizations working to end gun violence, save lives and build a stronger Chicago.

We believe that everyone has a stake in ending gun violence and that communities have the answers. Our work is centered around harnessing the power of community organizations and providing new pathways for people who care to get involved.

Our Core Values

Equitable Partnerships

We believe true partnerships are ones where there is shared power and mutual benefit. Our community partners are our north star.

Trusted Relationships

We believe that making structural change requires relationships with the people and communities most impacted and the engagement of diverse stakeholders.

Lived Experience

We believe an understanding of our problems and their attending solutions must include the strategic insights gained from people most impacted and those with boots on the ground, responsible for street level implementation.

Better Together

We believe that to end gun violence we must invest in collaboration, lead with what we share in common and learn from each other.

Open Doors

We believe to end gun violence we must meet people where they are and offer new ways to deepen their understanding and engagement.


We believe change is not an intellectual exercise but a human experience. Love, trust, and hope are essential ingredients of change.

Our Strategy

Our strategy is founded on the understanding that community organizations and grassroots leaders are one of our city’s greatest assets, but too often are left out of decision- and policy-making, resulting in approaches and narratives that miss opportunities for impact, equity and change. We view these structural exclusions as creating investment and proximity gaps, and our work is centered on closing these gaps by providing funding, field development, advocacy and civic engagement opportunities.


Strides for Peace was founded by Maggie Baczkowski in 2014. Concerned by rising gun violence, and compelled by the tragic death of Blair Holt, Maggie took action. She started by reaching out to community organizations and grassroots leaders and asking them what they needed to be effective in the fight against gun violence. Today, our work is centered on this fundamental premise that communities have the solutions to ending gun violence and we need to follow their lead.

Connect. Commit. Contribute. Change.
Be part of building peace.