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Non-Profit Community Building Award

Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood is a vibrant community fueled by a steady stream of immigrants, but, as a result, it is also one of the city’s most challenged communities, with residents who need housing, employment and educational resources.

Since its inception in 1999, the Little Village Community Development Corporation (LVCDC) has been winning resources for the neighborhood, becoming a center of community innovation and a model of community action.

Tackling the issue of overcrowded and poorly performing schools, LVCDC mobilized community parents in a dramatic series of sit-ins and actions to advocate for a community high school. The result was the first new high school to be built in the community in more than 50 years.

Taking the concept of community-oriented educational resources a step further, LVCDC has also created a partnership with Illinois State University, the Chicago Public Schools, LISC and State Farm Insurance to develop a Student Teacher Residence Hall in Little Village, allowing ISU Student Teachers to live and work in the community.

Willing to tackle the toughest issues, LVCDC has put reduction of gang violence at the center of its agenda. It initiated the Little Village Violence Prevention Collaborative, an entity com- posed of twenty community organizations working together with the citywide Cease Fire initiative to create a safer community with greater alternatives for youth. LVCDC has also demonstrated innovation around community employment and job creation.

As a New Communities Program lead agency, LVCDC has led the planning process through which hundreds of community members worked to create a vision for Little Village’s future by writing the community’s first comprehensive Quality of Life Plan, which it is implementing now.

For its broad vision, effective work and leadership, Little Village CDC is the winner of the Non-Profit Community Building Award.