The Chicago Park District has limited funds available to provide financial assistance for families who wish to enroll in the summer day camp program or the Park Kids after school program but are unable to afford the full price. If approved, financial assistance will cover half of the program cost. Customers are responsible for paying the other half.
Financial assistance is only available to City of Chicago residents.
Documentation Options to Demonstrate Financial Need
Customers are asked to present ONE of the following in person, at a park, to demonstrate financial need:
1. State of Illinois – Department of Human Services Notice of Decision – Summary Section confirming participation in Cash, Medical, or SNAP benefits. This notice accompanies the issuance of a LINK/EBT card. Reissued notices may be requested from your caseworker at a DHS Family Community Resource Center. Paying customer must be listed as the benefits recipient.
2. State of Illinois – Healthcare and Family Services Medical Card (not any other medical or insurance card). The child being enrolled must be listed as a covered person and paying customer must be listed as Case Name.
3. Proof of income that shows the household falls below the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services-determined Federal Poverty Guideline, by providing one of two options:
- Check stubs from the last 30 days to determine net monthly income, for the paying customer; must be parent or guardian of child being enrolled.
- Previous Year’s IRS form (1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ) and corresponding W2, for the paying customer; must be parent or guardian of child being enrolled.
Documentation Submission & Approval
Once the documentation is received and approved by the park, the enrolling patron's account is updated to include the Financial Assistance prerequisite. When registering for summer camp or Park Kids, a patron with the prerequisite will automatically be discounted 50% of the program cost. To enable use of the financial assistance discount at the start of online registration, financial assistance documentation is accepted in-person at parks a few weeks prior to the first day of online registration. See below for specific dates for the current program season. If this step isn't completed prior to online registration, patrons still have the option to register online by paying 100% at the time of registration and then presenting the documentation at the park to receive the 50% refund.
If a patron received financial assistance for camp during the summer, they can notify the park supervisor of their request to receive financial assistance for the Park Kids afterschool program in the fall, without having to resubmit the documentation listed above. This can be done by calling or visiting the park where they plan to enroll in the Park Kids program. Once completed, the enrolling patron's account is updated to include this financial assistance prerequisite for fall.
Relevant Dates - Fall 2021
- Financial Assistance Documentation is Currently Being Accepted at the Parks
Note: If documentation isn’t submitted prior to the start of online registration (see dates below), patrons can register online paying the full amount, and then submit documentation to the park to receive the 50% refund.
- Online Registration Begins: August 16 & 17, 2021 at 9 am (for most parks)
August 16 for parks located West of California Ave. & August 17 for parks located East of California Ave.
Registration dates vary for McFetridge Sports Center, Morgan Park Sports Center, Gately Park Track & Field Center and the ComEd Recreation Center at Addams Park. View those dates here.
- Information submitted is confidential. Documents will be reviewed by Park Staff and returned to the customer; copies will not be made or retained.
- Eligibility for financial assistance does not guarantee a slot in the programs and cannot be used in conjunction with any other discount or voucher programs.
- Applicants that do not qualify for Financial Assistance may inquire about the payment plan option, for summer programming only, at their local park.
For more information, email us or call us at (312) 742.PLAY (7529) or (312) 747-2001 (TTY).