Community Organizing

Community Organizing Philosophy and Framework

Lawndale Christian Development Corporation (LCDC) has a long history of creative community development in North Lawndale. But over the years we have learned that we must do more than develop in bits and pieces. We have a deep and sincere commitment to building a black power base in North Lawndale and to dismantling systemic poverty and structural racism. We propose pragmatic solutions that turn comprehensive problems into actionable issues. LCDC will draw on the power of our community to fight the brutality of poverty and structural racism, promoting social, economic, and racial justice through community organizing that engages the people who are most impacted.

We have embarked upon community organizing campaigns that envision an economically sound North Lawndale; a North Lawndale revitalized to create a healthy living environment for its current residents while inviting newcomers without displacement. This vision can only be realized through building power from within, the power of existing institutions and residents, while recruiting external resources in support of our vision.

As key dues paying members of United Power for Action & Justice, the Cook County based affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation (the nation's largest and longest-standing network of local faith and community-based organizations), we have learned the tools of effective community organizing for power. Our campaigns reflect how this has played out over the past several years.

North Lawndale Home Owner Association

The North Lawndale Home Owner Association (NLHOA) redirects community power to those who live and own homes in the neighborhood, giving them the space to address poverty and structural racism, determine what the community issues are, come up with strategic plans and form solutions.

On several occasions, NLHOA’s well-planned actions have prompted responses from elected officials, including Mayor Lightfoot and 24th ward Alderman Michael Scott, Jr., who agreed to provide resources and support.

For example, our Reclaiming Neighborhoods Campaign, executed in partnership with the NLHOA and United Power for Action and Justice, compelled the city to commit to the first phase of 250 lots and provide TIF funds for site prep work for the first 109 homes. In addition, we are working to secure subsidies from the State and major banks to write down the cost of the homes.

Notable Impacts


Chicago Public Library

As one of our first successful actions, the NLHOA worked together to get the Chicago Public Library system to improve the deteriorating Douglass Branch Library at 3353 W. 13th St.

Chicago Police Department

With the help of the Area 4 Deputy Chief of Police and District 11 Police Commander, we were able to get the police to enforce residential parking rules, monitor and fix cameras, and address crime occurring around certain gas stations. Association members have also organized new homeowners to join and add crime hot spots to address.

North Lawndale Coordinating Council

As a coalition of business owners, elected officials, and community members, the North Lawndale Coordinating Council (NLCCC) engages residents and, with their lead, provides targeted, needs-based solutions to resident-identified issues.

Through our continued work, we have helped to take stock of needs, lay a framework for future development, set goals, train leaders, organize events, build collaborative relationships among partner organizations, and assist residents in understanding their present and planning for their future. The membership base is individual homeowners living in North Lawndale. These families live paycheck to paycheck yet are a stabilizing factor. They are an ideal population to represent the interests of this low-income neighborhood yet still have the personal resources to engage in community actions.

Notable Victories


CTA Ogden Bus

We won a fight with the CTA to reinstitute the Ogden bus and turned out residents to the Chicago Park District meeting, where it finally agreed to rename Douglas Park after Frederick and Anna Douglass.
Quality of Life Plan website

Quality of Life Plan

We worked with CMAP and LISC to develop a Quality of Life Plan based on the values, desires, and needs of residents and other stakeholders.
HOA website

North Lawndale Home Owner Association

We established the North Lawndale Home Owner Association. Our actions have prompted responses from elected officials, including Mayor Lightfoot and 24th ward Alderman Michael Scott, Jr., agreeing to provide resources and support.
Chicago Prize photo website

Chicago Prize Application

LCDC and other NLCCC members worked together on a collaborative Chicago Prize application for $10M. We were 1 of 6 finalists and, although we ultimately did not win the $10M, there is $500,000 offered towards our joint plans.

United Power

United Power is a non-profit organization that works with various community groups and religious congregations to address social issues.

Notable Impact

1000 homes

Campaign for 1000 Homes

Together, LCDC and United Power secured government support for the Campaign for 1000 Homes in North Lawndale.
city partnership

City Partnership

The City committed to the first phase of 250 lots, and we garnered TIF funds for site prep work for the first 109 homes.

Lawndale Databook

LDCD commissioned a new 60-page report from UIC's Great Cities Institute that highlights trends, problems & recommendations relative to investment in Chicago's Lawndale neighborhood. Lawndale residents desire nice homes, safe streets, good schools and dignified living-wage jobs. The well-being of residents is bolstered by the economic health of a neighborhood where conditions foster the building of community wealth. However, North Lawndale residents are losing wealth-building opportunities that make these quality of life conditions easier to attain. Read the full report to understand the scope of the problem and learn about the solutions we and our community partners propose.