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Special Recognition Award

Part of a grand tradition of immigrant groups that has made Chicago the vibrant and diverse city it is today, The United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) began organizing communities around key quality of life issues in 1984. It has since grown to become one of Chicago’s strongest and most effective community organizations, employing grassroots leadership and the involvement of community residents to lead the way in advocacy and policy on a wide range of issues affecting the Hispanic community that is its base.

From immigration reform to citizenship and voter registration, fromhousing to job training, UNO has helped to define and solve the challenges of the community. To date, UNO has serviced over 65,000 new American citizens. It also founded the Metropolitan Leadership Institute to engage Hispanic young professionals in the public arena, whether in the government, corporate or non-profit world. Nowhere is  his more evident than in UNO’s work in education. UNO began its quest in this arena 20 years ago and today operates eight charter schools in Chicago and one in New Orleans, addressing the full range of student and community needs.

For its decades of dedication to improving neighborhoods from the ground up, its ongoing innovative work in education and citizenship, and in recognition of its future as a leader in advocacy and policy, The United Neighborhood Organization is this year’s recipient of the CNDA Special Recognition Award.