Austin Scholarship Program

Since 1974 the Austin Scholarship Committee has reviewed applications and awarded 12-17 scholarships per year to graduating high school seniors in the Austin area. Committee members visit Chicago schools to invite applicants; review, deliberate and vote on awards; and participate in planning and staging the awards ceremony.

The current scholarship is for $1000 per student, awarded in two installments: the first based on high school grades and acceptance to college, and the second based on the student successfully completing the first semester.

During the preceding church year, the committee raises funds through church events and outreach to other congregations. For many years, in addition the Third Unitarian, Unity Temple in Oak Park and Winnetka Congregational Church have contributed to the fund.

Each May, the winners and their parents are invited to the church service for the annual Scholarship Sunday awards ceremony.

4a. Scholarship Sunday

Mayfield Community Gardens

In 2010, a group of members established a Community Garden on the site next to the church where the church had recently purchased and torn down a derelict house. The city’s Green Corp assisted with funding and provided help in the construction of an attractive circular patio for social events.  Now, member and neighborhood gardeners share the space and the produce and gather for outdoor dining and community socializing, often around horticultural themes. The garden, along with the adjacent children’s playground has also served as a venue for outdoor church events.
     Barbara M tending garden


 Unitarian Universalist Advocacy Network of Illinois (UUANI)

Mission: UUANI (Unitarian Universalist Advocacy Network of Illinois) was founded in 2013 and organized to build power among UU congregations in Illinois, in order to put our UU values into meaningful, concrete far-reaching action toward social justice. As a member of UUANI, Third Unitarian  works collectively with other UU churches and collaboratively with effective partner organizations to influence the creation of meaningful social change toward justice, beloved community, and a healthy planet.

Learn more about UUANI at and the Action to the Week.

The Community Renewal Society (CRS)

Mission: Community Renewal Society (CRS) is a faith-based organization that works with people and communities to address racism and poverty. CRS transforms society towards greater justice and compassion.  CRS informs, organizes, and trains individuals to advocate for social and economic justice.  With other CRS member organizations, Third Unitarian votes annually on which issues to include in its “Platform for Renewal.”

Strength in Numbers: CRS holds large rallies with members of many congregations represented, often inviting candidates, legislators and local officials to lobby for the reforms in its platform. CRS and its allies have accomplished important victories in ex-offender rehabilitation, police reform, and gun control.

Learn more about CRS’ past successes, current Platform for Renewal, and planned rallies at

Central Austin Neighborhood Association (CANA)

“Revitalizing neighborhoods 16 blocks at a time –yes we CANA”
CANA meets monthly in at Third Unitarian, uses the church as a staging area for neighborhood clean up and other activities, and periodically joins with the church to hold social events.Reids
Mission: To unite institutions and residents to build and protect an excellent place to live, work, play, raise children, run a business and worship.
Goals: To identify, strategize, and organize around significant community issues, including:
•  Improvement of the physical and moral environment of the neighborhood
•  Elimination of nuisances or unwholesome influences in the neighborhood
•  Cooperation with various governmental agencies to improve the economic, health, safety, physical, and cultural standards
Objectives: CANA seeks to bring together all members of the neighborhood to advocate for improvement – to pool their time, expertise and resources to accomplish common objectives, such as:
•  Improve police beat officer activityCANA neighbor party 
•  Hold an annual events to build community
•  Attract more businesses and employers
•  Address problem buildings and loitering
•  Create a more beautiful landscape, e.g., corner plantings
•  Identify alternative strategies for neighborhood safety