LISC National
News & Stories

A Call to Action: One Chicago for All


After a year of planning with dozens of key nonprofits and leaders throughout Chicago, LISC Chicago and its community partners unveiled A Call to Action from Chicago Neighborhoods – One Chicago for All – at the 24th Annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards on Thursday, April 5, 2018 to advocate for equity.

Chicago is a global city with the most diversified economy in the nation, creating 200,000 jobs since 2010 and ranked in the top ten of the world’s most competitive cities for business. But, much of that capital and innovation remains downtown. The city’s neighborhoods are an untapped source for growth, but do not share equally in the bounty.

The Call to Action represents 26 diverse neighborhoods with a combined population of more than 1 million residents. Though the neighborhoods face different challenges and needs, the vision is united:

With meaningful investment in neighborhoods, residents in our communities connect to sustained, living wage job opportunities at scale.

Together, the residents and organizations of Chicago’s neighborhoods, call on the city to:

1. Encourage more inclusive employers
2. Improve the effectiveness of workforce development systems
3. Widen access to capital
4. Increase and strengthen community-school partnerships to benefit families
5. Spend government resources to achieve equitable outcomes
6. Achieve greater housing stability in neighborhoods

Community organizations from across Chicago provided key input into the plan, said LISC Chicago’s Executive Director Meghan Harte. She added that each of the organizations involved is neighborhood based and has boots on the ground in communities. The organizations involved include LISC’s New Communities Network, created 15-years ago with leadership level support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the organizations that are part of LISC’s Financial Opportunity Center Network.  

“All of these organizations have come together in one voice,” Harte said. “With a very basic message to civic leadership – listen to the people and leaders in the neighborhoods before we do things to solve the problems in the neighborhoods.

The Call to Action contains numerous data and statistics, including:

“This is a call to action from the people that live and work in these neighborhoods,” Harte said.

Victor Dickson, President and CEO of the Safer Foundation, said he’s extremely excited to be a part of the group that created the Call to Action. Dickson’s organization supports efforts of people with arrest and conviction records to become employed and law-abiding members of the community, which as a result, reduces recidivism.

“This group’s recommendations across a number of areas really would transform this city and improve the lives of so many people,” Dickson said. “We’re on the ground, working with people and understanding how underrepresented populations can really serve. I’m really hopeful that we have the influencers, policy makers, elected officials and business people on board moving forward to make some of these initiatives happen. I hope that we continue to embrace the idea that everybody wins if these types of changes are implemented.”

Dickson said the next steps in the Call to Action is supporting the group to make the changes happen, developing action plans, engaging others to join the Call to Action and moving the work forward.

“Now, this is where the real work begins, which is to make progress,” Harte said.

If you are interested in getting involved contact Taryn Roch at

Watch the Livestream

Miss the live event? Watch the livestream recording of the Call to Action from the CNDA Forum. 

Watch Now
Download Call to Action

Read the Call to Action from the 24th Annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards. 

Learn More

CNDA Speakers:

Neighborhood Leaders:

Angela Hurlock, Claretian Associates
Brenda Palms-Barber, North Lawndale Employment Network
Carlos Nelson, Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation
Craig Chico, Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council
Darnell Shields, Austin Coming Together
Duwain Bailey, Network of Woodlawn
Edgar Ramirez, Chicago Commons
Earnest Gates, Near West Side Community Development Corporation
Javier Garibay, Central States SER
Guy Loudon, Jane Addams Resource Corporation
James Rudyk, Northwest Side Housing Center
Jeff Bartow, Southwest Organizing Project
Joy Aruguete, Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation
Juliana Gonzalez-Crussi, Center for Changing Lives
Karina Ayala-Bermejo, Instituto Del Progreso Latino
Katya Nuques, Enlace Chicago
Maria Kim, Cara
Meghan Harte, LISC Chicago
Mike Tomas, Garfield Park Community Council
Nancy Aardema, Logan Square Neighborhood Association
Perry Gunn/Cecile DeMello, Teamwork Englewood
Randall Blakey, Near North Unity Program
Raul Raymundo, The Resurrection Project
Rhonda McFarland, Quad Communities Development Corporation
Richard Townsell, Lawndale Christian Development Corporation
Ric Estrada, Metropolitan Family Services
Rodney Brown, New Covenant Community Development Corporation
Felicia Dawson, Preservation of Affordable Housing
Thomas Applegate, North River Commission
Victor Dickson, Safer Foundation