By The Hand Club For Kids

The information in this column was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 8/2/2021. To update the information in this column, please email:


Chicago is known for its gun violence, poverty and failing educational system. It's also home for our amazing kids, who are breaking the cycle and becoming the ones to bring about the change our city so desperately needs. With locations strategically located throughout Chicago's most dangerous and under-resourced neighborhoods, By The Hand is serving kids where the need is greatest. By The Hand children face increased risk of violent crimes.

When you hear about Chicago, you rarely hear about the good. But our kids are becoming fearless crusaders, defenders of others and doers of good. They are sharing abundant life with their family, neighbors and classmates. They are The Solution our city needs.

Since By The Hand began in 2001, we have taken a holistic approach to providing the individual support every child needs-emphasizing the achievement of measurable goals for academic, physical and spiritual development.

Contact information

Mailing address:
By The Hand Club For Kids
PO Box 10043
Chicago, IL 60610


Phone: 773-413-0895


Organization details

EIN: 203144284

CEO/President: Donnita Travis

Chairman: Tom Sawyer

Board size: 11

Founder: Donnita Travis

Ruling year: 2005

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 08/31

Member of ECFA: Yes

Member of ECFA since: 2007


Helping children who live in under-resourced neighborhoods have abundant life.

Mission statement

By The Hand Club For Kids is a faith-based, after-school program that takes kids by the hand and walks with them through college, helping them have abundant life-mind, body and soul.

Statement of faith

1. We believe all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are God's own written Word, given by the inspiration of God in the sense that the Holy Spirit guided holy men of old in their choice of the very words of the sacred writing; and that His divine inspiration is now in different degrees, but extends equally to all parts of these writings.

2. We believe in the only true God, who created all things, and upholds all things by the power of His Word, in whom we live and move and have our being. We believe that the Godhead eternally exists in three distinct persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; and that these three are one God, having precisely the same nature, attributes and perfections, and worthy of precisely the same homage, confidence and obedience.

3. We believe that by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin. We believe that man, originally created in the image and after the likeness of God, fell into sin and totally lost all spiritual life, becoming dead in trespasses and sins, and subject to the power of the devil.

4. We believe that there is no other name under heaven whereby we must be saved than the name of Jesus Christ. We believe that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; that He was buried, and that He rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures and sat down on the right hand of God, now to appear in the presence of God for us. We believe that Christ, in the fullness of the blessings He has secured by His obedience to death, is received by faith alone, and that the moment we trust Him as our substitute and therefore our Savior, we pass out of death into everlasting life, being justified from all things, accepted before the Father according to the measure of His acceptance, loved as He is loved, and being one with Him forever.

5. We believe in the imminent personal return of Christ for His church and His premillennial coming to establish His kingdom on earth, when Israel shall be restored to their own land, and the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord.

6. We believe that the Holy Spirit was given on the day of the Pentecost to unify all believers into one body, the church. His presence in the lives of believers is revealed by His fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We believe that the Holy Spirit is the source and power of all acceptable worship and service, for which we were created, and is our abiding Comforter and Helper, that He never departs from the church nor from the feeblest of the saints, but is ever present to testify of Christ, seeking to occupy us with Him and not with ourselves.


7. We believe that we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, remembering our responsibility to pray for all those in authority and to do good to all, especially those in the household of faith. We believe that we are called with a holy calling to walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, and so to live in the Spirit that we should not fulfill the lusts of the flesh; but the flesh being still in us to the end of our earthly pilgrimage, needs to be kept constantly in subjection to Christ, or it will surely manifest its presence to the dishonor of His name.

8. We believe that the church is composed of all those who are united by the Holy Spirit to the risen and ascended Son of God, and that by that same Spirit we are all baptized into one body, and are responsible in good conscience to keep that unity of the Spirit, loving one another with a pure heart, fervently. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ who is the Head over all the church, commanded His people to observe two ordinances, neither of which are a means of salvation but are an evidence of obedience and fellowship with Jesus. In neither of them has the unbeliever any part. Jesus commanded us to teach all nations, baptizing believers in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and to observe the Lord's Supper therefore proclaiming His death until He comes.

Transparency grade


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Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Community Development

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating784 of 99956 of 73
Fund acquisition rating446 of 100128 of 73
Resource allocation rating597 of 100144 of 73
Asset utilization rating952 of 99968 of 73

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Balance sheet
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$111,238$287,986$142,999$72,985$41,156
Short-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Other current assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total current assets$5,761,848$2,798,253$2,416,598$1,891,926$4,144,770
Long-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Fixed assets$30,906,291$20,374,933$19,526,052$18,025,226$18,376,417
Other long-term assets$83,512$54,559$32,783$40,612$42,404
Total long-term assets$30,989,803$20,429,492$19,558,835$18,065,838$18,418,821
Total assets$36,751,651$23,227,745$21,975,433$19,957,764$22,563,591
Payables and accrued expenses$1,313,875$527,529$405,133$276,050$162,169
Other current liabilities$107,500$121,256$58,750$51,000$39,250
Total current liabilities$1,421,375$648,785$463,883$327,050$201,419
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$0$0$0$0$0
Total long-term liabilities$8,553,706$2,323,701$2,413,292$2,819,838$7,352,781
Total liabilities$9,975,081$2,972,486$2,877,175$3,146,888$7,554,200
Net assets20202019201820172016
Without donor restrictions$23,064,428$16,334,467$2,964,448$2,773,277$2,340,199
With donor restrictions$3,712,142$3,920,792$16,133,810$14,037,599$12,669,192
Net assets$26,776,570$20,255,259$19,098,258$16,810,876$15,009,391
Revenues and expenses
Total contributions$15,887,541$10,462,498$10,268,299$9,257,397$8,472,992
Program service revenue$0$0$0$0$0
Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
Investment income$0$0$0$0$0
Other revenue$394,854$93,999$137,194$81,765$167,343
Total other revenue$394,854$93,999$137,194$81,765$167,343
Total revenue$16,282,395$10,556,497$10,405,493$9,339,162$8,640,335
Program services$7,591,261$7,351,980$6,505,555$6,388,318$5,739,734
Management and general$960,753$898,016$642,861$425,209$403,045
Total expenses$9,761,084$9,399,496$8,118,111$7,537,677$6,784,718
Change in net assets20202019201820172016
Surplus (deficit)$6,521,311$1,157,001$2,287,382$1,801,485$1,855,617
Other changes in net assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total change in net assets$6,521,311$1,157,001$2,287,382$1,801,485$1,855,617


Benjamin WatermanMng Dir,FundDvlpmt$123,813
Susannah Schwarcz YountSnr Dir,FundDvlpmt$116,129

Compensation data as of: 8/31/2020

Response from ministry

No response has been provided by this ministry.

The information below was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 8/2/2021. To update the information below, please email:


By The Hand began in 2001 with 16 children from Cabrini-Green. Since then, we have witnessed transformation within the lives of our kids-and as an organization. Thanks to the many people who help make The Solution possible, we now serve more than 1,600 kids from Cabrini-Green, Altgeld-Murray, Austin and Englewood, with property in North Austin to begin serving there.

MAY 12, 1997 - God revealed the vision for By The Hand Club For Kids to Donnita Travis, who felt called through prayer to start a holistic after-school program to help children have new, abundant life (John 10:10).

1997 TO 2000 - Donnita volunteered at The Moody Church to help with ministry to children living in Cabrini-Green.

OCTOBER 2000 - Donnita resigned from being the president of an advertising firm to launch By The Hand Club For Kids in the spring of 2001.

MARCH 20, 2001 - Using classrooms at Moody Church, By The Hand began with 16 children from Cabrini-Green. Ms. Shanta, the first staff member, agreed to work without pay until donations were received. Donnita served as a full-time volunteer and continues to do so today. Donnita began sharing her God-given vision to serve 1,000 children by 2012.

JUNE 2001 - Even though the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) declined many other nonprofit organizations, it agreed to lease the bottom two floors of a Cabrini-Green high-rise tenant building to By The Hand, recalling that Moody Bible Institute students had faithfully served the children and families of Cabrini-Green throughout the 1960s during rioting, shootings and turmoil.

SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 - By The Hand Club opened its new location at 419 W. Oak St., in the heart of Cabrini-Green, expanding to 32 kids from every part of Cabrini-Green and Marshall Field Homes. Even though By The Hand was told that kids from rival gang territories could never be brought together peacefully, God used this to teach the children that they are all created in God's image and should love and respect each other accordingly. Recognizing that the kids would be terrified and confused because they lived in high-rise apartment buildings, By The Hand remained opened after terrorists attacked the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon even though many businesses and organizations closed. As a result, 9/11 turned into a day of prayer during which the kids were receptive to hearing about God and His love for them.

FEBRUARY 2003 - Outgrowing its space at 419 W. Oak St., By The Hand asked the CHA for a lease on the Lower North Center, a 24,000-square-foot building with classrooms and a gymnasium, located across the street from its current location. Negotiations had stalled, but God encouraged Donnita through prayer that a man would talk to her in two days about Lower North. Two days later, Franklin Ballenger, youth ministry partner, spoke to Donnita and encouraged her to pursue a lease.

JUNE 2003 - By The Hand started its Club For Big Kids (CBK), a high school program.

SEPTEMBER 1, 2004 - For only $100 per month, the Chicago Housing Authority gave By The Hand Club a 5-year lease for the 24,000-square-foot Lower North Center in Cabrini-Green, allowing By The Hand Club to expand that year to serve 214 children. A week later, pipes in the 419 W. Oak building burst and flooded the building, which was demolished that December, making it obvious that God had provided By The Hand Club with a new place in perfect time.

MARCH 7, 2005 - In response to the CHA request that By The Hand open a second location in the Altgeld-Murray neighborhood, By The Hand Club prayerfully agreed if $600,000 was raised in 60 days to confirm the decision and provide first-year funding for the new club. CHA referred to By The Hand Club as their "most effective social service agency."

MAY 6, 2005 - A final gift was received to reach the needed $600,000 and By The Hand Club announced that it would open a location in Altgeld-Murray.

JULY 2005 - By The Hand became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and formed a board of directors.

SEPTEMBER 2005 - By The Hand leased an empty police station from Chicago Housing Authority to open a second location in Altgeld-Murray with 66 children.

SEPTEMBER 6, 2005 - By The Hand Club began serving kids from Altgeld-Murray at the local Park District while renovations were made to a CHA-leased property. The Club was serving 310 students at two locations.

APRIL 2007 - By The Hand Club felt God's leading to open a third facility in Austin, one of Chicago's most under-resourced neighborhoods. A general contractor friend introduced By The Hand Club to a newly renovated church owned by Chicago First Church of the Nazarene. The 8,000-square-foot-facility was located at one of the most dangerous corners in Austin-the perfect location for reaching kids from the neighborhood. By The Hand finalized the lease agreement over the summer months. Later the contractor shared that while he was renovating the church in 2005, he prayed that By The Hand would open in that facility.

SEPTEMBER 4, 2007 - By The Hand opened in Austin with 132 kids. By The Hand was serving 500 children that year.

SEPTEMBER 26, 2007 - By The Hand was out of space in the Altgeld police station when they heard that one of only a few privately owned properties in the CHA development was going on the market. It was an 8,000-square-foot Presbyterian church on an acre of land at the front of Altgeld-Murray-ideal for By The Hand Club For Kids. By The Hand was able to purchase the property before it went on the market and began renovations in October 2007.

JULY 2008 - By The Hand added a reading specialist to help children in fourth grade and up who couldn't read; kids advanced on average two grade levels in reading during the 2008-2009 academic year.

SEPTEMBER 2008 - By The Hand opened its fourth location in Englewood with 88 children in first to fourth grades.

SEPTEMBER 1, 2008 - CHA extended By The Hand Club's five-year lease on Lower North Center by 25 years, resolving a long-term facility need in Cabrini-Green. While By The Hand Club had a long-standing and solid reputation with CHA, Alderman Walter Burnett was instrumental in negotiating the long lease asking CHA to "make a lasting place in Cabrini-Green for By The Hand Club."

OCTOBER 2008 - By The Hand Club moved to its new location in Altgeld-Murray and expanded to serve 154 children in Altgeld. By The Hand Club also opened a fourth location serving 88 children in Englewood, another one of Chicago's most under-resourced neighborhoods. Overall, the club served 638 children that year.

AUGUST 2009 - By The Hand added a college specialist and started emphasizing college prep at CBK.

2009 TO 2010 - By The Hand Club was serving 176 children in first to eighth grades in Austin and was out of space. Unable to serve high school students without additional space, they began seeking the Lord while looking for opportunities to lease, buy or share space. After an exhaustive search, By The Hand launched its first capital campaign to build a new learning center in Austin. By The Hand was able to acquire three vacant lots for $1. After Donnita fasted three days, By The Hand received calls from two other property owners who offered to sell their lots. A fourth initially said "no," but changed his mind after "everything started going wrong at his property." In total, God blessed By The Hand with 17 lots from seven different owners, enabling By The Hand Club to begin construction in winter on a 26,000-square-foot ministry center for after-school programming, as well as community and ministry collaboration and instruction.

MAY 26, 2010 - Donnita Travis was named the Northwestern Kellogg School of Management Social Entrepreneur of the Year.

AUGUST 24, 2010 - The Austin location was overcrowded, noisy and had no room for its incoming ninth-graders. While the Chicago First Church of the Nazarene offered to purchase the foreclosed house to the north, demolish it and install modular classrooms as an interim solution, they could not get any information from Freddie Mac, the holder of the mortgage. By The Hand called a supporter at Freddie Mac and within 24 hours the contract was signed, making it possible for By The Hand Club to stay at its current location while it built a new facility across the street.

AUGUST 31, 2010 - Sharing space with a school for the first time, By The Hand leased space at Wentworth Elementary School in Englewood, which had sufficient space to accommodate By The Hand Club when it reached capacity in Englewood. This allowed By The Hand Club to expand to 132 kids in first to sixth grades in Englewood, serving a total of 767 children at four locations.

SEPTEMBER 2010 - By The Hand started CBK in Austin and Altgeld to serve ninth-graders.

MARCH 8, 2011 - Mayor Daley gave Donnita Travis the Sage Award for her work with women and children in Chicago.

JUNE 11, 2012 - Mayor Rahm Emanuel proclaimed June 11 By The Hand Club Literacy Day in the city of Chicago.

SEPTEMBER 2012 - By The Hand Club crossed the milestone of enrolling 2,500 kids over last 11 years.

OCTOBER 31, 2012 - By The Hand broke ground for its new Austin center to accommodate kids in first grade to twelfth grade.

DECEMBER 17, 201 - By The Hand holds official Groundbreaking Ceremony for its new Austin center.

DECEMBER 2012 - Donnita Travis was named Chicago magazine Chicagoan of the Year.

JUNE 4, 2013 - By The Hand kids, along with several dignitaries, families, friends and staff, "crossed over" from our old By The Hand Austin building to a gleaming new $6 million, 26,000-square-foot center that is being called the "gem of Austin." The nationally acclaimed Marching Band of Proviso East High School led the way.

SEPTEMBER 2013 - Trinity Christian College opens campus at By The Hand Club - Austin.

DECEMBER 17, 2014 - Chicago Public Schools (CPS) gave Moving Everest a charter to open a K-8 school in Austin to serve 810 children. By The Hand will serve the ME children in the after-school hours.

JANUARY 30, 2015 - By The Hand Club broke ground on a three-story, 50,000-square-foot building to serve students attending ME Charter School during the day and By The Hand in the after-school hours.

AUGUST 20, 2015 - Austin children, parents, friends, neighbors and public officials celebrated the opening of the $12 million By The Hand Club and Moving Everest Charter School with a ribbon cutting.

OCTOBER 5, 2019 - By The Hand Club broke ground on a new By The Hand - ME middle school facility in Austin. The 30,000-square-foot addition will serve 270 sixth- through eighth-grade students-critical to their academic journey as they prepare to enter one of Chicago's best public high schools.

OCTOBER 25, 2019 - By The Hand opened iCity-a citywide enrichment center located in downtown Chicago-to provide learning opportunities that prepare our high school students for careers in areas of their interest.

FEBRUARY 21, 2020 - By The Hand changed its high school program name from Club For Big Kids (CBK) to NXT-short for NEXT. The program was named NXT to emphasize that young people are always moving forward, always working towards the next grade, the next level in school, the next career pursuit, the next opportunity to do better... and be better.

JUNE 4, 2020 - Former Chicago Bears linebacker Sam Acho and other athletes met with By The Hand students to discuss how to create change after the devastating riots, leading to the purchase and donation of a looted liquor store for By The Hand to convert to a pop-up food market.

JULY 2, 2020 - Demolition begins to replace the Belmonte Cut Rate Liquors store on N. Laramie Avenue with a fresh food market that will sell fruits and vegetables, addressing Austin's food insecurity. Located 60 feet from By The Hand - Austin, the market will be operated by our high school students, providing them with opportunities to develop business skills.

AUGUST 12, 2020 - By The Hand holds a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly constructed By The Hand - ME middle school facility. It completes our first school-plus-after-school facility where 810 students from kindergarten to eighth grade can attend Moving Everest Charter School during the day and By the Hand - ME during the after-school hours.

AUGUST 19, 2020 - By The Hand high school students opened Austin Harvest for business. The fresh food market will provide residents with access to fresh, healthy food-a needed solution after neighborhood grocery stores closed because of looting and fires during protests against racism and police brutality.

Program accomplishments


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