South and West Side teams have been selected as finalists for the Chicago Prize, a $10 million grant of the Pritzker Traubert Foundation that will invest in a collaborative initiative that uses physical development to spur economic activity, strengthen civic infrastructure and improve the safety, well-being and economic mobility of residents in their neighborhoods.
The announcement of the finalists was made during a celebratory event at The Hatchery, 135 N. Kedzie Avenue, on December 11, 2019. Selected from a pool of over 80 applicants, the finalists are comprised of community-based and city-wide organizations working together on projects that involve building new or redeveloping existing community assets to address the needs of residents and advance a shared vision for their neighborhood. Each finalist team will receive a $100,000 grant to support its ongoing project planning. One of these finalists will be chosen as the single $10 million Chicago Prize recipient next spring.
“The finalists for the Chicago Prize represent the shared leadership, creativity and commitment needed to revitalize our South and West Side neighborhoods and transform the economic life of our city,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “By driving investment in our historically underserved communities, we will uplift our families and local businesses, create growth that is both inclusive and sustainable and unlock the huge, untapped potential that exists across Chicago. Our greatest success comes when all of us are succeeding, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Chicago Prize finalists and the Pritzker Traubert Foundation as we move forward towards our shared vision together.”
“It’s clear that the Chicago Prize’s call to folks living on the South or West Sides to dream big and plan thoughtfully was more than met,” said Bryan Traubert, co-founder and trustee of the Pritzker Traubert Foundation before an audience of over 200 people at the finalists’ announcement. “This project hopes to demonstrate that encouraging collaboration and providing financial resources could help unleash the change that these neighborhoods have long sought. Congratulations to all of the finalist teams.”
Traubert was joined by co-founder and trustee Penny Pritzker at The Hatchery to meet the finalist teams. “Chicago is our home and we are deeply committed to doing all we can to help strengthen the economic future for more of our residents, so that our communities thrive,” said Pritzker. “The Chicago Prize was created as flexible, private capital for neighborhoods that have been overlooked for investment. This evening, we are pleased to advance six teams toward the Chicago Prize; each represents an innovative, bold idea that deserves support.”
The finalists include Catalytic Development of Auburn Gresham comprised of team members Greater Auburn Development Corporation, Green Era, Urban Growers Collective and New Pisgah Community Service Organization; Economic Equity and Opportunity via A Little Village Community Hub comprised of team members Delta Institute and Little Village Environmental Justice Organization; Go Green on Racine: An Englewood Rising Project comprised of team members Inner City Muslim Action Network, Teamwork Englewood, Resident Association of Greater Englewood and E.G. Woode; Now Is the Time: Advancing North Lawndale Together comprised of team members Lawndale Christian Development Corporation, Lawndale Christian Legal Center, New Covenant CDC, North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council, North Lawndale Employment Network, Sinai Community Institute, Sinai Health System and Under the Grid; The Aspire Initiative: Building A Stronger Cradle-to-Career Pipeline in Austin comprised of team members Westside Health Authority, Austin Coming Together, By the Hand Club, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, LISC Chicago, IFF, Lamar Johnson Collaborative, Purpose Built Communities and Applegate Thorne-Thomsen; Working Together to Reinvigorate South Chicago comprised of team members Claretian Associates, Interfaith Housing Development Corporation, Special Service Area #5, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish/School, Pilgrim Baptist Church, NeighborSpace and 10th Ward Alderwoman Susan Garza.
“Each Chicago Prize finalist team was chosen because they understand their community and have the skills and vision required to make a difference,” said Cindy Moelis, president of the Pritzker Traubert Foundation. “Our goal with the Chicago Prize is to empower communities to use their built environment as a tool for change. Each of these finalists are proposing big plans that make sense at this moment for their neighborhood. The Chicago Prize will be awarded to the team that can best demonstrate their ability to execute on those plans and create something bigger for their community and the City.”
Finalists were selected during a three-month review process that involved over 65 diverse civic leaders and subject matter experts with experience in community development, finance, philanthropy and civic and nonprofit leadership, including Dr. Helene Gayle, President and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust, and Juan Salgado, President of the City Colleges of Chicago, who were part of the final deliberations with the Pritzker Traubert Foundation Trustees Penny Pritzker, Bryan Traubert and Kevin Poorman.
“Chicago’s South and West Sides are home to some of our city’s most effective and creative nonprofits, social service agencies and community development organizations, providing tangible solutions to challenges linked to decades of disinvestment in these communities,” said Gayle. “The Chicago Prize finalists represent the type of community-led collaborative initiatives that have the power to bring transformative change and chart a new course of inclusive economic growth in our region.
In addition to the $100,000 planning grant that is being awarded to each of the six Finalists, 14 other teams whose applications were highly ranked by the reviewers will receive a $10,000 award to support their ongoing work and planning.
The Chicago Prize was developed by the Pritzker Traubert Foundation with counsel from Lever for Change, an affiliate of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and support from the Urban Institute and The Bridgespan Group. The April 2019 launch of the Chicago Prize drew interest by hundreds of organizations representing nearly every neighborhood across the South and West Sides of the city. Over 80 teams submitted full applications to the ChicagoPrize.org portal by the mid-August deadline.