2 days ago

Video from City Club of Chicago Panel on School Closings in Chicago

The City Club of Chicago hosted a panel discussion on school closings in Chicago on October 23, 2014. The panel included Tom Tyrell, Chief Operating Officer of Chicago Public Schools; Carlos Azcoitia, a member of the Chicago Board of Education; Andrea Zopp, a member of the Chicago Board of Education; Carol Caref, PhD, Research Director for the Chicago Teachers Union and myself. I spoke from my experiences as the co-founder of the Lawndale Alliance. My speaking points are outlined below....

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The City Club of Chicago hosted a panel discussion on school closings in Chicago on October 23, 2014. The panel included Tom Tyrell, Chief Operating Officer of Chicago Public Schools; Carlos Azcoitia, a member of the Chicago Board of Education; Andrea Zopp, a member of the Chicago Board of Education; Carol Caref, PhD, Research Director for the Chicago Teachers Union and myself. I spoke from my experiences as the co-founder of the Lawndale Alliance. My speaking points are outlined below.

We have found the CPS bureaucracy to be unwilling to work with the community. A broad base of North Lawndale stakeholders, including the CAC and elected officials put together an alternative plan for school closures that included plans for school improvement and a comprehensive array of community resources to provide support. We sent the plan to CPS and they ignored it. We invited them to a press conference to review the plan and they refused to come out. After schools were closed we sent emails asking for assistance in understanding the budget, and never got an answer. They refused to answer a FOIA request for information regarding the impact of school closures on budgets and programs. We invited them to participate in town hall meetings and they refused.

Finish reading the speaking points and view the video at http://www.valeriefleonard.com/2014/10/29/video-from-city-club-of-chicago-panel-on-school-closures/

Oct 15

Fall Festival

Rep. Turner is hosting his First Annual Fall Festival…

DATE:                    Thursday, October 30

TIME:                    6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

WHERE:                Douglas Park; 1401 S Sacramento Dr; Ball Room

Resources to help with college preparedness and scholarship information, educational service providers to help with credit recovery for high school students and re-enrolling high school students, and job training and employment information will also be available. Illinois Kid Safety (KISS) program will provide services to children age 3 and older

Oct 08

Updated Oct 08

GuideStar User Advisory Panel

I am deeply honored to have been invited to be a member of the GuideStar User Advisory Panel. GuideStar's mission is to revolutionize philanthropy by providing information that advances transparency, enables users to make better decisions, and encourages charitable giving. (www.guidestar.org)

GuideStar gathers and disseminates information about every single IRS-registered nonprofit organization. They provide as much information as possible about each nonprofit's mission, legitimacy, impact, reputation, finances, programs, transparency, governance, and so much more. The goal is to arm end users with the information they need to make the best decisions possible.

Oct 06

West Side Nonprofits Rise to the Challenge

A cohort of nonprofit organizations on Chicago’s West Side have recently signed on to take the 30-Day Compliance Challenge. The program was developed by Valerie F. Leonard to help nonprofits increase their fundraising capacity by ensuring that they are current with all the necessary filings at the state and federal levels within 30 days. This will remove one of the many barriers to fundraising, freeing organizations to focus more on the day-to-day activities of running programs and services.

Leonard, an...

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A cohort of nonprofit organizations on Chicago’s West Side have recently signed on to take the 30-Day Compliance Challenge. The program was developed by Valerie F. Leonard to help nonprofits increase their fundraising capacity by ensuring that they are current with all the necessary filings at the state and federal levels within 30 days. This will remove one of the many barriers to fundraising, freeing organizations to focus more on the day-to-day activities of running programs and services.

Leonard, an expert in community and organizational development, cited the need for organizations to step back and review their nonprofit filings. “I work with organizations on a number of issues, including strategic planning, financial management and board development”, she said. “What I found, is, no matter what issue I’m hired to address, all roads lead to compliance. Organizations-- large and small-- have challenges navigating the requirements of state and federal reporting for nonprofits.”

To read the rest of the article, visit http://www.valeriefleonard.com/2014/10/03/west-side-nonprofits-rise-to-the-challenge/

Sep 29

Presidential Library

Now that our jewel of Black history and culture, Bronzeville has been eliminated from consideration for the Presidential Library, of the four remaining contenders, North Lawndale is the only one born and developed by the community.
North Lawndale, as a community, developed its own bid and then established a partnership with the world renowned University of Illinois.
There are “North Lawndales” across this country, from Hawaii to New York. In this contest, we represent them all.
What can you do to spread the word?
https://www.facebook.com/pages/North-Lawndale-Presidential-Library/366984393416815?ref=hl

Sep 15

Updated Sep 16

Presidential Library

WE DID IT NORTH LAWNDALE! WE MADE THE CUT!!!!

The Obama Foundation announced the four finalists today; The Universities of Chicago, Illinois (UIC) and Hawaii, along with Columbia University in New York. For anyone who does not know, WE approached UIC to have a university component. We formed a partnership, now we are finalists!

Here is part of the Obama Foundation's statement:

“We were amazed by the quality of responses to our Request for Qualifications and we are grateful to...

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WE DID IT NORTH LAWNDALE! WE MADE THE CUT!!!!

The Obama Foundation announced the four finalists today; The Universities of Chicago, Illinois (UIC) and Hawaii, along with Columbia University in New York. For anyone who does not know, WE approached UIC to have a university component. We formed a partnership, now we are finalists!

Here is part of the Obama Foundation's statement:

“We were amazed by the quality of responses to our Request for Qualifications and we are grateful to every institution that expressed interest in carrying President Obama’s legacy forward,” said Board Chair Martin Nesbitt. “These four potential partners have come the farthest in meeting our criteria and have each demonstrated a strong vision for the future Obama Presidential Library. We look forward to working with each institution to further refine their proposals over the coming months, and to presenting our recommendations to the President and First Lady early next year.”

Now is the time to step up North Lawndale. Now is the time, all of us who wants to make a difference in all of the North Lawndales of this country. Let your voices be heard. Join us at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/North-Lawndale-Presidential-Library/366984393416815?ref=hl

  • Valerie F. Leonard Lawndale Community Builder and Policy Analyst

    Congratulations to everyone who had a hand in developing this application. I wish you the best! You make Lawndale proud!

  • Congratulations Lawndale and UIC.

Sep 12

Presidential Library

On June 16th, the Barack Obama Foundation received 13 responses to its Request for Qualifications. Since then, it appears that the various bidders have chosen to silently wait for the Foundation’s decision, due sometime this month. Unfortunately, we fell into that mindset. Apologies.
From the beginning, developing a sense of pride in this and similar communities across the country was what our efforts were all about.
There is no doubt that physically, geographically and demographically, North Lawndale has the superior...

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On June 16th, the Barack Obama Foundation received 13 responses to its Request for Qualifications. Since then, it appears that the various bidders have chosen to silently wait for the Foundation’s decision, due sometime this month. Unfortunately, we fell into that mindset. Apologies.
From the beginning, developing a sense of pride in this and similar communities across the country was what our efforts were all about.
There is no doubt that physically, geographically and demographically, North Lawndale has the superior site and has a probable chance of winning the Library bid.
A grand Library campus built in a poor community will bring new investments and people, but what about the people here now? Without a sense of accomplishment, where is the sense of ownership? Where is the sense of pride?
North Lawndale’s site was not chosen from outside of the community. Our site submission was developed by the community. The University of Illinois did not approach us; we approached them with our fully researched site. This is the result of a community’s efforts.
When we win the Library (and we will), North Lawndale needs to know that it can say, “We did that!”

https://www.facebook.com/pages/North-Lawndale-Presidential-Library/366984393416815?ref=hl

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