New community and economic development organization seeks board members

Staff Writer

The newly formed Woodlawn, Washington Park and South Shore Community and Economic Development Organization (WWPSS) is seeking founding board members.

According to the organization’s announcement, it aims to drive and coordinate growth in Woodlawn, Washington Park, and South Shore as the Barack Obama Presidential Center (OPC) and other projects begin to take shape.

Priorities of the new organization include: building and strengthening commercial corridors; supporting businesses and non-profit incubation, development and recruitment; coordinating workforce development; and implementing an inclusive housing strategy.

The organization will select 20 people to form the founding board. The application is available, and residents of Woodlawn, Washington Park, and South Shore are encouraged to apply.

A team consisting of representatives from the Network of Woodlawn, Washington Park Consortium, Barack Obama Foundation, Chicago Community Trust, University of Chicago and City of Chicago has already joined the organization.

The Chicago Community Trust provided seed funding to conduct research and best practices for the group. Next Street, an organizational consulting firm was commissioned to consult and create a proposal for the new group. Selection for the founding board is the next phase for the organization that being in 2016.

Some skills that will be sought out for the board includes fundraising; finance; outreach or communications; workforce; real estate or housing; and or venture capital.

Applicants must also be committed to improving the quality of life on the South Side and in Chicago.

Additionally, applicants will be evaluated based on five criteria: commitment to their community and city; ability to represent community issues; demonstrated ability to lead complex initiatives; experience mobilizing and coordinating residents; and skills and expertise.

Applications are available online at or in person by visiting Harris Park, 6220 S. Drexel Ave.; Jackson Park, 6401 S. Stony Island Ave.; Don Nash Community Center, 1833 E. 71st St.; South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Drive; and Washington Park, 5531 S. Martin Luther King Drive.

The application deadline has been extended from Sunday, April 30, to Friday, May 5.

The full funding board will be announced in early June.