There are many ways to impact Chicago's neighborhoods: strategic community development initiatives, hands-on volunteer involvement, and political engagement. This month, LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) Chicago is proud to announce that former mayoral candidate Gery Chico is stepping forward to serve as Board Chair for the organization.
Partnering with other community organizations, LISC Chicago's mission and vision focus on creating socially and economically vibrant neighborhoods with living-wage jobs, thriving local businesses, quality housing options, and reliable transportation. With its values of stewardship, relationship building, commitment, and coordinated action, LISC Chicago shares the same spirit of collaboration and community building as many of the other Chicago-based organizations featured in the past. With its focus on comprehensive community development, investing and economic development through engaging local organizations and neighborhood residents, LISC Chicago's impact has allowed many Chicago-area communities to be uplifted...
And Gery Chico intends to further that work as LISC Chicago's new Board Chair.
Before running for mayor in 2019, Gery Chico served in a variety of civic roles, including
- Chair of the Illinois State Board of Education
- Board Chairman for City Colleges of Chicago
- Board President of the Chicago Park District
- President of the Chicago Board of Education
- Chief of Staff to Mayor Richard M. Daley
Although currently working as an attorney and current partner at Chico & Nunes, P.C., Gery Chico has also lived in nine different Chicago neighborhoods and has a unique perspective on uplifting our neighborhoods.
The most exciting aspect of this news is that Gery Chico is "doubling down" on community engagement in light of the recent mayoral election. At a time when many candidates stand for office but seem to fade after the election, Gery Chico seems to have gained further enthusiasm and passion for uplifting Chicago neighborhoods. It demonstrates not only a strong commitment to his stated values as a candidate but also serves a potent reminder that fostering strong Chicago neighborhoods - and building communities - is within the grasp of any Chicago resident. As he stated upon the announcement of his Board Chairmanship:
“I understand what neighborhoods need—especially when they’re being invested in. I’m excited about what we can do at LISC to bring an even greater amount of investment to them.”
As LISC Chicago Board Chair, Gery Chico plans to focus on community business development, assisting communities in developing Quality-of-Life Plans (QLPs) and developing and supporting violence prevention programs focused on youth recreation. For Gery Chico, these neighborhood-based Quality-of-Life Plans are not just great co initiatives, but also serve as a key method to foster further neighborhood growth:
When I was running for mayor, I would literally wave around the Quality-of-Life Plans that LISC had done in different neighborhoods...If you look at these plans and what they call for, like public thoroughfares, what public transportation improvements should be made, what business improvements should be made—these Quality-of-Life Plans serve as a blueprint for how to bring back neighborhoods and they come direct from people that live and work in the community.”
Fostering community and economic development in Chicago's neighborhoods is an ongoing task which cannot be performed by one solitary individual. Collaboration, communication, and commitment are required in order to handle many of the challenges our city faces. Although Gery Chico was denied one opportunity, his new role as LISC Chicago Board Chair serves as a different opportunity to make a positive impact on Chicago's neighborhoods and foster the very values he discussed as a candidate.
Seeing a former candidate live up to their promises is very heartening; learning about an organization that fosters growth through collaboration doubly so. That quality makes both Gery Chico and LISC Chicago neighbors worth knowing.
Have a great Chicago-based neighborhood or community organization you wish to spotlight? Please comment below, let us know via our Facebook page, or email directly via this contact form. (You can learn more about me via my LinkedIn profile.
And as always, thanks for reading!