Sharon McFeders had been working at YWCA Metropolitan Chicago for five years under three CEOs when Dorri McWhorter became its new leader. The organization was losing money and sight of its mission, and the spirit overall was "just drab," McFeders recalls. She viewed McWhorter's entrance with a touch of skepticism. "Dorri comes in and she's happy," McFeders says. The then-executive assistant thought, "What's up her sleeve? Is she going to trick us with the happy and then drop a bomb?"Read More
Chicago's Englewood community isn't inviting for even the most socially conscious real estate developers. In some parts of the crime-ridden South Side neighborhood, two-thirds of residents live below the poverty line, household incomes average less than $20,000 a year and violence clouds the prospect of any substantial economic development taking root.Read More
It’s the ultimate in irony: The world’s most famous ex-community organizer is facing a minor uprising from the community where his presidential center is supposed to be built—the same community, in fact, where he got his start in politics.Read More
Impact investing appears to have been seduced by a convenient narrative. According to the prevailing view, the achievement of both social impact and market-rate financial returns is the norm—not the exception. Those who question the financial returns aspect of this assumption are portrayed as lacking business savvy. “If we want to change things and we want to make an impact, we can’t be hippy-ish about this,” pop singer and philanthropist Bono said at the Skoll World Forum in April. “Impact investing has really been an excuse for good people to do bad deals.”Read More
The Cottage Grove station on the Green Line — minutes from the future home of the Obama Presidential Center — is set for a major facelift, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other city officials announced Monday.
“We are investing in the future of the CTA, and in the future of Woodlawn,” the mayor said in a statement. “Investments like this one strengthen communities, attract private investment and drive neighborhood growth.”Read More
Yesterday during YWCA Metropolitan Chicago's annual meeting, CEO Dorri McWhorter announced a formal alliance with GRU and expressed her excitement of the infinite number of possibilities that are sure to come out of this union.
During his remarks, GRU's founder, Lamell McMorris spoke candidly about his connection to the neighborhood, his investment strategy and vision for creating a vibrant and prosperous community.Read More
After an increase in public investment in Woodlawn, the private sector has also begun to see major business opportunities in the neighborhood.
“The new grocery store targeted for this community, which has long suffered disinvestment, follows the arrival last fall of major grocery chains in two similar communities: Englewood, which saw the historic opening of a new Whole Foods store at 63rd and Halsted, and Bronzeville, which saw Mariano’s open at Pershing Road and King Drive.”
“Woodlawn is a community on the rise, growing for the first time in decades, and experiencing a slight drop in crime. U.S. Census data showed Woodlawn outpacing its fancy neighbor, Hyde Park, in growth between 2010 and 2015.”Read More
Qatari Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani was “scared to death” to visit Chicago. In 2012, the sheikh, with a net worth of $2.4B, was drawn to investment opportunities in Chicago real estate, but even from his home 7,000 miles away he grimaced when watching the news on television.
Like so many others, he was deeply troubled by vivid news reports on CNN and Sky News depicting tragic shootings of children and violent gang turf wars. Despite the blaring headlines — and later condemnations from then President-elect Donald Trump, who called the city a “war zone” — Al Thani did ultimately visit the Windy City.
And what he found was altogether surprising. While gun violence has certainly ballooned, the city has become a national leader in foreign investment into commercial real estate — to the tune of nearly $12.5B in the last five years.Read More
In March of 1968, Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. gave a powerful speech on "the other America" describing 2 separate and distinct American experiences: one for folks who were thriving, knocking at the doors of opportunity and plenty, and one for those shut out of the country's prosperity, plagued by "inadequate, substandard and often dilapidated housing conditions and substandard, inferior quality-less schools." He went on to describe what he saw as the only pathway to genuine equality: economic equality. He said, "For we know that it isn't enough to integrate lunch counters. What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn't earn enough money to buy a hamburger and a cup of coffee?"Read More
The Obama Library is expected to jolt the local economy, particularly in Woodlawn--an oft-neglected part of the South Side. Community leaders are organizing to ensure that the residents of Woodlawn see the benefits of this major undertaking.Read More
The CTA’s new Green Line station is a catalyst for new development in Woodlawn.
“As the south side community of Woodlawn watches its housing market heat up as the neighborhood prepares to welcome the highly anticipated Obama Presidential Center, a new mixed-use project is ready to dig in at 6253 S. Cottage Grove Avenue.”Read More
As the University of Chicago invests in the neighborhoods surrounding the campus, Woodlawn has seen an influx of young Black residents that see value in a once-dying community.
“Woodlawn is growing for the first time in more than 15 years and is now outpacing Hyde Park as young African-American families return to the neighborhood.”
The Trianon Lofts are market-rate rentals being developed in Woodlawn to expand housing options for lower-middle class Chicagoans.
“...the involvement and partnership of neighborhood organizations, government agencies, financial and educational institutions, civic leaders, developers and the community. Woodlawn is a perfect example of how distressed urban neighborhoods can be re-designed to become communities of choice”Read More