Center Connected to Rep. Bobby Rush's Church Has Received $15 Million in Gov't Grants

The center has received $650,000 in taxpayer-funded grants in 2017

Rep. Bobby Rush / Getty Images
June 26, 2017

A wellness center connected to a church founded by Illinois Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush has received $650,000 in taxpayer-funded government grants in 2017, public records show and has pulled in more than $15 million in grants since 2008.

Rush, who was first elected to Congress in 1992, founded the Beloved Community Christian Church, a non-denominational church located in Chicago, in 2002.

"I founded a church in Englewood, one of Chicago's poorest and most fragile neighborhoods, and named it Beloved Community Christian Church," Rush wrote in a 2011 op-ed published in the Huffington Post. "The church, once the site of a Black Panther breakfast program for children, now stands in tribute to Dr. King's vision of the power of community. A social service center, a health center and an after school robotics program are also part of the church's mission to care for people."

The Democratic congressman has steered hundreds of thousands in campaign funds to the church.

Rush began making donations from his campaign to the Beloved Community Christian Church in 2006, just two years after it had opened. Since that time, nearly $200,000 was funneled to the church.

The social services arm of Rush's church, the Beloved Community Family Wellness Center, is a not-for-profit federally qualified health center that provides "comprehensive, accessible, timely, and affordable primary health care, preventive education, and social service programs available to the Greater Englewood and surrounding communities."

The center has received hundreds of thousands in taxpayer-funded government grants so far this year from the Department of Health and Human Services.

HHS gave the center $215,384 on March 21 and added $430,768 on May 23. Since 2008, the group has been the recipient of more than $15 million in taxpayer-funded government grants.

Kacy Rush, Rep. Rush's daughter, is listed as a member of the Beloved Community Family Wellness Center on its 2014 Form 990, the most recently available filing from the group. Kacy is listed as a "director" of the wellness center on its website.

Rush's nonprofit, the Beloved Community Family Services, a network that provides "compassionate services to promote cultural, economic and social well-being," has also received taxpayer-funded money.

Rush requested a $100,000 earmark for the nonprofit that was approved in 2008. The nonprofit was awarded $305,500—$200,000 more than the initial request—which was tacked onto an appropriations bill.

The Department of Justice additionally gave the nonprofit a $290,663 grant in 2008 for what was marked as "developing, testing, and demonstrating promising new programs" for "juvenile justice programs."

Another one of Rush's nonprofits, the Rebirth of Englewood Community Development Corp., had its tax-exempt status revoked by the IRS in 2010 after it had failed to file disclosures three years in a row.

Rush's office did not return a request for comment by press time.