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Southwest Organizing Project

Year founded



Jeff Bartow

Executive Director

NCP staff

David McDowell

NCP Director

Contact information

2609 W. 63rd St. Chicago, IL 60629
(773) 471-8208 phone
(773) 471-9008 fax

Organization mission

To generate residential, institutional, commercial and industrial revitalization that creates local benefits and improves residents quality of life. GSDC develops strategies and organizes resources to improve the quality of local homeownership and reside.

Vision for the future

Because we love Chicago Lawn and want to stay here, we envision a community that in five years would be voted one of the top 10 most desirable neighborhoods in the county. Chicago Lawn will have stable homeownership and no abandoned buildings, high quality health care accessible to all residents, great parks with excellent facilities and programs, outstanding schools and a wide assortment of cultural, sports and educational after-school activities for children and youth.

Chicago Lawn will have a thriving retail and industrial sector bringing jobs to the neighborhood and making 63rd Street among the most popular multi-ethnic dining and shopping destinations in the city.

Chicago Lawn will be an attractive, safe and inviting place to live for families of diverse racial, religious, ethnic, socio-economic and immigrant backgrounds, with something to offer individuals of all ages. It will be a place where residents, key leaders and stakeholders from community institutions and the public and private sectors know each other and work together, holding each other accountable in keeping this community thriving.

Accomplishments to date

GSDC was founded in 1974 as a result of organizing efforts to hold banks accountable for community disinvestment.

Over the last 30 years, GSDC has been responsible for $500 million invested or retained in the neighborhood. Projects include a Jewel grocery store, which was key to keeping 63rd and Western a vibrant retail district (and of which GSDC owns 1/3), a movie theater on the same strip, the retention of the Nabisco Plant which produces 22 million Oreo cookies a day, bringing in StyleMaster to a previously underutilized site, as well as senior housing developments, single family rehabs, and foreclosure prevention work.

A key to GSDC’s success has been its emphasis on building relationships with other institutions including the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP). SWOP and GSDC have partnered once again to lead the Chicago Lawn NCP, for which SWOP provides the organizing component.

Founded in 1988 as the Southwest Catholic Cluster, SWOP’s current work includes: highly successful organizing against predatory lending; advocating with other groups for immigrants’ rights; raising significant funding for and implementing successful violence reduction programs including Cease Fire and Take Ten; ensuring that the $18 million awarded from the Silver Shovel scandal are used as promised; improving health care and KidCare access through Holy Cross Hospital; and conducting candidates’ forums and other activities to raise political awareness.

Donate Be sure to select Chicago LISC for program designation.
All donations are tax-deductible.

Tools & Publications

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