By TONIA HILL
The South East Chicago Commission (SECC) is one of 10 Chicago organizations that will receive a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The grants, totaling nearly $10 million dollars will help organizations to grow and expand as well as reduce violence in Chicago communities
The SECC will receive $380,000 over four years for institutional support. The support will help the organization as it transitions to a self-governing entity a part from the University of Chicago (U. of C.)
“We graciously thank the MacArthur Foundation for empowering all of the grant recipients to transform our city,” said Wendy Walker Williams, executive director of the SECC in a written statement. “As we address the needs for economic development, we can strengthen our business districts, create new jobs for our youth, support new training programs, increase participation in our local economy and ultimately reduce the crime that deeply concerns all of us.”
In January, the U. of C. and the SECC announced that the SECC would transition over the next year to become a self-governing entity outside of the U. of C. with help from U. of C. board members.
In a previous article in the Herald, Shirley J. Newsome, chairman of the board of directors for the SECC, said the split from the university should not be considered negatively.
“It’s like the child separating from the parents; you are not completely separated,” Newsome said. “Most of the time when children go off on their own they do well. We have just decided that we can, and we would like to very much stand on our own feet.”
The split reflects the aim of U. of C. and SECC to enhance the communities of Hyde Park, Kenwood, Oakland, Washington Park, and Woodlawn, said Calmetta Coleman, director of communications for Civic Engagement at U. of C, in a previous article in the Herald.
“The MacArthur Foundation institutional grant support is perfectly-timed,” Newsome said. “[It] allows the SECC to forge ahead with more certainty and confidence about the future.”
Programming today at the SECC is about economic development and beautification projects for the Hyde Park, Kenwood, Oakland, Washington Park, and Woodlawn neighborhoods, according to the SECC.
The SECC provides economic development initiatives such as Special Service Area #61 Downtown Hyde Park, the Circle Program, and the Neighborhood Business Development Center; and community development initiatives include the Neighborhood Enhancement Grant, Woodlawn Community Summit, and Washington Park Summit.
Staff Writer Joseph Phillips contributed to this article.