Woodlawn Summit

2022 Stronger Together



The Woodlawn Community Summit is a collaboration of neighbors, youth groups, elected leaders, business owners, and community stakeholders seeking to promote the comprehensive growth and well-being of Woodlawn and its surrounding communities.

With leadership from the South East Chicago Commission, the Summit has grown from its infancy into a standing-room-only community leadership model worthy of recognition and replication as a model for civic engagement.

13th Annual Woodlawn Community Summit
Stronger Together

Saturday, June 11, 2022
8:00 am – 11:45 am

University of Chicago
Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice
(Formerly School of Social Services Administration (SSA))
969 E. 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
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Resource Guide

The Woodlawn Community, including communities on Chicago’s mid-south side, is undergoing a historic transformation.  The Obama Center has begun construction, new housing developments and important infrastructure is planned; all for a new and exciting opportunity for residents, stakeholders and business owners.

Join us for this annual event, designed by residents for residents.  You are invited to learn more about the proposed improvements for community engagement, safety, housing, sustainability and overall development.  And the Summit is a great connection for a strong network of resources and support.

2022 Summit Experiences

  • 9:30 AM – PLENARY:  Building a Stronger Southside
  • 10:45 – BREAKOUT SESSION – Housing and Homes
  • 10:45 – BREAKOUT SESSION- Safety and Security
  • 10:45 – BREAKOUT SESSION – Sustainable Communities
  • 10:45 – BREAKOUT SESSION – Cook County Assessor’s Office
  • 11:45 – RAFFLE and WRAP UP

After the last two years of the pandemic, Woodlawn is now a stronger and essential community in the rebuilding of Chicago’s southside.  We know we are stronger when we work together, and we are excited about the next five years of development.  Join the conversation as we share vital information about Woodlawn and the future of business, housing and tourism.  This year’s Summit is designed to help you learn more about the current plans and economic development in Woodlawn.

Plenary: Building a Stronger Southside

Woodlawn’s economic vitality is a necessity for success in attracting investment and new residents.  We have worked through many quality-of-life plans and now have a blueprint to guide our decisions as we continue to build a great place to live, work and play. After years of planning, we can finally see the beginnings of a new Woodlawn and an improved City of Chicago. 

This year’s Summit brings us insights from an esteemed panel of experts and insiders on economic development, housing and job creation.

  • Samir Mayekar, Deputy Mayor, Economic and Neighborhood Development
  • Maurice D. Cox, Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development (DPD)
  • Meida McNeal Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

Housing and Homes

Are you interested in owning your own home? This session will introduce various opportunities and resources in order to own a home or rental property. Hear from real estate subject matter experts and learn about financing opportunities for purchase and or rehabilitation.

  • Paula M. Grantt , Vice President, Associated Bank

Safety: Together We Can

A public safety session on the Together We Can Partnership Program is needed to increase awareness of this program among community members. This program is a vehicle for 1) information on crime and CPD efforts, 2) becoming involved in collaborating with police on the resolution of crime in their neighborhood, and 3) collaborating with other members in the community to resolve problems together and provide the necessary resources to strengthen the community.

Together We Can is Commander Roderick Watson’s program in the 3rd district to build capacity among community members. Weekly meetings take place run by 3rd District CPD staff with statistics, trends, positive interactions, and trends in three sectors – Woodlawn, Grand Crossing, and South Shore. Residents in the three sectors go into breakout session to share resources, organize events, discuss problems, and are encouraged to strategize and formulate solutions to the problems they identify using available resources. Come and hear about a model that works! Here is a short clip. https://you.tube./Op8eCqs9YHo

The new UCPD Chief, Kyle Bowman, will be introduced to the community along with Captain Janelle Marcellis, who oversees the UCPD Woodlawn section.

Featured Guests:

  • Kyle Bowman, Chief of Police, UCPD, University of Chicago
  • Janelle Marcellis, Commander, UCPD, University of Chicago
  • Roderick Watson, Commander, CPD, 3rd District
  • Yolanda Irvin, Lieutenant, CPD, 3rd District

Sustainable Communities

BIG’s Sustainable Square Mile system creates a “walk-to-work, walk-to-shop, walk-to-learn, walk-to-play” village learn how to i increase household income via the 8 Principles of Green-Village-Building, with goals to own the businesses, own the land, and live the conservation lifestyle.

  • Naomi Davis, BLACKS IN GREEN
  • Suzanne Waddell, BLACKS IN GREEN

Cook County Assessor

The Cook County Assessor’s Office will be helping people learn about property taxes and identify if they qualify for savings and assisting with applications. Come find out which exemptions will automatically renew and get your questions answered about property taxes. 

  • Kelwin Harris, Cook County Assessor, will be present and staff will be available to assist with the application.

Special Thanks to our 2022 Sponsors

History of the Summit

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 seven 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 Mayor’s 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.

In 2021, the Summit was held virtually due to the pandemic.  Watch the Video Replay.

Started in 2009
Funding Partners
100 +
Attendees and Volunteers