THE NETWORK OF WOODLAWN
The Foundation’s pioneering model is embodied by the Network of Woodlawn (NOW), a collective of community stakeholders that work together on a comprehensive plan to improve the quality of life for the people of Woodlawn.
NOW’s partnership with Woodlawn’s important neighbor to the north—the University of Chicago—began with Bishop Brazier and today is a critical element that will help us advance in our work. The University continues to provide assistance in implementing LISC’s New Communities Program in Woodlawn (a long-term initiative that aims to rejuvenate Woodlawn and other challenged Chicago communities).
There has been progress in Woodlawn. But the work there is far from finished. The poverty rate is still double that of Chicago’s overall, and 61 percent of children live in poverty. Nine of 11 schools are on academic probation, and less than half of most school’s students are meeting national standardized test norms. Unemployment and crime remain high, and public safety is a daily issue for residents.
The neighborhood’s attributes are many: lakefront proximity, an effective convener in the Network of Woodlawn, decades of proven results through community collaboration, a powerful anchor in the Apostolic Church of God, and influential stakeholders like the University of Chicago who are invested in its success. And now, the Arthur M. Brazier Foundation.