Who Is Listening to Local Communities? Connections between Chicago Region Community-Based Organizations and Regional, State, and National Policy Initiatives
This report focuses on the role that community-level organizations have had, currently have, and could have in setting regional agendas. This project grew out of discussions with community-based organization leaders, foundation representatives, and regional organization staff members. Our examination of community-regional connections contains lessons not only for our metropolitan area, but for most large urban areas in the United States. It speaks to the preservation of democratic planning processes at a time when “regional,” “national,” and “global” overviews seem to have more credibility in policy-making circles than local needs. The report serves as a reminder that the basic building blocks of regions, nations, and the world are still local communities. It is a needed documentation of how local organizations have maintained a voice in some cases and where better connections to policy making at regional levels and beyond are needed.
Data for the report come from a representative sample of 49 community-based organizations in the City of Chicago, the Illinois counties of Cook, DuPage, Will, and Lake, as well as the Indiana counties of Lake and Porter. We also completed eight case studies of regional initiatives to examine the different ways in which community-based organizations connect with regional and statewide issues. Research was guided by a working group comprised of university-based researchers, community-based organization leaders, and regional group representatives.
P. Nyden, CURL
N. Benefield, CURL
M. Hellwig, CURL
T. Walsh, CURL
S. Sager, CURL Graduate Fellow
M. Lanum, CURL Graduate Fellow
J. Brown, Community Fellow
S. Nebel, Community Fellow
G. Smith Community Fellow
Adult Basic Education
Bethlehem Community Development Corporation
Calumet Project for Industrial Jobs
Chicago Manufacturing Institute
Chicago Mutual Housing Network
Elmhurst Economic Development Corporation
Evanston Neighborhood Conference
Glenview Prairie Preservation Project
Greater North Pulaski Development Corp.
HICA of North Lawndale, Inc.
Lake County Minority Health Coalition
Metropolitan Alliance of Congregations
Mid-South Planning and Development
Neighborhood Capital Budget Group
Service Jobs for Progress
Suburban Job Link Corporation
Voice of the People
West Town Leadership United