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The Friend of the Neighborhoods Award

The Friend of the Neighborhoods Award is given to an individual whose contribution to Chicago’s neighborhoods and to the field of development has been extraordinary. Over the past 16 years, the award has been given to civic leaders, government officials and community leaders. Diverse in their roles, what unites the group of awardees is the commitment and tenacity each has demonstrated and the impact that each has had on the city in which they work and live.

This year’s awardee, Michael Scott, was an exemplar to us all. A child of the West Side, which remained his home throughout his life, Michael’s work reached far beyond, helping to shape the future of not only the neighborhood he cherished, but the city that he loved as well.

Born in Lawndale, Michael was instrumental in many North Lawndale developments early in his career as a staff member of Pyramid West Development Corporation and the Lawndale People’s Planning and Action Council, where he became well known as a talented organizer. Michael also served the City under every mayor since 1979 in a variety of positions, most notably as President of the Board of the Chicago Park District, and as President of the Chicago Board of Education, a position that he particularly loved and held at the time of his passing. Michael was also a long-time respected member of Chicago’s business community, with interests in real estate and the city’s cable and telecommunications industries.

Political activist, community organizer, business leader, husband, father, friend – to each role he brought a fierce intellect, a demanding standard, and an integrity that made him trusted by all. Whatever his post, Michael’s achievements in his many vital public roles have left a lasting mark on virtually every community in Chicago.

With Michael’s tragic death, Chicago and its neighborhoods lost one of their most steadfast champions. In honor of his life-long commitment to improving the life of this city and its families, Michael W. Scott is named this year’s Friend of the Neighborhoods.