Revitalizing North Lawndale Through Collective Impact
Rodney Brown, Executive Committee Member and Co-founder of NLCCC, shares the organization’s plans for the future of North Lawndale
Interviewer: Rodney, tell us about yourself and why this work is important to you.
Rodney Brown: I am Rodney Brown, one the co-founders of NLCCC, North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council. Born and raised on the west side of Chicago, so I've always been in the community and working in North Lawndale just takes me back to my roots. This work is so important because North Lawndale has been abandoned and disinvested in for more than 50 years now.
There is such tremendous potential. We're looking to revitalize this community and bring it back to its original glory by creating jobs, rebuilding the school system and more.
Interviewer: What’s unique about how NLCCC supports North Lawndale and its residents?
RB: There are lots of bright people in North Lawndale who are willing, committed, and dedicated to revitalizing the community. NLCCC centers the voices of the community-based organizations, business owners, churches, elected officials and residents in the area for comprehensive planning and implementation. For example, we put together an award-winning Quality-of-Life-Plan by asking the residents what they want to see in the next 5-10 years.
We fully understand that the keys for revitalization include working together to increase access to employment, transportation, home ownership, and creating a safe and healthy environment for residents.
And we’re proud of the progress we’ve made. Recently, we announced plans to build a workforce development campus with NLCCC partners. NLCCC also provides support for small businesses in the community, which ultimately leads to more jobs and economic growth for North Lawndale residents. We’re currently building 100 new homes in the community and creating a path to home ownership and our transportation committee worked with the Department of Transportation to restore the bus line to North Lawndale which had been defunct for over 10 years.
We also partner with our friends and colleagues in Austin, Englewood, Little Village, and Garfield Park, because we understand we've all got the same issues. There is no “us” and “them.” We're all in this together.
“We also partner with our friends and colleagues in Austin, Englewood, Little Village, and Garfield Park, because we understand we've all got the same issues. There is no “us” and “them.” We're all in this together.”
Interviewer: Why is PepsiCo’s support important to NLCCC?
RB: PepsiCo has been a champion of NLCCC for a while now. Just last year, NLCCC received a $500,000 grant from PepsiCo’s brand Quaker, which has been instrumental in terms of providing resources to our community – feeding families, bill assistance and building our infrastructure to address workforce development.
For us, long term, that's the answer. We’re looking for partners that understand we need to develop sustainable systemic solutions.
If we can all collaborate and look at it through the lens of long-term solutions, we will address the concerns we have in the city right now.
For more information, visit https://nlcccplanning.org/