YOUTH LEADER/CORRESPONDENT FROM TRUTHBTOLD NEWS SERVICE (TENILLE J. BROOKS) COMMENDS LEADERSHIP OF MARK ALLEN AND OTIS MONROE

The Rev. Al Sharpton calls Mark Allen "One of Chicago's legendary political activists"
MARK S. ALLEN, Daily News Blog/Commentary
AND THE ORDINARY PEOPLE SAID
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YOUTH LEADER/CORRESPONDENT FROM TRUTHBTOLD NEWS SERVICE (TENILLE J. BROOKS) COMMENDS LEADERSHIP OF MARK ALLEN AND OTIS MONROE

Otis Monroe, The Monroe Foundation
POINTS OF VIEW
Do It Because It Needs To Be Done
Contributing Correspondent: Tenille J. Brooks

Quite honestly, I had not been to a community organized politically themed meeting in years! I used to attend them regularly during my 27th Ward Young Dems days. There is nothing like a GOOD well organized meeting! I love when the attendees, panelists, and organizer(s) are passionate about the particular subject at hand.

However, more than anything, I love to see the positive efforts of someone come into fruition. It's possible, I just happened to be at the right place at the right time last week when Mark Allen of The Black Leadership Development Institute hosted a meeting with the Chicago City Council Black Caucus Chairman and Alderman Howard Brookins at the Carter G. Woodson Library. It was during this meeting I had the pleasure of meeting Otis Monroe, CEO of The Monroe Foundation.

TJB: What is The Monroe Foundation?
OTIS: The Monroe Foundation is a community and enterprise development organization that has been operating for the past 20 years. It's a publicly-supported not-for-profit agency that seeks to educate, link and fund community development projects in the low-income communities in the State of Illinois. Currently we focus on Englewood, Roseland, Austin, Hillside, Maywood, Broadview, Bellwood, Harvey and Dolton.

TJB: What is the best way an elected official and The Monroe Foundation can/should work together?
OTIS: TMF is looking for elected officials to actively listen to solutions. We're engaged in working with elected officials to increase the quality of life of negatively impacted neighborhoods so that we can begin institutionalizing the necessary changes needed within our communities. The Monroe Foundation looks to not only change the immediate action or behavior but we look to affect policy. We want our leadership to be leaders. However, we also believe that change starts with the community that works collectively.

TJB: During the community meeting, you passionately spoke about community reinvestment, banks and accountability, why should we be concerned?
OTIS: TMF is continuing our dialogue on how to enhance our communities through the Community Reinvestment Organizing Project (COP). Through this group we seek to hold banks accountable wherever they have a branch. For example, if Bank A has a branch in Englewood, then Bank A must be substantially involved in Englewood and must be equally invested in Englewood. This investment can come through increased second chance lending opportunities or community housing initiatives. We don't and should not want businesses (in this instance banks), just coming into communities and not reinvesting back into where it is benefiting from most.

TJB: If TBTNewsService.com readers wanted to get involved with your organization, make contributions financially or within the community, what do you recommend?
OTIS: The Monroe Foundation is a membership based organization. For more information please visit our website at www.themonroefoundation.org to learn more about our organizations, our initiatives and how to get involved. You can also simply become involved in an organization that already exists right in your own community. If you see a need, start it. Start it because it needs to be done, not because of a grant. Don't chase the grant, find a message and stick to it. If you are doing it because it needs to be done then you'll see the growth and real change!

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