Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards’ Marks 20th Year February 20th

“The Power of Neighborhoods” – the 20th Annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards will be held February 20, 2014 at Chicago Hilton & Towers, 720 S. Michigan Ave.

CHICAGO, IL — We all talk a great deal about innovation- prognosticating the success of “start-up’s,” discovering the new Groupons, tracking the buzz at 1871, throwing around words like “incubator” and “accelerator.” But often overlooked is the fact that Chicago’s neighborhoods have for generations been their own incubators of innovative ideas and economic development. Solutions to some of our most seemingly intractable problems have come from entrepreneurs literally in our own backyard.

The Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards (CNDA) was launched twenty years ago to lift up the rock stars of community innovation— the “shark tank” of development before contests were cool. Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago (LISC Chicago) initiated the awards in 1995, when few across the nation were confident in either the sustainability of cities or the power of neighborhoods. It was – and remains – the nation’s only juried awards for community based architecture, development and organizing. CNDA both honors and inspires the work that makes Chicago’s neighborhoods a model for the nation.

The CNDA Awards have served as a catalyst for innovation, best practices, and urban transformation– recognizing that it was not only in corporate boardrooms or city planning departments that innovation occurred and strategy developed, but also in the neighborhoods.

On Thursday, February 20, more than 1,500 cross-sector leaders from throughout the city will join Mayor Rahm Emanuel for what has been called “the Oscars of community development.” Themed The Power of Neighborhoods, the event will honor paramount projects of 2013, and celebrate 20 years of community development and gathered leaders to discuss and address the challenges facing communities and the city today.

While there have been literally hundreds of innovators honored over the years, this year’s honorees include:

Raul Raymundo and The Resurrection Project: With foreclosures mounting and threatening the Pilsen and Back of the Yards Neighborhoods where the organization works, TRP innovatively joined forces with Wintrust, bought the local bank, refinanced the mortgages and when not possible purchased, rehabbed and sold the properties, stabilizing the neighborhood, reducing crime and ensuring its future.

Lawrence Benito of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights – who with immigration reform stalled in congress and more hundreds of thousands of undocumented workers at risk in Illinois, came up with the idea and successfully led the battle to procure drivers’ licenses for undocumented immigrants

Theaster Gates and the University of Chicago for the (much already written about) adaptive reuse of a long abandoned building on Garfield Blvd as an art’s incubator, nurturing artists and the community alike

The Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) for its reimagining of an entrance way to Woodlawn and its creation of Woodlawn Park as a mixed income, mixed use gateway to the community.

Just Pay for All Coalition for its first-ever and successful fight against the long invisible wage theft – a fight which not only changed Illinois and Chicago law but also regulations that now prevent this egregious but all too common practice.

And many more.

Prior to the Awards ceremony there will be a panel discussion, moderated by WBEZ’s Natalie Moore, and featuring Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky; David Doig, CNI Group; Demond Drummer, Teamwork Englewood; and Michael D. Rodriguez, Enlace Chicago. With past as prologue, the panel will address the current challenges that the city faces and the innovative solutions being forged to meet them.

Panel discussion: 3:00 p.m. Awards ceremony: 4:30 p.m.

Who: Panel: Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, WBEZ Reporter Natalie Moore, Pullman’s David Doig, Little Village’s Mike Rodriguez, Englewood’s Demond Drummer

There will be a film featuring former Mayor Richard M. Daley, community leaders document changes, prestigious awards honor this year’s Best in Community Development, Organizing and Architecture, Panel Offers View of Future Challenges and Opportunities

Award Ceremony: Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Edward J. Wehmer, Wintrust, special film presentation featuring Valerie Jarrett, Mayor Richard M. Daley, others, 1,600 Chicago community development leaders and elected officials

This year’s event is chaired by Edward J. Wehmer, Founder and CEO of Wintrust Financial, presenting sponsor of CNDA. CNDA is underwritten by lead sponsors: Allstate; Citi; MB Financial Bank; The PrivateBank; Bank of America; The Chicago Community Trust; Northern Trust; The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; BMO Harris Bank; LISC Chicago; PNC; State Farm; Charter One; The Habitat Company; Peoples Gas; US Bank; Chase; Polk Bros. Foundation; Woods Fund Chicago.

CNDA is also supported by: Accion Chicago; Applegate & Thorne-Thomsen, PC; Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council; Brinshore Development; Camiros, Ltd.; Chicago Bears Chicago Community Loan Fund; Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership; Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives; CohnReznick LLP; ComEd; 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 Corporation; Holsten Real Estate Development; IFF; Illinois Housing Development Authority; Illinois Housing Council; 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, Inc.; The Community Builders; University of Chicago; Urban Partnership Bank; Walsh Construction; Wight & Company

Established in 1995 by Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago (LISC Chicago) – one of the nation’s most respected leaders in community development – CNDA is typically attended by more than 1,500 civic, community, government, corporate and philanthropic leaders. The awards were created to honor the extraordinary development activity in Chicago’s neighborhoods and to inspire emulation of the quality and boldness demonstrated by the awardees.

For more information, visit www.lisc-cnda.org or email cnda@lisc.org