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Raul Raymundo: The Richard M. Daley Friend of the Neighborhoods Award

For his leadership in Chicago’s neighborhoods and beyond, and his tireless commitment to improving the lives of working families, Raul Raymundo of The Resurrection Project is recipient of the 2014 Richard M. Daley Friend of the Neighborhoods Award.

Raymundo grew up in Pilsen and has long understood the challenges and strengths of working-class and immigrant families. He left to study sociology at Carleton College in Minnesota, but returned in 1988 to live and work in the neighborhood. In 1990, with the help of six Catholic parishes, he co-founded what is now known as The Resurrection Project (TRP) to ensure that Pilsen built on its assets to address its many challenges. Under his leadership as executive director for more than 20 years, TRP has seamlessly blended community development, community organizing, human service delivery, and advocacy to build vibrant, healthier and involved communities.

Starting with a mere $30,000 in seed capital, TRP has become one of the region’s most creative and effective community development organizations, working in virtually every area of community life. TRP has raised and leveraged more than $300 million to strengthen Pilsen and other communities through the development of more than 600 units of affordable housing, several community facilities including child care centers, financial literacy centers, and a charter high school serving hundreds of children and their families. TRP has also created hundreds of jobs, helped start and strengthen local businesses and is active in public policy issues that have improved the quality of life for many communities in the region.

A list of accomplishments does not adequately describe Raymundo’s impact and ingenuity in shepherding TRP from a grassroots organization into a force for social and economic change. When youth and other community leaders wanted to address the challenges first-generation college students face, TRP created La Casa, the first community-based dormitory and resource center that combines affordable housing with wraparound support services to help students access and graduate from college. When the failure of Second Federal Savings put 1,100 homeowners at risk and threatened neighborhood stability, Raymundo and TRP secured the resources and partnerships necessary to rescue this bank. The newly re-opened Second Federal Credit Union now operates as the largest community development credit union in Illinois with products tailored to neighborhood needs.

Raymundo’s leadership is recognized broadly and he graciously shares his wisdom and experience with others. He is a Leadership Greater Chicago fellow and has been an active civic leader of many local, regional and national boards over his career. He has previously served on many boards including Mujeres Latinas en Acción, IFF, The Woodstock Institute, WBEZ Pubic Radio, and St. Anthony Hospital, among others. Currently, Raymundo serves on several boards including Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Metropolis Strategies, Ounce of Prevention Fund, Archdiocese Catholic Schools, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy, National Association of Latino Asset Builders and the Self-Help Federal Credit Union.

The Richard M. Daley Friend of the Neighborhoods Award is given to a civic leader, government official or community leader who has made an extraordinary contribution to Chicago’s neighborhoods and to the field of community development. Diverse in their roles, what unites the group of awardees is their leadership, enduring commitment and the impact they have had in shaping the city.