January 2015 Welcome to our e-newsletter, which highlights LISC Chicago’s Campaign for Stronger Neighborhoods. To date, our donors have committed $37

LISC Logo Final Campaign for Neighborhoods

January 2015


Welcome to our e-newsletter, which highlights LISC Chicago’s Campaign for Stronger Neighborhoods. To date, our donors have committed $37.2 million toward the $40 million campaign goal to make communities stronger and healthier, including recent commitments from: PNC Bank, US Bank, the City of Chicago, MUFG Union Bank Foundation, and the University of Chicago.

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Register now for 21st annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards ceremony

It's Tuesday, February 17, at the Chicago Hilton & Towers, and the theme, Tomorrow Starts Today, will be explored in a 3 p.m. youth panel moderated by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. The formal awards ceremony begins at 4:30 p.m., followed by the year's finest cocktail reception at 6. Check it out....

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Congrats to the Civic Leadership Academy inaugural class

The first 28 Fellows of the Civic Leadership Academy were announced by the University of Chicago in a ceremony at the Gleacher Center on January 22. Selected from 110 applicants, the inaugural class includes many long-time partners of LISC Chicago’s New Communities Program, representing community groups from across the city.

The Academy, launched by the University last September, is designed to train emerging and high-potential leaders in nonprofit organizations and local government agencies in Chicago and Cook County. LISC and other partners will offer the Fellows technical support and focus on implementation, such as how to galvanize community support, over the course of a rigorous six-month program. Get more details...

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Community organizing: step one for neighborhood change

Dust the surface of any significant neighborhood improvement, from the clean-up of a park, to a new affordable apartment building, to the initiation of a public safety project, and you’ll likely find the fingerprints of a community organizer.

Those projects rarely happen without public approval – or they get stopped before they begin because of disapproval. And community organizers are often the catalysts for resident participation and reaction. But who are these organizers? And what skills are required to do the job?

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Can big plans connect to neighborhoods?

Chicago always has big projects on tap, and it seems there are more than ever now. Can thoughtful planning ensure that both the proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art and Barack Obama Presidential Library will rise solidly in the latter category? And are there lessons for community engagement in big plans currently being floated for several other neighborhoods on the Far South Side? Read all about it...

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Police-community programs win MetLife Foundation Awards

Good things happen when local police officers partner with community organizations. That’s been known for a long time, and there are specific terms, ideas like “restorative justice” and “racial reconciliation,” that frame out how it works.

But like any community-building program, establishing successful police-community partnerships takes time, effort and leadership. Two of the best examples in the country – programs run by LISC partners Enlace Chicago’s Little Village Youth Safety Network (YSN) and the North Lawndale Employment Network (NLEN) – were recently honored as part of the 2014 MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Awards, administered by LISC’s Community Safety Initiative. Here's the story.....

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AmeriCorps provides pipeline of talent

The community development employment pipeline doesn’t run in a straight line. No formal academic trail leads to this type of work, and while everyone entering serves an informal apprenticeship through on-the-job training, it’s hardly well defined.

But for LISC Chicago, one of the most consistent, dependable sources of motivated community development practitioners has been the AmeriCorps program, in which members learn community development skills while working with neighborhood organizations. Here's how it works...

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Applications open for NFL Grassroots grants

A thriving community is a healthy community – one that offers youngsters the chance to play, supports the civic spirit of sportsmanship, and embraces elders as coaches, mentors and allies. Local athletic fields make it happen – and now there’s a chance to win support to improve YOUR local athletic field.

The National Football League Foundation and LISC fund projects that improve the quality, safety and accessibility of local football fields. And we’re looking for nonprofit, neighborhood-based organizations, middle schools and high schools to support in the Chicago area – through the next round of NFL Grassroots Program grants. Proposals are due on March 30, 2015. Get more information about applying....

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Donations of any size, from $10 to $10,000, will help LISC fulfill its mission. Designate Chicago LISC as the recipient of your donation.

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