The North Lawndale community on Chicago’s west side is one of the three areas the Steans Family Foundation concentrates its grantmaking and program support.
A longtime important and transforming community, North Lawndale boasts roots in the civil rights movement, as well as being home to some of the leading 20th century companies, including the Sears Roebuck & Co. facility and administrative headquarters, Zenith, and Sunbeam. North Lawndale is a culturally rich district with unique architectural character and a strong sense of community that is guided by an abundance of gifted local leaders. Some of North Lawndale’s leading organizations that were founded with Steans Family Foundation support include the North Lawndale Employment Network, New Root (formerly UMOJA Student Development Corporation), North Lawndale College Prep High School, and the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Farm On Ogden. North Lawndale is now embarking on an exciting new chapter catalyzed by its award-winning Quality of Life Plan.
With personalized and entrepreneurial partnership in mind, SFF works with local organizations to create and sustain life-changing, holistic efforts that positively affect residents from cradle to career and beyond. Support for programs and projects that create human gain for individuals and families in the areas of economic opportunity, workforce development, and criminal justice reform are also SFF priorities. In addition, SFF supports capacity building and leadership development activities for local organizations that are engaged in this important work.
The North Lawndale community’s dramatic cultural history boasts significant physical assets and a vibrant array of human and institutional resources. At the same time, the neighborhood faces a familiar range of urban ills and challenges due to systemic failures, resulting ina high number of families who struggle to earn a living wage. It is this reality of unmet need and high unemployment rates, combined with the determination and strength of the community, that makes North Lawndale an ideal partner for SFF.