The Union League Club of Chicago (ULCC) is the only private club in the nation committed to public policy advocacy and community service. The Club’s unique mission arises from its Civil War origins and dedication to helping a famous Illinois Republican – President Abraham Lincoln – defend the Union (hence the “Union” in the ULCC’s name).
The Club arose from a citizen movement called the “Union Leagues of America.” Established in 1862 in Pekin, Illinois, Union League of America chapters proliferated throughout the northern states and had more than one million members at the height of the war. When the war ended, most of its chapters disbanded. But those who were active in the Chicago area kept meeting in the years after the war, talking about the responsibilities of citizens in a democracy, the need to remain vigilant against official corruption and to demand responsive government, the importance of supporting those who serve in our nation’s military, and so on.
The Public Affairs office also is at the center of the Club’s long-standing support for the men and women of America’s Armed Forces and our Veterans. The Club has its own American Legion Post, as well as three organizations supporting active duty military units: the Chicago 502, which supports the soldiers and families of the U.S. Army’s 502nd Regiment/101st Airborne Division at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky; the 721 Club, which assists the crew and families of the USS Chicago, a U.S. Navy fast-attack submarine, and the 786 Club, which supports the crew and families of the USS Illinois. The names of the Navy support groups come from the hull number of the submarines – USS Chicago (SSN 721), USS Illinois (SSN 786).