<< back to releases

Press Contact

Laura McElroy
MK Communications
laura@mkcpr.com
312-822-0505

 

CNDA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

18th Annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards®
Honor City’s Best in Community Development
1,400 Join to Honor 10 Award Winners

For high resolution photos please visit: http://bit.ly/zwYhg8

For video clips please visit: http://clients.anglepark.com/cnda/

CHICAGO (February 29, 2012) – An environmentally-correct produce distribution warehouse in Back of the Yards, an anti-violence program in Little Village, and an affordable housing development in Roseland were among the 10 winners of the 18th annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards® (CNDA), held yesterday at the Chicago Hilton & Towers. The high-profile event attracted more than 1,500 people, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel; CNDA chair Wim Elfrink, executive vice president and chief globalization officer of Cisco; Richard Driehaus; Lori Healey; and leaders of Chicago’s non-profit, corporate and philanthropic sectors. 
 
Created and managed by Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago (LISC Chicago), CNDA is the nation’s largest awards program dedicated to neighborhood-based development. The theme for this year’s event, “Building the 21st Century City,” was reflected in a pre-event forum in which four city leaders from varying fields presented their five big ideas for making the 21st century city.
 
“Chicago is uniquely positioned to be an urban lab for innovation and show the world how to build a truly connected and sustainable city,” said Susana L. Vasquez, LISC Chicago’s executive director. “Through their impactful programs, inspiring architecture and creative neighborhood facilities, tonight’s winners remind us that what really matters most in the 21st century city is showing respect for both people and place. It is only through the enrichment of our many vibrant neighborhoods that Chicago will continue to lead in the market place of ideas.”
 
A total of 10 awards were given out: seven for various aspects of community development leadership (recognizing programs, projects and individuals), and three sponsored by the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design. This year marked 15 years of Driehaus winners. Many of the awards were accompanied by monetary gifts, ranging from $2,000 to $20,000.
 
“Everything is becoming connected.  Hundreds of millions of people are moving to cities looking for new opportunities.  This means we must look at things differently when we build new cities or revitalize existing cities,” said Elfrink. “Technology, as part of a city’s master plan, can be an extremely powerful enabler of economic, demographic and environmental sustainability. Cisco has the privilege of working with the visionary leaders to use technology in a way that will stimulate economic growth in the great city of Chicago, improve productivity and enhance the quality of life.”

 

This year’s winners are:
 
The Chicago Community Trust Outstanding Community Strategy of the Year ($20,000):
Enlace Chicago for Violence Prevention Programs – This Little Village-based community development organization is taking a multi-pronged approach to curbing neighborhood violence that involves all community stakeholders– from youth, to parents, to schools, employers and institutions.
 
Little Village’s youthful population – the youngest of any Chicago neighborhood– contributes to the neighborhood’s vitality. But roughly 2,000 Little Village youth are believed to be involved in gangs, which are the source of street violence. Enlace realized that a comprehensive and innovative approach to healing the neighborhood was needed. Building on 10 years of work with the Violence Prevention Collaborative, Enlace developed six initiatives that now comprise the Violence Prevention programs.
 
Bilingual safety networks, community watch and “safe passage” programs compel greater community involvement and reinforce the notion that neighborhood safety is everyone’s responsibility. Mentorship and advocacy programs provide internships, social services and employment opportunities. Sports and educational programming are available during the evenings, weekends and summer. These programs, in conjunction with a partnership with the renowned Ceasefire organization, provide meaningful help and alternatives for young people.
 
Enlace has actively recruited youth formerly involved in violence and placed them in positive, community-building roles in which they are encouraged to pursue internships and summer jobs as well as to consider postsecondary education. To see how the agency’s engagement techniques have proven successful, look no further than the youth participation in the creation of Silver Skate Plaza, a community skateboarding park. 
 
Through holistic engagement, Enlace has empowered and enabled an entire neighborhood.   

 

Outstanding Non-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project ($15,000):
Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago (NHS) for Roseland Place: Through community collaboration and sustainable innovation, this organization, in partnership with Mercy Housing Lakefront, expanded senior housing and services on the South Side with opening of Roseland Place, a welcoming, home-like environment.
 
When Chicago’s booming steel industry shut down, many Roseland jobs went with it, resulting in the vacant lots and abandoned buildings that are the signature of widespread disinvestment.  Local senior residents were left to cope in a community that offered few resources. NHS saw an opportunity to meet senior housing needs while anchoring community revitalization. 
 
After assessing the needs of older residents, NHS of Chicago developed Roseland Place, a five- story, 60-unit apartment building for seniors built on a two-block former brownfield site along South Michigan Avenue. The L-shaped structure is adjacent to the affordable, two-story intergenerational “Grandfamily” building, also developed by NHS. With the existing supportive living facility, the buildings form the Roseland Senior Campus – a LEED certified development featuring solar hot water, Energy Star appliances and low flow plumbing. The development of Roseland Place was funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the City of Chicago.
 
Residents have access to an onsite coordinator, linking tenants to formal education classes and social services. A meeting room with a warming kitchen, billiards center, computer lab, library and hair salon enhance the development of true community.

 

The Polk Bros. Foundation Affordable Rental Housing Preservation Award ($15,000):
Mercy Housing Lakefront for the Harold Washington Apartments – Mercy Housing Lakefront is recognized for its major renovation and preservation of the historic Harold Washington Apartments in the Uptown neighborhood. The award honors those organizations that recognize the importance of maintaining high quality, affordable multi-family rental housing across Chicago. 
 
Uptown, which has long served as a gateway community for newcomers, was the site of Chicago’s first long-term supportive housing facility – the Harold Washington Apartments, 69 units housed in the historic 1930s Moreland Hotel and renovated by Lakefront SRO in 1989. 
 
But the intervening years were hard on the building, prompting Mercy Housing Lakefront to step in and undertake one of the city’s most striking examples of affordable housing renovation and historic preservation.
 
Using complex financing that involved local, state and federal agencies, combined with funds dedicated to historic preservation, “green” projects and affordability, Mercy cobbled together financing that allowed for the $68 million renovation of the entire building to LEED standards. Renovation included fundamental system changes such as geothermal heating and cooling systems, low-flow plumbing fixtures, Energy Star appliances, and increased insulation and energy-saving windows. Critical amenities such as individual bathrooms, communal meeting spaces, a new laundry room, computer lab, and an employment, training and education center were also added. Locally-sourced building materials were used in the renovation whenever possible.

 

The Outstanding For-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project Award:
Testa Properties LLC for Testa Produce Distribution Facility – Testa Produce, whose bright blue fruit and vegetable trucks are recognizable throughout the city, has a striking new entity on which to hang its corporate identity – a distribution facility that sets a new standard for green commercial design.
 
While vacant property is often viewed as a problem, to Testa an empty 13-acre brownfield site in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood was an opportunity that would serve its business plan and the community as well. Testa erected a sleek, white, three-story building that houses its corporate offices and an enormous refrigerated warehouse space. The 91,299-square-foot building is LEED Platinum Certified – the first food service distribution facility in the nation to receive such distinction.
 
A soaring 238-foot, 750 kilowatt wind turbine provides 30 percent of the building’s annual energy needs—cutting costs and carbon. A 45,650-square-foot sloping vegetated roof, solar water heaters, and LED lighting complete the thoughtfully designed building. Plug-in charging stations for electric vehicles and a high-tech forest of pole-mounted solar panel “trees” surround the modern, energy efficient building.
 
Construction of the building – on land purchased from the City of Chicago for $1 and funded through Recovery Zone Bonds, New Market Tax Credits, and loans from MB Financial Bank – began at a time when many firms were postponing new projects. It brought hundreds of temporary jobs to a community in financial distress. Now completed, the distribution facility brought 120 permanent new jobs to the neighborhood, with the potential for additional growth. 
 
By keeping its operations in the city, Testa is helping to transform a struggling neighborhood and is raising the standard for sustainable operations in the industry.  

 

Special Recognition Award ($5,000):
North Lawndale Employment Network – Each year, 40,000 Illinois men and women come home from prison, eager for a second chance. But often the adjustment is a struggle. One organization in Lawndale, though, is re-thinking re-entry and has designed a series of programs to help former offenders succeed in the workplace.
 
Barred from many types of employment, ex-offenders often struggle to find steady work and frequently end up re-incarcerated – as reflected in the state’s 55 percent recidivism rate. Seeing up close how re-incarceration collapses families and communities across Chicago, NLEN set out to tackle the issue in its own neighborhood.
 
Working with partner agencies, NLEN has designed and implemented programs to help former inmates secure jobs with family-supporting wages and improve the earning potential of Lawndale as a whole.
 
NLEN’s flagship program, U-Turn Permitted, trains men and women with criminal convictions the skills needed to re-enter and excel in the workforce. In addition to employment skills, participants are taught the habits, attitudes and values necessary to succeed. Recognizing that employer attitudes are often the major hindrance to employment, NLEN has adopted an innovative approach to collaboratively working with employers to find a mutually beneficial fit.
 
But NLEN goes far beyond traditional job training. Its most well-known venture, Sweet Beginnings, trains employees as landscapers, beekeepers and food processors at an urban bee farm in the heart of Lawndale. Honey produced is used to create beeline®, honey-infused skin care products sold throughout the country. This innovative on-the-job training provides participants with a work history and a great sense of accomplishment. The recidivism rate for graduates is a mere four percent.
 
Complementing this work is NLEN’s Center for Working Families (CWF), where neighborhood residents can gain the financial skills needed not only to earn money but to spend and save it wisely. The national CWF network is based on the recognition that financial literacy and stability are essential in turning around the economic trajectory of a family and of a neighborhood.
 
NLEN’s work goes beyond helping individuals reach their potential and seize their second chance.  It has begun to influence the conversation and change the tone surrounding the hiring of former offenders.

 

Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design, First Place ($15,000):
Landon Bone Baker Architects for Roseland Senior Campus – Recognizing the needs of the Roseland neighborhood’s aging population, Landon Bone Baker Architects—funded by the Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago (NHS)—designed a comprehensive project that provides seniors with a safe and comfortable atmosphere in their own neighborhood. The campus, located at South Michigan Avenue and 104th Street, comprises the intergenerational “Grandfamily” building and the Independent Living Facility (ILF), which are connected by an enclosed courtyard/garden to the existing supportive care building.

The ILF blends in with the neighborhood by pulling the five-story portion of the building away from Michigan Avenue, creating an expansive green space. A step-back design allows for greater light and air toward Michigan Avenue, and the Grandfamily building was lowered to two stories to fit in more comfortably with the single family context of the neighborhood. Colorful blue and green siding and modular brick were used on the building facades. Facing outward, the buildings provide a vibrant face to a relatively depressed stretch of a main road through the Roseland community.

A garden and play space for grandchildren develop a sense of community and promote senior wellness by supporting an independent lifestyle while providing enhanced accessibility and services for those with needs.

Using a state affordable housing energy grant, Landon Bone Baker installed additional insulation, air sealing, energy-efficient equipment and lighting to reduce costs and enhance energy efficiency. The building also boasts permeable paved parking lots, green roofs, and landscaping that responsibly reduces storm water run-off. Large windows allow for greater natural light in the building lobby and family solarium.
 
In designing the $16.7 million development, Landon Bone Baker gave new architectural life to a once vacant, debris filled property on South Michigan Avenue. 

 

Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design, Second Place ($3,000):
Wheeler Kearns Architects for Inspiration Kitchens-Garfield Park – Once an abandoned manufacturing structure adjacent to Garfield Park, a one-story brick building on the southwest side at 3504 W. Lake St. now stands as a stunning example of “adaptive reuse.” Wheeler Kearns transformed the almost windowless 1906 building into a light-filled restaurant, training center and community space. Inspiration Kitchen’s dual use as a restaurant and training facility allows neighbors affected by poverty to eat well, develop marketable skills and ultimately increase self-sufficiency. The restaurant provides meals at no cost to low-income East Garfield Park residents.
 
Funded by the Inspiration Corporation, Wheeler Kearns dreamed up a new life for the $1.5 million project. A wide façade of windows now open up the interior and illuminate the street at night. High ceilings, brick walls and exposed beams of locally reclaimed wood make the restaurant intimate and warm, while maintaining the original urban loft feel of the building. Intricate woodwork on the central walls shrouds a classroom/meeting room, storage spaces and a computer alcove provided for community use.

Wheeler Kearns also had sustainability in mind in the design for Inspiration Kitchens. North facing skylights of high performance glass allow natural light to enter during the day and hold down energy costs.  Energy efficient kitchen equipment further reduces energy costs and environmental damage, while solar thermal panels provide the energy to process hot water for the training and service kitchens. A sustainable garden has transformed the once-vacant lot into a vibrant urban green space that provides a backdrop for diners and cooks in training, and fresh herbs and vegetables for the restaurant.

 

Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design, 3rd Place ($2,000):
John Ronan Architects for Gary Comer College Prep — The success of the Gary Comer Youth Center—first place winner of the 2007 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award— brought a new sense of hope to the Grand Crossing neighborhood. Seeking to expand on that success, the community began organizing through block clubs and neighborhood meetings to build a charter high school. John Ronan Architects was commissioned for this $15 million project and strove to design a building that would inspire students and reflect the school’s philosophy that with grit, zest and optimism, anything is possible.
 
The school uses the cafeteria, music and art rooms at the adjacent youth center, so students travel between the two buildings throughout the day. With that in mind, John Ronan designed a true campus. Green, corrugated stainless steel cladding brightens the landscape of the surrounding area and binds the school to the brightly colored youth center. While the perforated metal siding exterior serves to keep the building cool, it also provides a transparency that reflects the schools philosophy of openness— a theme carried out throughout the building.
 
Interior glass walls allow visual access to class rooms and lecture halls. Skylights and walls of windows transmit abundant light and vibrant graphics create a spacious, uplifting atmosphere. Completing the “campus” feeling is a cloistered courtyard which provides a place for students and faculty to gather away from the street.

 

The PrivateBank Norman Bobins Leadership Award ($5,000):
Sol Flores, La Casa Norte – Flores learned early on the importance of compassion and giving back. Her grandparents, Puerto Rican immigrants, raised hundreds of foster children, ensuring that Flores never lacked for company growing up on Chicago’s Near West Side. The house full of kids taught Flores to be kind and to always make her voice heard.
 
Those early lessons, combined with a contagious enthusiasm and endless energy, led Flores to help found La Casa Norte (LCN) in 2002. LCN began as a crisis management and job skills center for youth and families that were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, but four years later built its first housing facility.

Since then the organization has helped thousands of vulnerable young people and families in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood. Under Flores’s leadership, LCN has grown from a small outfit with three employees to a thriving organization that provides housing, advocacy services, counseling, and job training to a primarily Latino population.

LCN works four main avenues. Casa Corazon provides street outreach and a drop-in center to help West Side youth move from the streets into more stable housing, employment and educational situations. The Crisis Center Program offers bilingual and culturally sensitive case management, support and emergency funds to help individuals and families that are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The Esperanza Trabajando program focuses on job readiness, placement and job training.

One of LCN’s crowning achievements was the 2009 opening of the Solid Ground Supportive Housing Program – housing for homeless male youth that provides both a roof and individual services with the warmth, comfort and safety of a home. A total renovation won Solid Ground a Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in 2008. While most of the youth housing services in Chicago provide only emergency or temporary housing, Solid Ground was created as a permanent option, providing more stability for its residents. Residents can stay for up to two years or until their 21st birthday. Flores says that in addition to a roof and companionship, Solid Ground and LCN’s other programs offer, above all, a second chance.

 

The Richard M. Daley Friend of the Neighborhoods Award:
Sunny Fischer, Richard H. Driehaus Foundation – For her lifetime of service to Chicago’s neighborhoods, Sunny Fischer, executive director of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, is the recipient of the 2012 Richard M. Daley Friend of the Neighborhoods Award. It’s bestowed on city leaders who have made outstanding contributions to the quality of life in Chicago’s neighborhoods, with a particular focus on community development, grassroots organization and economic strengthening.

Truly embodying the term “friend of the neighborhood,” Sunny’s  tireless work—particularly with women and minorities— has turned around entire neighborhoods and improved countless lives.
 
Raised in New York City’s public housing, Sunny honed her skills with a college degree in English and a master’s degree in social work. Sunny has used her upbringing and skills to fight for social justice throughout her long and distinguished career.

While best known for her work in design and architecture with the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Sunny has also shared her skills and time with a number of community organizations.

An ardent defender of women’s rights, Sunny was a founding mother of the Sophia Fund and the Chicago Foundation for Women. With a knowledge of and concern for the voices of the “unheard,” she founded the Neighborhood Writing Alliance and the Journal of Ordinary Thought, which provides underprivileged adults with a creative outlet to write and perform their works.  Always committed to telling the “peoples’ history,” Sunny was a creator of the National Public Housing Museum, where she still serves as a board member, chief organizer and fundraiser of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law.
 
Through her years at the Driehaus Foundation, Sunny has contributed to changing the way that neighborhood architecture is perceived and practiced. In 1998, with the belief that good architecture enhances neighborhoods and improves the lives of the individuals who live and work in buildings, Sunny and Richard Driehaus initiated the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design, to be presented at the annual CNDA. 15 years later, the award continues to recognize and inspire a new standard for neighborhood architecture.
 

_____________

 

Applications representing a wide range of community organizations and development efforts were submitted for the CNDA awards.  Each application was assigned to a team of three or four judges who reviewed the application and visited the facility or project.  Volunteer judges from the non-profit and for-profit sectors participated. Judges rated applicants on development process or organizational effectiveness, community impact and project or organizational challenge.  The Awards Committee reviewed all of the applications and judges’ score sheets and discussed the merits of each application in detail.

 
Applications were taken separately for the three Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Awards for Architectural Excellence in Community Design. A Driehaus jury of volunteers evaluated the 18 applications and conducted 10 site reviews of the finalists.  Their decisions were based on the quality of a project’s design within the constraints imposed by funding and regulatory agencies, the project’s contribution to the comprehensive development of the community, and the extent to which the project can be viewed as a model of design for developments in other neighborhoods.
 
Established in 1995, CNDA recognizes outstanding achievements in neighborhood real estate development and community building, especially the achievements of community development corporations, other community-based organizations and for-profit developers working to build healthier neighborhoods in the Chicago metropolitan area.  Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago (LISC Chicago) manages the awards, in keeping with its mission to combine corporate, government and philanthropic resources to help nonprofit community development corporations revitalize city neighborhoods. LISC Chicago has invested $179 million in local comprehensive development programs, leveraging an additional $5 billion in community investment from other sources. The result is 29,000 units of affordable housing, over 5 million square feet of commercial space, and a variety of social and economic development programs.

 

This year’s awards were generously underwritten by:
 
Allstate; Bank of America; BMO Harris Bank; Charter One; Chase; The Chicago Community Trust; Cisco; Citi; LISC Chicago; Northern Trust; PNC; Polk Bros. Foundation; The Private Bank; The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; State Farm; US Bank; Applegate & Thorne-Thomsen, PC; Brinshore Development; Camiros, Ltd.; Chicago Bears; Chicago Community Loan Fund; Cole Taylor Bank; Community Reinvestment Fund; Enterprise Community Investment, Inc.; Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago; Fifth Third Bank ; FirstMerit Bank; The Habitat Company; Holsten Real Estate Development; Illinois Housing Development Authority; Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP; MB Financial Bank; Matanky Realty; Miner, Barnhill & Galland, P.C.; National Equity Fund; Reznick Group; Teska Associates, Inc.; Urban Development Fund, LLC; Urban Partnership Bank; and The Walsh Group.

 

For more information, visit www.lisc-cnda.org

For high resolution photos please visit: http://bit.ly/zwYhg8

For video clips please visit: http://clients.anglepark.com/cnda/