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10 Earn Awards at 20th Anniversary CNDA

More than 1,500 people from neighborhood organizations, philanthropies, businesses and government joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel Thursday to celebrate the 20th Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards ceremony. 

The Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards are coveted by developers, neighborhood organizations, architects and others who are engaged in local community development.

Photos by CEI Media Group

The annual event – dubbed the Oscars of community development – this year was structured around the theme The Power of Neighborhoods, as its 10 awards acknowledged significant real estate developments, architecture, community organizing and individual achievements in a variety of areas. See this year's photos.

Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago (LISC Chicago) initiated the awards in 1995, when few people across the nation were confident in either the sustainability of cities or the power of neighborhoods. It was the nation’s only juried awards for community-based architecture, development and organizing. Read about CNDA's history.

The Awards have served as a catalyst for innovation, best practices, and urban transformation ever since. CNDA both honors and inspires the work that makes Chicago’s neighborhoods a model for the nation. 

“Whether you work downtown at a bank or foundation, or out in the neighborhoods with a community group, we get so wrapped up in the work at hand that we forget there are others out there with the same goals, the same issues,” said Susana Vasquez, executive director of LISC Chicago. “CNDA is our chance to experience collective energy. We gather. We get re-charged. We get inspired.” 

While the short video, Twenty Years of Building Community, ” looked back, a pre-Awards panel looked ahead, with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, community organizers David Doig, Demond Drummer, Michael Rodriguez and moderator Natalie Moore providing commentary on how neighborhoods are responding to today’s challenges. 

Award winner Lawrence Benito with U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky at the Feb. 20 CNDA ceremony.

Event Chair Edward J. Wehmer, founder and CEO of Wintrust Financial, spoke of Chicago as a place defined not by its uniformity, but by its diversity. “So much vitality and innovation in this great city,” said Wehmer, ”is born not in the downtown of which we are so proud, but in communities on all sides of the city.” 

Awards were given in 10 categories – including one new prize, The Woods Fund Chicago Power of Community Award. Among the winning projects were an arts incubator; the transformation of abandoned homes in Back of the Yards; and a campaign to combat “wage theft.” 

“For the past two decades, CNDA winners and applicants have inspired us with their vision and tenacity,” said Vasquez of LISC Chicago. "Celebrating their victories allows us to reflect on the power of neighborhoods to transform lives and transform a city.”

This year’s awards are:


The Chicago Community Trust Outstanding Community Strategy of the Year Award ($20,000)

To the University of Chicago Arts & Public Life Incubator, which in collaboration with the community created a new 55th Street Arts Incubator that enhances the neighborhood by serving local artists and encouraging arts education and involvement for all.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the keynote speaker, with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Outstanding Non-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project ($15,000)

The Resurrection Project for its Back of the Yards Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative, in which it creatively used federal funds to reclaim and rehabilitate foreclosed properties to save homes, enhance property values, create jobs and in doing so create a more stable and cohesive community. 

The Polk Bros. Foundation Affordable Rental Housing Preservation Award ($15,000)

Voice of the People of Uptown and the Chicago Community Development Corporation for Hazel Winthrop Apartments, in which this oldest of Chicago’s neighborhood development organizations used new financial tools and alliances to preserve affordable housing in a changing community. 

The Outstanding For-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project Award

Related Companies for Parkway Gardens Homes – One of the nation’s most sophisticated developers, Related Companies has successfully taken on one of Chicago’s largest, oldest and most troubled housing developments (once home to Michelle Obama) and restored it as an asset to the Woodlawn community. 

The Woods Fund Chicago Power of Community Award (a new award, $15,000)

Just Pay for All Coalition – Only four years old, the Coalition’s work to end wage theft and return stolen wages to workers has met with unrivaled success in both the legislative and regulatory arenas, for the first time providing protection to workers from unscrupulous employers. 

The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design, First Place ($15,000)

Landon Bone Baker Architects for Harvest Commons Apartments For their restoration and reconfiguration of a landmark building on Chicago’s West Side into comfortable affordable living quarters for those who seek single occupancy residences (undertaken for Heartland Housing). 

“So much vitality and innovation in this great city,” said Event Chair Edward J. Wehmer, CEO of Wintrust Financial, "is born not in the downtown of which we are so proud, but in communities on all sides of the city.”

The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design, Second Place ($3,000)

JGMA for Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy – For its reconfiguration of a long-vacant factory building in PIlsen into a modern, well-lit high school that centers on health education as a pathway to college and work and stands as an icon of the neighborhood’s commitment to the future (for Instituto Del Progreso Latino). 

The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design, Third Place ($2,000)

Landon Bone Baker Architects for the Jackson at Woodlawn Park -- For their design and execution of replacement housing for the long-deteriorating Grove Parc Plaza, which has provided fine quality housing for residents and a new gateway to the Woodlawn community (for Preservation of Affordable Housing). 

The PrivateBank Norman Bobins Leadership Award ($5,000)

Lawrence Benito, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights For his demonstrated leadership in defending the rights of immigrants and refugees, from the successful effort to provide licenses for undocumented workers to his work on congressional acts concerning immigration reform. 

The Richard M. Daley Friend of the Neighborhoods Award

Raul Raymundo, The Resurrection Project – For his leadership in Chicago’s neighborhoods and beyond, and his tireless commitment to improving the lives of working families.

See event photos. 

Thanks to our sponsors

CNDA is underwritten by presenting sponsor Wintrust Financial as well as lead sponsors: Allstate; Bank of America; BMO Harris Bank; Chicago Community Trust; Citi; JPMorgan Chase; MB Financial Bank; Northern Trust; Peoples Gas; PNC Bank; Polk Bros. Foundation; PrivateBank; RBS Citizens/Charter One Bank; Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; State Farm; The Habitat Company; US Bank; and Woods Fund of Chicago.

CNDA is also supported by: Accion Chicago; Applegate Thorne-Thomsen; Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council; Brinshore Development; Camiros; Chicago Bears; Chicago Community Loan Fund; Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives; CohnReznick, LLP; Comcast; Community Investment Corporation; Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.; Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago; Fifth Third Bank; First Merit Bank; Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses; Greater Southwest Development Corporation; Hispanic Housing Development Corp.; Holsten Development; IFF; Illinois Housing Council; Illinois Housing Development Authority; Lighten-Gale Group; Matanky Realty; Mercy Housing; Miner, Barnhill & Galland, P.C.; Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago; North Lawndale Employment Network; Pierce Family Foundation; Preservation of Affordable Housing; Teska Associates; The CARA Program; The Community Builders; University of Chicago; Urban Partnership Bank; Walsh Group; and Wight & Company.

Posted in Economic Development, Housing, Placemaking


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