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CNDA Award Category Descriptions & Application Requirements

There are six Chicago Neighborhood Development Award categories that are open to Chicago-area organizations for application. Descriptions of the Awards and the questions that are included in the online application are below. All applications must be submitted through the online application system by September 7, 2017.

The Chicago Community Trust Outstanding Community Plan Award

recognizes the development and successful implementation of a community plan or strategy within Cook County that improves quality-of-life or addresses a specific need, opportunity or issue through a comprehensive planning and implementation model.

Comprehensive planning is an integrated approach to place-based development, coordinating efforts to achieve maximum benefits. It creates goals and objectives for multiple interrelated elements that make a community livable and prosperous for everyone, and engages diverse stakeholders in its creation, ownership and implementation. 

Applicants will be evaluated on leadership and innovation; stakeholder engagement in planning and implementation; partnerships at the local and citywide levels as appropriate; short and long-term impacts of the plan; impacts on low-income residents; and demonstrated improvement or change in the community’s physical and social infrastructure as a result of the plan.

Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations and government entities. The award is $15,000.

Application questions

  1.  Briefly describe the target community.
  2. Describe the planning process and the community plan or strategy that resulted. Please focus on how the plan engaged community residents, local and citywide institutions and the public and private sectors.
  3. If the plan is led by one organization, describe how it has partnered with other community organizations and community members to take ownership of various aspects of the plan. If the plan is led by multiple organizations, describe how the organizations worked as a group and with community members to develop and implement the plan.
  4. Describe the impact of the plan or strategy in the community to date.
  5. Describe the impact of the plan or strategy on the built environment to date (for example, commercial and industrial properties, housing, open space, community facilities, land use).
  6. Describe the impact of the plan or strategy on addressing quality of life needs or opportunities such as health, social services, safety, education and economic development.
  7. Describe specific measurable objectives in the plan.
  8. What have been the major obstacles or challenges to implementation and how have they been overcome?

Required Attachments: Project budget; Copy of the plan document; Option to upload photos or other supporting materials.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Healthy Community Award

recognizes a successful community- based effort to address the health of a low-to-moderate income neighborhood in the Chicago metropolitan area through creative and collaborative strategies.

The environments in which people live, work, learn, and play have a tremendous impact on their physical, behavioral and mental health. The greatest health challenges in communities today are complex and interconnected. Medical services, while vitally important, are only one factor in improving the health of a community. Also vital are understanding and addressing the social and economic determinants of health, such as economic status, educational attainment, race, gender and neighborhood characteristics. Therefore, improving the health of a community requires a holistic view and coordinated approach to community development that supports healthy behaviors and outcomes.

This award will celebrate the work of a successful place-based initiative that is improving the health of residents and/or the environment of a community in a way that contributes to an improvement in overall community health. The award will recognize efforts that take a Health in all Policies approach to community development; an effort that plans and implements specific policies, programs, and processes that focus on improving the health of a community with attention to equity, collaboration and sustainability.

Applicants will be evaluated by the engagement of neighborhood partners, residents and institutions, in informing and leading work that reflects innovative approaches to improving the health and well-being of their community.   Nominated programs should also demonstrate an understanding of the multi-dimensional factors that contribute to risky behaviors and health outcomes and incorporates these perspectives into the community strategies. The Award is $15,000.

Application Questions:

  1. Describe the geographic community and the targeted resident population that is the focus of the initiative. What health challenges and disparities does this community face?
  2. Explain how the initiative was developed and which area(s) of community health are being addressed through the initiative (e.g. environmental, physical, behavioral and/or mental health).
  3. Describe the initiatives program model: the key strategies, partners, funding sources, expected and actual outcomes to date. How does the program incorporate equity, collaboration and sustainability into the community health program model?
  4. Describe how the community – including residents and local organizations and institutions were engaged in identifying the health issues, developing the strategies and working on implementation. Is there a plan to sustain this community-led work beyond this particular program?
  5. What were the major obstacles or challenges to implementation, and how have they been overcome?
  6. Provide details on the program budget.

Application Requirements: Photos or other materials can be uploaded but are not required.

The Richard H. Driehaus Award for Outstanding Non-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project Award

recognizes a community development corporation for a specific real estate project that has contributed significantly to the enhancement of the community. The project must have been largely completed since, but not before, January 1, 2014. The organizations must have a primary role in the project, serving as sponsor, developer and/or owner. Joint ventures with for-profit developers are eligible if the organization's role is significant. Projects will be evaluated for: impact on the community; extent to which they involve local residents in the planning process; ability to meet local needs and overcome obstacles; and creativity in design and finance. All projects for this award must submit a project budget and project photograph. The award is $15,000.

  1. Briefly describe the target community and its needs.
  2. Briefly describe the project (size, number of units etc., cost per square foot), and its total cost and financing structure.
  3. Briefly describe the organizations's role in the project.
  4. Describe the community's involvement in the planning of the project.
  5. How has the project responded to the community's needs?
  6. Briefly describe any challenges or obstacles overcome in developing the project.
  7. Briefly describe any innovation in financing, design or construction that make this project unique.
  8. What further impact has the project had on the surrounding area? Has the project spurred additional investment in the community?

Application Requirements: Project Budget and 1-2 project photos.

The Polk Bros. Foundation Affordable Rental Housing Preservation Award

recognizes a for-profit developer or a non-profit community development organization for a specific real estate project in the City of Chicago that has preserved affordable rental housing.

This award seeks to recognize developers that have maintained the affordability of existing rental housing in properties at risk due to expiring affordability requirements or sub-standard conditions.

Government agencies are not eligible for this award. The project must be located within the City of Chicago. The project must have been largely completed since, but not before, January 1, 2014.

Projects will be evaluated for: impact on the community; extent to which they involved local residents or building tenants in the planning process; ability to meet local needs and overcome obstacles, creativity in design and finance; and sponsor's willingness to share project lessons and learnings with others working to preserve affordable rental housing. The award is $15,000.

Application questions

  1. Project name and location
  2. Project Developer
  3. Sponsoring organization, if different from above.
  4. Briefly describe the target community and its needs.
  5. Briefly describe the project (size, number of units, etc., cost per square foot), and its total cost and financing structure.
  6. If applicable, briefly describe the role of any partner organizations in the project
  7. Describe the community or building resident involvement in the planning of the project.
  8. How has the project responded to the community’s needs?
  9. Briefly describe any challenges or obstacles overcome in the project.
  10. Briefly describe any innovations in financing, design or construction that make this project unique.
  11. What further impact has the project had on the surrounding area? Has the project spurred additional investment in the community?
  12. Briefly describe strategies to share learnings from the project with others working to preserve affordable rental housing.

 Required Attachments: All projects for this award must submit a project budget and 2-3 project photo.

The Outstanding For-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project Award

recognizes a for-profit developer for a specific real estate project that has contributed significantly to the enhancement of the community. the project must have been largely completed since, but not before January 1, 2014. Projects will be evaluated for: impact on the community; extent to which they involved local residents in the planning process; ability to meet local needs and overcome obstacles, creativity in design and finance. All projects for this award must submit a project budget and a project photo. A monetary award is not made for this recognition.

Application Questions:

  1. Project name and location
  2. Project Developer
  3. Sponsoring organization, if different from above.
  4. Briefly describe the target community and its needs.
  5. How has the project responded to the community's needs?
  6. Briefly describe the project (size, number of units, etc., cost per square foot), and its total cost and financing structure.
  7. Briefly describe the community's role in the planning of the project.
  8. Briefly describe any challenges or obstacles overcome in developing the project.
  9. What further impact has the project had on the surrounding area? Has the project spurred additional investment in the community?

Required Attachments: All projects for this award must submit a project budget and 2-3 project photo.

The Woods Fund Chicago Power of Community Award

recognizes an organizing campaign that has achieved and sustained a victory that measurably improves the vitality of a community and/or positively affects the quality of life of a group of people. This award recognizes the value of community organizing, community engagement, and advocacy as important and effective ways to transform neighborhoods or empower communities that have experienced significant social or economic inequities.

This award will lift up the work of a successful community organizing victory achieved during the last 3-years that:

  • Enabled democracy at the community-level and
  • Mobilized people who, individually, may have lacked sufficient power to improve their opportunities and their communities.

Applicants will be evaluated by the significance of the community victory and the genuine and demonstrated organizing and empowerment of neighborhood residents in leading that change. The Award is $15,000.

Application Questions:

  1.  Describe the victory and how its accomplishment has dramatically improved the vitality of a community and/or the quality of life of a group of people. Please include details on the nature of the victory (legislation passed, funding allocated due to advocacy, change in public or private sector process or decision etc.); and the timeline of the organizing campaign.
  2. Describe how the campaign or organization was able to achieve its goals through community organizing and advocacy strategies. Please include details about key activities and/or milestones.
  3. Describe the community that was engaged in achieving the victory (geographic and/or population).
  4. Describe how individuals living in the neighborhood and/or impacted by the problem were instrumental in leading and participating in creating the change.
  5. What were the major obstacles or challenges to implementation, and how have they been overcome?
  6. How is the victory being sustained?  

 * Photos or other materials may be uploaded but are not required.