Annual Woodlawn Community Summit

Entering its 9th Anniversary, the Woodlawn Community Summit has grown from its infancy into a standing-room-only community leadership model worthy of recognition and replication for outstanding civic engagement. The Summit is a progressive initiative with the primary mission of offering resources and networking opportunities to residents and stakeholders of Woodlawn. 

 With an emphasis on community building this annual event is designed to provide coalition building in order for residents to take an active part in the economic development process. The residents are invited to take an energetic approach in the development of block clubs, safety/security, economic development and education committees.

In the Fall of 2009, resident of the Kenwood Homeowners Association saw a need to connect with other neighbors in Woodlawn. After attending a meeting with the Woodlawn Neighbors Association, the two groups worked together and organized the first Woodlawn Community Summit: Building Bridges One Block Club at a Time. The University of Chicago Office of Civic Engagement was the first stakeholder who offered resources in order to make the first event a success.

On Saturday, March 31, 2012, the Woodlawn Summit Steering Committee convened the Third Annual Woodlawn Community Summit “A Call to Action” at The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. The Summit brought together a coalition of residents, neighborhood associations, visionaries, community and civic officials to discuss safety, urban agriculture, local business districts, and the Green Healthy Neighborhoods Land Use Plan during summit.

Within the last six years, the Summit has grown from 100 attendees to over 450 participants. Special guests have included national television personality, the Honorable Judge Greg Mathis; the late Bishop Arthur M. Brazier; Dr. Brazier; representatives from the Mayors Office City of Chicago and Michael A. Strautmanis as Vice President of Civic Engagement, all of whom are interested in the vitality and growth of the Woodlawn Community.

As an outgrowth of the Summit, The Woodlawn Peace Project and The Woodlawn Chamber of Commerce were born. The Woodlawn Peace Project is a jobs-for-youth program and has received its first round of funding. The Woodlawn Chamber of Commerce, is still in the formation stage.

For more information, please contact Liz Gardner, Steering Committee, Co-Founder Woodlawn Community Summit.