Woodlawn Summit 2023

14th Annual Summit



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.

Woodlawn is more than a beautiful lakefront neighborhood surrounded by two parks. It’s a community of distinction tracing back to its glory days of 1893. After years of disinvestment, reimagining, planning and redevelopment, Woodlawn residents will become a part of its revitalization. With the restoration of Jackson Park and the Obama Presidential Center coming soon, Woodlawn is now recognized as “a community of choice” in Chicago.

The neighborhood is experiencing dynamic growth in the forms of changing demographics as well as housing, commercial and institutional developments. An affordable cost of living, home ownership by the community and local businesses employing residents are essential to strengthen and sustain Woodlawn.

Attend this year’s Summit to express your vision and learn how quality-of-life plans (past and present) will shape Woodlawn’s future as a community.

View the Resource Guide

14th Annual Woodlawn Community Summit
Past and Present: Working Toward Woodlawn’s Future

Saturday, March 18, 2023
8:00 am – 12:00 pm

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
View map


  • 9:30 AM – PLENARY
    • SAFETY:  Public Safety in an Ever-Changing Community

    • ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT:  Procurement and Potential Contracting Opportunities
    • HOUSING:  Reclaiming the Woodlawn Community Through Homeownership; New and Existing
    • SUSTAINABILITY:  Chicago 2030! How Chicago Became a City Of Villages; Sparking the Sustainable Square Mile in West Woodlawn
    • HEALTH:  Spring Fling – Self Care
  • 12:00 – RAFFLE and WRAP UP

Special Thanks to our 2023 Sponsors

The Beginnings of a New Woodlawn

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. 

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