Growing a Healthy Community in Englewood
by David Pesqueria, Senior Program Officer
Residents are the most important assets to any community. Yet many communities face challenges, such as high poverty, unemployment, failing schools and housing instability that directly impact their residents and deter growth.
Englewood in Chicago is one such community. For decades, community residents, nonprofits and government-funded programs have worked tirelessly to reverse a declining population and job base, underperforming schools and high crime. In June, key community players, including community residents, Teamwork Englewood, Local Initiatives Support Corporation of Chicago (LISC-Chicago) and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, came together to begin discussing such challenges faced by the community. On the agenda, was updating a comprehensive community revitalization blueprint called the Quality of Life Plan, originally crafted in 2005, that has acted as a framework for building, sustaining and operationalizing community structures. Through the Quality of Life process, TeamWork Englewood’s charge is to bring residents and key stakeholders together to create a new plan for the community.
LISC-Chicago has begun this same process within three other Chicago communities including, Auburn Gresham, Belmont Cragin and Chicago Lawn. Over the course of the next several months, the cohorts of the four communities, including Englewood, will work together and independently to plan and develop a 5-10 year Quality of Life Plan with and for their respective communities.
During that time, the McCormick Foundation will provide updates on the Englewood Community’s progress on this first step towards the development and implementation of a Quality of Life Plan to guide newly identified community strategies and projects.