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.

14th Annual Woodlawn Community Summit

Saturday, March 18, 2023
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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Last Year's 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.

2023 Summit Experiences

  • 9:30 AM – PLENARY
  • 10:45 – BREAKOUT SESSION – Housing and Homes
  • 10:45 – BREAKOUT SESSION- Safety and Security
  • 10:45 – BREAKOUT SESSION – Sustainable Communities
  • 11:45 – RAFFLE and WRAP UP

After the last few 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.

“The past two years have been very trying for us all. We hope this event will allow everyone to learn more about the exciting opportunities which lie ahead for all communities of color. This event allows for everyone to provide input providing honest conversation in order to drive change from a grassroots level.”

Elizabeth Gardner
Summit Co-founder

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. 

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