We hope everyone had a safe, healthy, and happy New Year!
As we enter 2021 and look to the work ahead, we want to take a moment to reflect on the Chicago Prize journey, acknowledge the countless partners that have made this work possible, and invite you to continue collaborating to support more community-led projects across our city. The Pritzker Traubert Foundation team greatly appreciates your continued support of the Chicago Prize.
Chicago Prize 2020
In 2019, the Foundation invited community-based teams to share with us their ideas for catalytic development on the South and West Sides. From initial interest and submissions by scores of organizations, we received an overwhelming number of impactful proposals for neighborhood transformation. Ideas addressed the need for investments in housing, commercial development, health and wellness, education, social services, and beyond. Six Finalist teams represented six neighborhoods and received $100,000 planning grants and technical assistance to develop their initial ideas into final prospectuses that both informed the Foundation’s decision and brought other funders, investors, and partners to the table.
With nearly 70 judges involved in the process toward the final decision, “Always Growing, Auburn Gresham” was selected as the recipient of the Chicago Prize 2020.
Always Growing, Auburn Gresham
Led by the Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation, Urban Growers Collective, and Green Era Partners, the Always Growing, Auburn Gresham project leverages equitable transit-oriented development along a busy commercial corridor by converting a 1920’s terracotta structure into a “healthy lifestyle” mixed-use building, anchored by a Federally Qualified Health Center and other wellness tenants, at the intersection of 79th and Halsted streets. A few blocks away, an innovative recycling enterprise and urban farming campus offers a new-economy model for energy and jobs, as well as a place for growing, enjoying and buying fresh produce.
The initiative advances a unique investment model through which the local development entity, Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation, is both an investor and a community partner. This arrangement has the potential to produce a sustainable revenue stream to fund community development activities in Auburn Gresham for years to come.
The initiative will have an immediate economic and social impact on the community by: generating almost 700 employment opportunities (over half of which are permanent); improving access to health and wellness services and healthy food options in a community currently lacking such resources; promoting positive environmental and entrepreneurial gains; and providing intergenerational educational opportunities.
Chicago Prize Finalists
The Chicago Prize 2020 is about more than a single award. It is about advancing community-led ideas across the city. The big, bold, and audacious ideas curated and developed into compelling, investable business plans by teams in Austin, Englewood, Little Village, North Lawndale, and South Chicago require much more than a single commitment.
In order to help support their investment-ready ideas, the Foundation created the Chicago Prize 2020 Capital Matching Fund, offering up to $500,000 to each Finalist to support continued development of ideas and move one or more of each team’s projects “across the finish line” to create meaningful impact. We thank all the funders who have come forward to provide the match and much more. This effort has already increased the Chicago Prize 2020 commitment from $13 million made by the Foundation to over $35 million through the generosity of our funding partners and the City of Chicago.
An additional support provided to the community leaders is the Chicago Prize Finish Line Fund, which offers technical assistance (coordinated by The Chicago TREND Corporation) and funding to help accelerate more projects. This fund was established in partnership with JPMorgan Chase Foundation to support the implementation of the Chicago Prize 2020 Capital Matching Fund, continue to connect Finalist teams to networks across the city and beyond, and support their efforts to advance their ideas.
A Word of Thanks
The Pritzker Traubert Foundation owes enormous thanks to the many funders that have invested in the Chicago Prize 2020 teams. Special thanks to the MacArthur Foundation and Lever for Change, who encouraged and underwrote parts of the Chicago Prize 2020 competition, and to the funders (shown below) who believe in these communities and their leadership, and have chosen to invest in these critical efforts.
The Chicago Prize 2020 would also not have been possible without the neighborhood, citywide, and national partners like you who have contributed their time and talent to this effort. We thank the Honorable Mayor Lori Lightfoot, City of Chicago, along with the City’s Deputy Mayor Samir Mayekar and Department of Planning and Development Commissioner Maurice Cox, for their tireless leadership and commitment to Chicago’s communities. We are deeply appreciative of the members of the Finalist teams, the reviewers, and the many collaborators who were with us each step. We extend our sincere appreciation to our incredible partners at BCG Center for Illinois’ Future, Community Desk Chicago, Chicago TREND, Corporate Coalition, DLA Piper, FCB Chicago, IFF, Invest South/West, Kirkland & Ellis, Lever for Change, Lloyd Consulting Inc., Mt. Auburn Associates, National Community Investment Fund, Rudd Resources, RW Ventures LLC, SB Friedman, The Bridgespan Group, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, and a host of others that have helped shape the Chicago Prize and its implementation, provided direct support to the Finalists, and without whom this process would not have been possible.
Our work is just beginning. The Foundation remains committed to helping advance viable projects in all the six neighborhoods and to support community-led projects across Chicago at scale. We welcome your ideas and continued collaboration with us and others committed to investing in and supporting community-led efforts across our city.
All the best from the team at Pritzker Traubert Foundation — Penny, Bryan, Kevin, Cindy, Andy, Roshi, Yetunde
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