Broad Shoulders Update

news and information for cmun dev advocates in metropolitan Chicago

Major Milestone: $40 Million for Chicago Community Development

Two years ago at the Little Black Pearl Art and Design Center, LISC Chicago formally launched its Campaign for Stronger Neighborhoods, an ambitious effort to raise $40 million in grants and loans to support community development throughout the city.

Terry Mazany, president and CEO of the Chicago Community Trust, speaks at LISC Chicago's celebration of reaching its $40 million fundraising goal.

Photos by Gordon Walek

On June 18th, on the 57th floor of the loop’s Chase Tower, LISC announced to a crowd of 75 business and civic representatives, donors, neighborhood leaders and government officials that it had reached the fundraising goal. Competing with the clamor of the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup victory parade, the folks attending were already in a celebratory mood.

“On a celebratory day in Chicago, my favorite win: $40 million raised by LISC Chicago to build stronger neighborhoods,” tweeted Alaina Harkness, program officer, MacArthur Foundation. 

For any community development organization to raise $40 million in three years (LISC already had raised $20 million in a silent phase before it publically launched the campaign) is no small accomplishment. But it has special meaning for LISC Chicago. Enlisting a broad base of funders – from banks and other corporations to foundations and government sources – clearly validated the neighborhood planning work LISC initiated in the previous decade through its New Communities Program (NCP), in which 16 Chicago neighborhoods created comprehensive redevelopment plans and began implementing them. 

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was among those who spoke about the value that LISC Chicago brings to neighborhood development - something she saw first hand when she was the 4th Ward alderman.

“We recognize for the road going forward, it’s not enough to have a strong, vibrant economic core,” said Terry Mazany, president and CEO of the Chicago Community Trust, who was one of several LISC partners to speak at the event. “We also need thriving neighborhoods as well to support that. And planning does indeed matter. LISC’s work on the ground has made this case over and over again.” 

It did that by becoming a critical bridge between neighborhood organizations and residents, government officials, foundations and corporations, all of whom had a stake in strengthening Chicago communities. And all of whom heeded Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s warning when the campaign was announced that “This won’t be a city we know and love if it becomes a tale of two cities,” he said, referencing Charles Dickens’ 1859 novel about the plight of the French peasantry at the hands of the aristocracy. “We need a city that doesn’t have a dichotomy between the neighborhoods and downtown.” 

The $40 million, said Susana Vasquez, LISC Chicago’s executive director, is equipping LISC to expand the NCP approach of neighborhood engagement, planning and action; make neighborhoods healthier and stronger by investing in human, physical and economic development; and strengthen systems inside LISC to document and communicate its impact.

But the campaign, she said, was always about more than money. “We’ve also been neighborhood development evangelists,” she noted, “spreading the good news about how much more powerful our city can be when we engage community leaders, bring in the right data at the right time for the right reasons, develop thoughtful community-owned plans, connect the dots between the public, private and nonprofit sectors and actually get things done.” 

"While Center for Changing Lives partners with participants to realize their potential by uncovering possibilities and overcoming barriers," said CCL's Ellen Ray, "it is our partnership with LISC Chicago, and with each of you, that has also equipped CCL to realize our promise and potential." 

Actually getting things done. Those are loaded words in the community development business, where projects take forever, partners are numerous, and unanticipated cataclysmic events, such as the Great Recession, can wreak havoc with neighborhood plans and progress. 

Yet LISC Chicago’s fingerprints are all over the place, from the strength of community organizations such as the Quad Communities Development Corp. and the extensive residential and commercial development that’s happening on the Mid South Side, to the anti-violence work in Little Village, to the creation of a quality-of-life plan in the Near North neighborhood, and the support of Financial Opportunity Centers throughout the city where residents can receive financial and employment counseling and learn computer skills, among other things. 

The $40 million from a wide variety of funders, including longtime supporters such as the MacArthur Foundation, Chase, the Crown Family Philanthropies, and State Farm and new funders including Boeing,GCM Grovsenor, the Chicago Cubs, and individual donors such as Paul and Mary Finnegan will allow LISC to continue that work. Also contributing in a major way was the national LISC office through $4 million in loans and connections to another $6 million through the Social Innovation Fund (to support Financial Opportunity Centers), AmeriCorps and HUD Section 4 grants. In all, nearly 90 funders stepped up to support LISC Chicago and the Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards. See a complete list of donors

“Each of you has a story about how LISC has made a difference in your work and your institution’s mission,” Vasquez told the crowd at the celebration breakfast. “Whether you are a community partner, private donor or corporate investor – you share equal value in our equation of making an impact in Chicago.” 

LISC Chicago Executive Director Susana Vasquez edits her comments to funders and neighborhood partners at LISC's announcement of reaching its $40 million fundraising goal.

Other speakers at the event, including Chase’s Dan Sprehe, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Ellen Ray from the Center for Changing Lives, outgoing LISC Chicago Board Chair Lori Healey (who was honored at the event for her role as chair of the campaign), new board chair Rich Sciortino, and Randall Blakey, of the Near North Unity Program, noted LISC’s accomplishments and value.            

“While Center for Changing Lives (CCL) partners with participants to realize their potential by uncovering possibilities and overcoming barriers, it is our partnership with LISC Chicago, and with each of you, that has also equipped CCL to realize our promise and potential. And for that, we are grateful,” said Ellen Ray. 

Randall Blakey, executive director of the Near North Unity Program, added, “To those of you who have made this $40 million campaign a reality, thank you immensely. Today, because of your investment, the shoulders of our great city are a lot broader and the people within our robust communities stand a lot taller.”

And while the $40 million is secured, it doesn’t mean LISC’s fundraising efforts have ended. In her closing remarks Vasquez recalled that in her first meeting with Toni Preckwinkle after she became LISC Chicago’s executive director, the Cook County board president told her that her number one priority was to raise money. And that priority continues. 

Please click to support LISC’s Chicago’s mission of providing neighborhoods with the resources needed to become stronger and healthier.

For years, the involved work of LISC and its dedicated community partners have sought to impact community at every level. And the entire city benefits from this investment because together they are doing what it takes to make our neighborhoods more dynamic and resilient. I commend LISC Chicago’s leadership on achieving this important milestone and, I look forward to collaborating with its leaders and partners on the ongoing work in building stronger neighborhoods for a better Chicago.” – Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel. 

Read Mayor Emanuel’s letter of support and congratulations.


Written by LISC Chicago

June 29th, 2015 at 6:00 pm

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How *Not* to Connect Health and Community Development

A few months ago as I walked to a board meeting of my local CDFI, I passed a memorial to a young man who was shot and killed a couple of days earlier. There was a huge collection of candles on the ground between two stoops, marked off by caution tape, and with a large crowd of mourners around it. This section of Lark Street in Albany is pock marked with vacant buildings, many exuding a smell of mildew as you walk by. Thanks to a decades-old fiscal sleight of hand by which the county conducts the city’s tax foreclosures and makes the city whole, and then auctions off the property, it has been very hard for the city to gain any traction in the fight against speculators and irresponsible landlords, many of whom stop up from New York City. (This will hopefully be changing soon with the advent of the Albany County Land Bank.) Sidewalks are rarely shoveled in the winter. Albany, like many Northern cities, is highly segregated by race, and this neighborhood is clearly separated from the downtown area by a very steep hill, which in many places can only be navigated on foot by means of long sets of stairs, several of which are currently closed for lack of maintenance. Retail is limited—fresh food not easily accessible. It is a familiar story. Across from that memorial, tacked to a telephone pole is a relatively recent cheerful green and white sign that designates this stretch of road as part of a get-fit walking trail, and exhorts the viewer to “grab someone and take a walk!” This walking route extends up the hill into a much more affluent, bar-and-gallery-strewn Brooklyn-esque brownstone neighborhood. As far as I can tell, the only actual investment in the “route” has been the signs. The idea that someone thought this was what this neighborhood needed baffles me. It also is a really good symbol for what could go really really wrong with our newfound focus on the connection between health and community development.

Written by Rooflines

June 29th, 2015 at 2:00 pm

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Augusta affirmed as residential street

The former Club Foot space, 1824 W. Augusta Blvd.

East Village Association board minutes for June 8, 2015, submitted by Michael VanDam

Ashland Avenue Development

The proposal for a transit-oriented development at 1062 N. Ashland Ave. does not seem to be moving forward.

Club Foot proposal

An inquiry was received regarding the former Club Foot space, 1824 W. Augusta Blvd. Given the residential setting, EVA does not support commercial development at that location, consistent with longstanding guidelines regarding appropriate zoning. Instead, we would prefer to work with the developer to identify a more appropriate space.

The inquiry raised the possibility of adding guidelines for developers thinking about locating in the neighborhood to facilitate more productive discussions on proposed new developments.

Bus Rapid Transit

A representative from the Active Transportation Alliance has asked to “take the temperature” of the group regarding the proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line on Ashland Avenue. Given the lack of response from the questions surrounding the Environmental Assessment, there has been no new relevant information presented to the group.

Future meetings

Rep. Mike Quigley may attend an EVA meeting in August. Traditionally, the August meeting has been a block party. We are exploring potential dates for this event.

Written by Webmaster

June 27th, 2015 at 2:14 pm

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Detroit Future City’s Plan for Revitalization Pushes Job Creation

For supporters and enthusiasts of Detroit’s revitalization, the city is poised to be a “model for the future;” but in order to make a comeback, it will have to start with fixing neighborhoods and attracting more people. Though the city has seen a 60 percent population decline, a 90 percent industrial job loss and amassed 23.4 square miles of vacant land, its recovery will center on a strategy of innovation. On June 2, nearly 125 community members were issued a call-to-action to become innovators in the movement to revitalize Detroit. The two-hour event, held inside the Packard Plant building on the east side of the city, was the second in Detroit Future City’s (DFC) three-part Innovation Series, and included a presentation of the DFC’s Strategic Framework plan and panelists who shared their stories of innovation.

Written by Rooflines

June 26th, 2015 at 2:00 pm

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Polish Triangle makes People Plaza bid

A chess class meets at the West Town branch library, 1625 W. Chicago Ave.

East Village Association minutes for June 1, 2015, submitted by Michael VanDam

Polish Triangle

Speakers: Katherine Darnstadt and Kristen Moreau of Latent Design. Based at 900 N. Ashland Ave., Latent Design won the city contract for Activate, a placemaking program designed to create People Plazas throughout Chicago.

Locally, they will be working on sites at Mautene Court, 1260 N. Milwaukee Ave., and the Polish Triangle at Division, Milwaukee and Ashland. The installations will feature a popup kiosk with a rotating schedule of art, music and other creative programming.

They will be working closely with local neighborhood organizations to ensure that the programming reflects the neighborhood. Artists and musicians, as well as anyone else with a creative idea, should contact them directly.

Chicago Public Library

EVA is sponsoring part of the West Town Library chess series for the second year. There’s been a great turnout so far this year.

Planning, Preservation and Development

Fifield Cos. has broken ground on the new 59-unit apartment complex at 1838 W. Chicago Ave.. The site is being marketed as Luxe on Chicago.

CAPS Update

The only issue raised at a recent meeting was double parking in front of Carbon, 810 N. Marshfield Ave. Next meeting will be July 15. Getting away from "alternative" policing strategy, CAPS is moving to just community policing.

New Business

Catherine Garypie recently participated in the community Ukrainian Village yard sale. It was a big success despite the inclement weather, and there may be an additional sale around West Fest on July 11-12.

Written by Webmaster

June 24th, 2015 at 2:38 pm

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Englewood Police/Youth Basbeball League Opening Day Kick-off June 24th

The excitement and anticipation is building as the kick-off game for the first ever Englewood Police Youth Baseball League is approaching. Opening day begins Wednesday June 24th at Hamilton Park (3p-7pm) 513 W 72nd Street.

Come out and cheer on the Englewood youth, they've been hard at work honing their skills, learning team building skills and forming bonds with the 7th District Police who serve as coaches and mentors.

Opening day will include a parade, press conference, music, food and games.

Brought to you by Teamwork Englewood, Get IN Chicago, Forever Fitness Chicago LLC and Chicago Police Department.

Written by Teamwork Englewood - Latest news

June 22nd, 2015 at 6:00 pm

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Cooking With Health, and Heritage, in Mind

A recent article in The New York Times discussed an initiative to bring fresh, healthy food to a low-income Bronx neighborhood in New York’s least-healthy county. The expectation was that adding a new grocery store in this underserved community would lead to healthier food choices. That didn’t happen. The reality is that just because a greater variety of fresh, healthy food is available, that doesn’t mean people will buy it. Many need help in bringing unfamiliar healthy items from the supermarket to the table. A Taste of African Heritage (ATOAH), a culturally-based cooking and wellness program from the nonprofit Oldways, is doing just this.

Written by Rooflines

June 22nd, 2015 at 2:30 pm

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Reframing Government’s—And Our Own—Role in Affordable Housing

Last Tuesday Scott Brown and Henry Cisneros, who serve on the executive committee of the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America’s Families, wrote an opinion column for Fox News urging presidential candidates to address America’s housing affordability challenges. The former senator and former HUD secretary, citing the role of access to affordable housing in upward mobility and the country’s future prosperity, call for a “bipartisan policy response” to the nation’s housing challenges. Comments on the article, on the other hand, call for the government to get out of housing: “After the bang up job that government has done with any part of the economy they touch,” said commenter Elbowmacaroni, “I'll tend to favor a candidate who proposes to let the market work.” That sentiment isn’t unique to the Fox News audience. On the same day, the MacArthur Foundation released its How Housing Matters poll, an annual survey of national housing attitudes conducted by Hart Research Associates. The survey found that a majority . . .

Written by Rooflines

June 19th, 2015 at 2:00 pm

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Big Sky, Big Opportunity?

Montana is an interesting state for manufactured housing. Looking at the policy and data environments of this component of the state’s housing market, about 11 percent of the state’s stock is mobile (pre-1976 HUD Code) or manufactured homes. About 54,000 Montanans live in manufactured homes, on private land or in one of the state’s 950 manufactured home communities. Some counties are heavily reliant on the housing type. Manufactured housing in Broadwater, which is just northwest of Bozeman, accounts for over 38 percent of homes. Just as interesting, though again with variation across the state’s counties, is that, according to a 2012 Montana Board of Housing report, just eight percent of manufactured homes are in unacceptable condition, just a tick higher than detached site-built homes, but certainly low enough to counter stereotypes about conditions, quality, or durability. While this report on home conditions is encouraging, it is important to note that other reports, including a recent one from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, underscore the need for replacement strategies if weatherization or other repair programs are not cost effective.

Written by Rooflines

June 17th, 2015 at 4:29 pm

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CA’s Surprisingly Strong Stand in Support of Inclusionary Housing

Yesterday’s long awaited California Supreme Court decision in the California Building Industry Association v. City of San Jose case is being hailed as a major victory for inclusionary housing, but like most people outside the legal community, I was not entirely sure I could say what it was that we had won. These decisions can be so legally technical that reading the news articles simply doesn’t give you much of a sense of what is really going on. I’m no lawyer. So it was with more than a little trepidation that I decided to sit down and actually read the 64 page decision (here). But I am glad I did. The Justices laid out a surprisingly clear summary of what is at stake in not just this case but the whole string of related inclusionary housing decisions. What emerges is a story of a multi-decade coordinated effort by the real estate development industry to limit the reach of inclusionary housing—an effort which the CA Supreme Court has taken a surprisingly strong stand against in this decision.

Written by Rooflines

June 16th, 2015 at 1:59 pm

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