We launched the Chicago Prize to ask community leaders a simple and overdue question: how would they invest $10 million to benefit their residents and move their communities forward?
Watch the full-length Chicago Prize tribute videos here.
The Chicago Prize is based on a simple premise – community leaders on the South and West Sides know what their communities want, have strong visions and detailed plans for what they want to build and achieve, but need access to the resources they require (and deserve) to make their plans a reality. We believe this lack of access to resources and networks not only undermines the strength of each community – it undermines the strength of Chicago. Chicago’s neighborhoods deserve better. Chicagoans deserve better.
We wanted to hear directly from community leaders. What are their community plans? How can we invest in the vision of Black and Brown leaders have for their neighborhoods?
The response exceeded our expectations. We heard from more than 80 teams representing every corner of the South and West Sides. These leaders brought forward bold and inspiring visions for housing, community spaces, retail, recreation, workforce training and education, and other ideas – all united in their commitment to their communities.
Six proposals were chosen as Finalists. Those teams were provided with $100,000 planning grants and offered additional support to expand on their ideas and submit a business proposal. Each proposal was compelling and worthy of investment, so we increased our funding commitment to Finalists from $10 million to $12.5 million to help advance more of their ideas.
We are pleased to announce that Auburn Gresham will receive the $10 million Chicago Prize, an initiative that is emblematic of what community-led initiatives and committed, experienced leadership can achieve. In addition, Pritzker Traubert Foundation has committed an additional $2.5 million of matching funds to support the other five Finalists’ plans.
This investment is just the beginning. We must come together as a city – private sector, philanthropy, and government – to support and advance more of these ideas.
Time and time again through the Chicago Prize journey, we have found that the strength of Chicago’s South and West Sides is its people – community leaders, residents, and committed business owners working together to build safe, vibrant, and fulfilling places to live. We have a collective opportunity and obligation to come together to support visionary leaders in our city. We hope you join us in admiring, celebrating, and most importantly, working together to invest.