12th Annual Woodlawn Community Summit

Perseverance and Possibilities” | April 24, 2021 

This is an exciting and historic time for our community. Attend this important event designed to share vital information about future developments. Join a collective community voice to explore new ideas and take action that will improve the Woodlawn community. This is the time to learn about how to stay involved and informed. Hear from invited speakers in the areas of economic development, housing, youth engagement and much more!

The Woodlawn Community Summit  Steering Committee hosted the 12th Annual Woodlawn Community Summit on Saturday April 24, 2021 as a virtual event online. The Summit is designed by residents for residents and it is FREE to attend.  Each year brings an energizing morning of reflection and action for the neighborhood and businesses, providing access to creative solutions to community issues and opportunities to connect a network of resources and support.

If you missed this year’s Summit or simply want to see it again at your own pace… watch the Video Replay on YouTube.

Summit Overview

The Woodlawn Summit is the largest event of its type on the South Side of Chicago. Since its inception in 2009, the Woodlawn Community Summit has continued its work in developing and nurturing initiatives such as the Woodlawn Chamber of Commerce, targeted youth engagement programs, and neighborhood engagement.

The Summit is designed to be an energizing morning of action, serving as a clearing house for information and providing solutions to issues in the areas of Economic Development, Housing, Youth Engagement, Safety and Sustainability.

This Summit is planned by residents for residents. We appreciate the planning committee, our community resources and our sponsors for bringing the Summit to life!

Elizabeth Gardner
Co-Founder, Woodlawn Summit

We want to ensure that the voices from our community are heard and everyone has a chance to participate in the new Southside!

Deidre McGraw
Co-Founder, Woodlawn Summit

We appreciate the support from the community and the sponsors for this annual event. The Steering Committee worked tirelessly to deliver an insightful program designed to ensure resident and stakeholder participation.

Diane Burnham
Executive Director

Virtual Summit

Perseverance and Possibilities

In this discussion, we will have an honest conversation about what it really takes to build a successful community and drive change from a grassroots level.  Attendees heard from practitioners on how residents and stakeholders can act and gain valuable knowledge from each other.

Program Resource Guide

  • Community Welcome
  • Community Recognition and Awards
  • Thought-Leader Panel Discussion
  • Deeply Rooted (Arts and Culture)
  • Resource and Contacts List
  • Upcoming Events
  • Breakout Sessions
  • Photo Tribute

Summit Participation

Guest Panelists

Summit panelists lend their expertise on matters that specifically benefit or challenge Woodlawn and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Committee and Contributors

The Summit leans on the leadership and contributions of our community leaders, elected officials, local business owners, and the creative, technical and production teams.

Resource Listing

Be sure to visit this year’s Resource Guide featuring more than 20 organizations available to assist you.

Woodlawn Summer Project

 This Summer, one of the below projects will be implemented by the Woodlawn Community Summit Committee and South East Chicago Commission.

We CONGRATULATE #2 project: Welcome to Woodlawn Signage for being selected by the community as the project that will be most impactful for Woodlawn! 

This project would focus on the revival of a public community space that is underused and in need of care. An example would be reviving the vacant playlot on South Kenwood between East 65th and 66th Streets.

This project would encompass the design, creation, and installation of signage and flower beds at the East and West ends of Woodlawn to unite the community and welcome people to Woodlawn. 

This mural would be located on E. 63rd St. near the S. Cottage Grove Greenline CTA Stop. The imagery and concept of the mural would ideally reflect community and empowerment. This would also be an opportunity for local community members to works with Chicago-based artists. 

2021 Summit Sponsors

I commend [you] for your ongoing efforts to promote community involvement and improve the Woodlawn community and the City of Chicago.
Your longevity is truly a testament to the relationships this organization has fostered over time.

Woodlawn: At-A-Glance


  • Woodlawn is a growing community of approximately 30,000, predominately mixed-income African-American residents.
  • The community is located on Chicago’s lakefront, just eight miles from the city’s downtown Loop area.

Four Quadrants

The community of Woodlawn has organized itself along the geographic boundaries of 63rd Street, running east and west, and Cottage Grove, running north and south, to create four quadrants, each with its unique socio-economic profile.

Land Development

Woodlawn is highly-favored for new development, embracing an estimated 59 acres of vacant city-owned land, with an additional 85 acres of vacant land owned privately, according to the Gensler study.


Recent Projects