DataPDF Available

From the Ground Up: The Logan Square Neighborhood Association's Approach to Building Community Capacity The Logan Square Neighborhood Association Prepared by

Authors:

Abstract

This report documents the work of a Chicago neighborhood community organizing agency and their efforts to reform their local schools and mount a campaign to resist gentrification.
From the Ground Up:
The Logan Square Neighborhood
Association’s Approach to
Building Community Capacity
Prepared for
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur
Foundation
&
The Logan Square Neighborhood
Association
Prepared by
Suzanne Blanc, Ph.D.
Matthew Goldwasser, Ph.D.
Research for Action
&
Joanna Brown
Logan Square Neighborhood Association
February 2003
From the Ground Up:
The Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s
Approach to Building Community Capacity
Prepared for
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur
Foundation
&
The Logan Square Neighborhood
Association
Prepared by
Suzanne Blanc, Ph.D.
Matthew Goldwasser, Ph.D.
Research for Action
&
Joanna Brown
Logan Square Neighborhood Association
RESEARCH FOR ACTION
3701 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
www.researchforaction.org
Telephone (215) 823-2500
Fax (215) 823-2510
© Copyright 2003 by Research for Action February 2003
Acknowledgements
Research for Action is deeply grateful to the staff and leaders at LSNA for their participation in this project.
LSNA leaders, organizers, and staff who have devoted their time to making this project a success have
included: Nancy Aardema, Maria Alviso, Ada Ayala, Rose Becerra, Liala Beukema, Rosita De La Rosa,
Marcelo Ferrer, Andrea Friedman, Fernando Galazar, Lesszest George, Father Mike Herman, Juan Pablo
Herrera, Gene Kaminski, Letitia Lehmann, Lissette Martinez, Melissa McNeely, Anibal Miranda, Lissette
Moreno, Idida Perez, Barbara Reyes, Mildred Reyes, Amanda Rivera, Beatrice Santiago, Sharon Schramel,
Sigilfredo Souchet, and Kathy Tholin. Thanks to all of you and to everyone else at LSNA who helped us.
Special thanks to the writers from LSNA who contributed to this report:
"This job is for you" by Conchita Perez and "Shy no more" by Marisol Torres were excerpted from
their contributions to Real Conditions, Volume 2, Number 4. Real Conditions is published by The
Community Writing Project of the Center for Youth and Society, College of Education, University of
Illinois at Chicago.
"The Death of Housing" by Letitia Lehman was excerpted from The Eagle News, the Newsletter of the
Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Fall/Winter 2001. Letitia also contributed many other
original poems.
Sigilfredo Souchet's written response to RFA's housing chapter has also been included in this
document.
Research for Action would also like to thank Chris Brown of the Cross City Campaign for Urban School
Reform and Pauline Lipman of DePaul University. In addition, we are grateful to the many RFA staff and team
members have worked on this with us over the years, including Judy Adamson, Tina Collins, Jennifer Freeman,
Eva Gold, Rachel Martin, Rachel Mausner, Aida Nevarez-La Torre, Morgan Riffer, Amy Rhodes, Rosalie
Rolon-Dow, Elaine Simon and Orien Weathersby.
Finally, we appreciate the ongoing interest and commitment to this project by the staff of the John D. and
Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Research for Action (RFA) is a non-profit organization engaged in education research and
reform. Founded in 1992, RFA works with educators, students, parents, and community
members to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for all students. RFA work falls
along a continuum of highly participatory research and evaluation to more traditional policy
studies.
Table of Contents
Preface: Reflections on a Collaborative Research Project................................................. iv
Executive Summary.................................................................................................................x
Chapter I: Documenting the Contributions of the Logan Square Neighborhood
Association............................................................................................................................... 1
Building Community Capacity and Grassroots Community Organizing................................................ 1
Overview of Research and Findings........................................................................................................ 5
Lenses for Understanding the Process of Capacity Building .................................................................. 6
Looking through the Lens of Relationship Building....................................................................... 6
Looking through the Lens of Leadership Development ................................................................. 7
Looking through the Lens of Democratic Participation.................................................................. 8
Looking through the Lens of Building Power and Changing Policy .............................................. 8
Summary of Chapter I............................................................................................................................. 9
Outline of the Report............................................................................................................................... 9
Chapter II: Logan Square and the Evolution of the Logan Square Neighborhood
Association............................................................................................................................. 10
Portrait of Logan Square ....................................................................................................................... 10
Historical Overview .............................................................................................................................. 11
The Current Chicago Context................................................................................................................ 12
LSNA and Chicago Public Schools.............................................................................................. 12
Citywide Development Policies: The Impact on Housing in Logan Square................................. 13
Rental Properties in Chicago.................................................................................................... 13
Homeownership in Chicago and Logan Square ....................................................................... 15
Displacement in Logan Square and LSNA’s Response ........................................................... 14
LSNA Today ........................................................................................................................................ 16
LSNA and its Executive Director ................................................................................................. 16
The Development of LSNA’s Holistic Plan ................................................................................. 16
Negotiating Different Agendas and Competing Interests...................................................................... 18
Managing Differences within LSNA..................................................................................................... 19
Working-Class Leadership .......................................................................................................... 19
Contributions to the Study of Community Capacity Building .............................................................. 20
Chapter III: LSNA–Building Community Capacity through School/Community
Partnerships........................................................................................................................... 21
Introduction ........................................................................................................................................... 21
The Interdependence of Schools and Communities .............................................................................. 25
Using the Four Lenses........................................................................................................................... 26
Building Power and Changing Policy........................................................................................... 26
Sustained Campaigns ............................................................................................................... 26
Public Recognition of LSNA's Agenda.................................................................................... 27
Building Relationships.................................................................................................................. 28
New Relationships among Community Members.................................................................... 30
Enhanced Communication between Parents, Teachers, and Students...................................... 31
New Networks Developed ....................................................................................................... 33
Leadership Development...............................................................................................................33
Individual and Family Empowerment.......................................................................................33
Leadership Roles in the School.................................................................................................34
Democratic Participation ...............................................................................................................35
Summary of Chapter III .........................................................................................................................37
Chapter IV: LSNA–Building Community Capacity through a Sustained Campaign
for Affordable Housing......................................................................................................... 38
Introduction............................................................................................................................................38
LSNA’s Strategies for Supporting Neighborhood Stability...................................................................40
Introduction ...................................................................................................................................40
Early to Late 1970s—Housing Development................................................................................40
Late 1970s to mid-1980s—Tenant Issues......................................................................................41
1980s to 1990s—Creative Approaches to Homeownership ..........................................................41
Current—Multiple Approaches to Affordable Housing ................................................................41
Using the Four Lenses............................................................................................................................43
Building Relationships ..................................................................................................................43
Building Relationships between Organizers and Community Members...................................43
Building Relationships across Groups and Organizations ........................................................45
Benefits of Relationship Building and Challenges Faced.........................................................46
Leadership Development...............................................................................................................46
Democratic Participation ...............................................................................................................49
A Case Study of Democratic Participation: The Housing Summit ...........................................49
Activities Prior to the Housing Summit ....................................................................................49
The Summit Planning Meeting .................................................................................................50
The Summit Itself......................................................................................................................50
Building Power and Changing Policy............................................................................................51
Building Power through the Zoning Committee.......................................................................51
Negotiating Tensions with Politicians and City Officials .........................................................52
Increasing Visibility through Public Action..............................................................................54
Directions for the Future................................................................................................................55
Summary of Chapter IV ................................................................................................................56
Chapter V: Concluding Comments and Recomendations ................................................ 58
Introduction............................................................................................................................................58
Contributions to Community Capacity Building....................................................................................59
Strategic Implications for other Organizations.......................................................................................60
Recommendations..................................................................................................................................62
Issues for the Future of LSNA ...............................................................................................................63
Summation .............................................................................................................................................62
Appendices ...............................................................................................................................
Appendix I: Balanced Development Platform ......................................................................................64
Appendix II: Research Methodology .................................................................................................... 65
Appendix III: Documentation Project Activity .....................................................................................66
Appendix IV: Data Collection by RFA................................................................................................. 69
Appendix V: Sample Research Instruments .......................................................................................... 72
Appendix VI: Works Cited ...................................................................................................................85
About the Authors................................................................................................................. 88
From the Ground Up: The Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s Approach to Building Community Capacity
Preface: Reflections on a Collaborative Research Project vi
Preface: Reflections on a Collaborative Research Project
(Note: This reflective note was written by Sukey Blanc and Joanna Brown. Sukey is the team leader for the
Research for Action (RFA) team that worked with the Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA). She
has been involved with this project since the winter of 1999. Joanna Brown is the education organizer at LSNA
who coordinated LSNA's participation in the project.)
Introduction
Sukey: I first learned about LSNA in the winter of 1999 from a colleague who told me that LSNA, a multi-
issue community organization in Chicago, needed a research group to document their work. She thought that
the styles and interests of RFA and LSNA would mesh well together.
Research for Action has a history of, and a commitment to engaging in collaborative, participatory research. By
collaborative, participatory research, I mean an approach in which professional researchers and the organization
or people being studied jointly construct the research questions, identify appropriate research activities, and
work together to interpret and present findings.
During our first phone conversation with LSNA, Nancy Aardema (LSNA’s executive director) and Joanna
Brown (the lead education organizer) were clear that the research needed to be a collaborative effort between
LSNA and the documenter they selected. The MacArthur Foundation, which funded the project, wanted the
research to meet the needs of the community as well as those of the foundation. LSNA’s organizational ethos
also steered it toward a collaborative approach.
Much has been written about the value of collaboration and participatory research. Less has been written about
the processes involved and the challenges that may arise. I hope that this joint reflection on our process, the
benefits for both organizations, and the challenges we encountered will help others who undertake a similar
task.
Special thanks to my friend and co-author, Matthew Goldwasser. Matthew joined this project in the winter of
2001. Like me, he is committed to doing collaborative, participatory research. He is also interested in sharing
what we have all learned from this experience and therefore spurred Joanna and me to produce this reflective
piece. Matthew himself has worked very closely with LSNA's housing leaders, shared their fears and their joys,
read their writings, and engaged in extensive dialogue with them about earlier drafts of this report.
Developing a Collaborative Relationship
Sukey: During our first conversation, I found out that Joanna, who was also working on her doctorate, would be
playing a central role in the research. Joanna has been a key liaison for RFA—setting up interviews with people
who could help us understand LSNA’s foundations and introducing us to everyone as friends of the
organization. She has also been involved in every aspect of the project, including working on data analysis and
writing.
Others at LSNA have also been consistently friendly and welcoming. It was especially helpful to me that
everyone had faith that I could communicate in Spanish, even though my Spanish is far from fluent. Whenever
I was in Logan Square, I found myself switching into Spanish, or a combination of Spanish and English, and
that was definitely one of the things that made me feel like part of the LSNA community.
Benefits of Collaboration
Joanna: The RFA/LSNA research collaboration was useful to LSNA in a variety of ways. There were a
number of things which we, at LSNA, would probably not have done on our own, but which we did do because
of our work with RFA.
First, RFA provided some funding for community-based research which made it possible to re-survey the
neighborhood about the community learning centers. We were already familiar with this kind of community-
based research, as parents had surveyed each school's neighborhood before establishing a community center.
But Sukey asked us about what questions we would like to have answered, and encouraged us to do follow-up
Research for Action
Preface: Reflections on a Collaborative Research Project
vii
surveys about the community centers. The information we gathered from these surveys has helped us to keep
our centers fresh and to resist the bureaucratization that creeps in as institutions become routinized.
Second, because RFA staff made it clear that they were interested in using the voices of LSNA leaders in their
report, LSNA people were prompted to collaborate in a variety of ways, from befriending and educating Sukey
and Matthew about LSNA to writing reports on housing meetings and poems about marches.
Third, we ended up with some concrete products that can be used both inside and outside the organization. An
outstanding example is the "Real Conditions" booklet written by parent mentors at Mozart School. RFA paid
for the writing workshop and the booklets as part of the process of collecting first-person materials for the
report. The writers have read their work at school potluck dinners and assemblies. The book has also been used
in ESL classes and to help funders and other outsiders understand LSNA's work.
The intermediate products of the research were probably the most useful to the organization – an article that
Sukey wrote for our newsletter, the women’s writing project, and the Education Indicators project report on
LSNA (a collaboration between RFA and the Cross City Campaign for Urban Education), with its many
pictures. It would be useful to mine long research reports for shorter segments that could help publicize the
organization.
——————————————————————————————
Joanna: As with any documentation of an organization, this one began at a certain point in LSNA’s history.
RFA's willingness to collaborate with us in thinking through the research enabled the RFA team to learn more
about and take into consideration the organization's history and the participants' memories. By working closely
with LSNA, RFA researchers were able to frame the questions and the report in a way that made sense to us.
Because they were open to our perspective and viewed us as colleagues, we were able to help the researchers
focus on and adjust the context in which they saw our work, even as they brought a fresh and independent
analysis of LSNA's work.
Sukey: Each partner brought perspectives which challenged the other’s way of interpreting LSNA and its
work. Creating a sense of shared meaning between RFA and LSNA has been a process of dialogue and struggle.
There was always good will and trust, but the researchers often did not see things in the same way that people
inside the organization did. It seems like every time we presented data and our analysis to them, they said,
"Well, no. Here's a different way of looking at it.” That definitely enriched our understanding.
After we completed our first round of data collection, Joanna visited us in Philadelphia. Our conversation was
pretty intense. We kept asking questions like whether LSNA was confronting the culture of the schools.
Meanwhile, Joanna was pushing us to have a better understanding of LSNA's approach to relationship-building.
When I think about it, we were dealing at that very first meeting with issues that we've continued to deal with.
We've talked a lot about issues of power and power inequities, even though we didn’t always refer to it that
way.
Joanna: We were able to help shape the frame through which RFA examined our work. Take Sukey's
appropriate and challenging question: "Is LSNA confronting the culture of the schools?" It is not that the
question was wrong LSNA needs always to challenge itself on this question but our conversations shifted
the framework within which that question was asked. We were able to bring to this discussion an historical
perspective of how far the schools had moved since LSNA began organizing with parents. When RFA arrived
on the scene, LSNA was already far into a process of transformation which had shifted, though not
revolutionized, the power relationships within the school and increased the amount of social trust.
——————————————————————————————
Joanna: Because of RFA's commitment to collaborative research, RFA staff insisted on discussing drafts of the
report in feedback sessions with a variety of people, from school staff to parents and LSNA housing and
education leaders. This led to interesting and lively discussions about LSNA's work with a diverse group of
From the Ground Up: The Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s Approach to Building Community Capacity
Preface: Reflections on a Collaborative Research Project viii
LSNA leaders and staff who normally would not meet for that purpose. These sessions gave leaders a chance to
reflect on their work and how it may be perceived by a broader intellectual community. Having a written
document to react to provided a focus for the relatively abstract discussion.
Challenges of Collaboration
Sukey: One of the things that I've learned is how hard it is to do participatory research. When I wrote the
proposal, I had hoped that the community survey process would lead to community research teams whose
questions and findings would intersect with the questions and findings of the outside researchers. What I found
was that it was a lot harder than I had anticipated to combine the work of the two organizations – the research
approach of outsiders and the inside voice and knowledge of people in the community. Nevertheless, it
remained a disappointment to me that the community survey process couldn’t be integrated into the final report
in the way that I had envisioned.
Joanna: I think the limits to our collaborative research which Sukey refers to had more to do with the time
demands on the staff of our organization than anything else. Everyone is always extremely busy. I was the
point person for the collaborative research, was never freed up from other responsibilities to work on research,
and was always overextended. Since this will usually be the case with community organizing staff, it is often
helpful to have research staff develop the research plan and materials (such as survey instruments) and then ask
organization members to implement them.
It is in the nature of community organizing that the practical and immediate demands of our work tend to push
aside and overtake the longer-term or more abstract demands. We are very glad that we now have a final
product that tells LSNA’s story, but at any particular moment during the research process, data collection
usually seemed less urgent than the next issue or meeting.
Sukey: Part of the difficulty of collaborating came from the geographic distance between Chicago and RFA’s
home base in Philadelphia.
Joanna: Because of the different time frames that researchers and organizing staff operate under, I would agree
with Sukey that it is important to have a local researcher (in addition to someone on staff who is collaborating)
to provide structure for the data collection on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis.
Concluding Comments
Sukey: When I think back on the first Congress that I went to, I remember feeling that the event was grounded
in people's real lives. It was smaller than the other Congresses I have attended, with about 200 people, and it
had an arts emphasis. It felt to me like people in LSNA were engaged in creating a new kind of community.
When we met with LSNA to give feedback about the early stages of the affordable housing campaign, we had a
similar impression. We could tell that people on the housing committees really cared about each other. The
issues were important, but the caring that they had for each other was at least as important.
I think that the biggest thing I learned from this project was thinking about how change looks from the inside,
from the perspective of people who are creating that change. Even though I started out with a commitment to
collaborative and participatory research, I started out thinking more like a social scientist, assuming that my
writing would emphasize the social and economic structures that shape the Logan Square community. Instead,
I found that individuals’ stories and their growing sense of ability to take control of their lives seemed to be the
central theme of this work.
My hope is that foundations will gain some new ideas from this report about how community organizing can
function to build community capacity. Much of what we talk about in the report involves building trust within
and across groups, but you can't build trust in poor communities without confronting power inequities.
Capacity building thus involves both creating community and addressing power issues.
LSNA’s work over time shows us the challenges of combining relationship-building in a diverse community
with addressing issues of power. Nonetheless, it looks to us like LSNA has managed to fulfill both, as we have
seen in their work on school reform and affordable housing. I hope that this report gives others some models of
how community organizing can both confront power issues and also create community.
Research for Action
Preface: Reflections on a Collaborative Research Project
ix
Joanna: Collaborative research can take many forms, but in general, whether it be writing and research by
community members or discussion and debate over research questions and theoretical framework, research can
only benefit from collaboration and respect between researchers and subjects.
Sukey and Matthew took collaboration seriously. And people knew that. They became part of the LSNA
family, free to walk in and out of meetings and events without causing a stir. They saw things from the “inside”
and saw processes, relationships and strategies develop. I feel that they gave us several years out of their work
lives, and thank them for their commitment to telling our story.
From the Ground Up: The Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s Approach to Building Community Capacity
Executive Summary x
Executive Summary
Introduction
This report presents a study of the evolution,
implementation, and results of the work of the Logan
Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA), funded
by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur
Foundation. LSNA, one of the grantees under the
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's
Building Community Capacity program, has a 40-
year history of mobilizing neighborhood residents to
maintain and improve the quality of community life
and to bring additional resources and services into the
neighborhood. LSNA's work is guided by its Holistic
Plan, which includes improving local public schools,
developing youth leadership, enhancing
neighborhood safety, maintaining affordable housing,
and economic revitalization.
Overview of the Study
Between May 1999 and July 2002, Research for
Action (RFA), an independent, Philadelphia-based
nonprofit, worked in collaboration with LSNA on
this documentation project. Over the course of three
years, the RFA research team worked with LSNA
staff and leaders to collect and analyze data about
LSNA’s internal processes, its strategies for
neighborhood change, and the impact of engaging
with LSNA on participants, especially in the areas of
education and housing.
Overview of LSNA
LSNA, an organization with a staff of 18 in 2002 and
a yearly budget of approximately $1,000,000, has
remained flexible and intimately connected to the
community. According to both staff and community
leaders, during the past 13 years, LSNA has
transformed from an organization made up primarily
of white homeowners to a racially, ethnically, and
economically integrated organization (reflecting the
demographics of the neighborhood). Since 1990,
LSNA has developed strong school/community
partnerships, created a nationally-recognized
affordable homeownership program, and built
citywide visibility as a dynamic, community-based
organization. Today, as low-income Logan Square
residents face the possibility of displacement due to
gentrification, LSNA is fighting to maintain the
quality and diversity of community life it has helped
to create.
LSNA’s executive director of thirteen years, Nancy
Aardema, strongly believes that the organization's
success has been based on building ongoing
relationships of personal trust among individuals and
organizations. During these years, the organization
has looked hard for ways to nurture numerous and
varied types of new social relationships within the
Logan Square neighborhood. According to Aardema,
these relationships become the foundation for strong
neighborhood-based leadership and the capacity to
challenge power inequities and bring about social
change.
Relationship building is central to all of LSNA’s
work. As the organization strives to maintain Logan
Square as a neighborhood that is diverse
economically, as well as ethnically, linguistically,
and racially, Aardema believes that the campaign for
affordable housing is worth undertaking only if it
fosters creative, meaningful relationships. As Nancy
says,
[Any campaign] has to be worthy of our time, both
in terms of victory and building relationships. So
part of our organizing is always relationship
building and making it worth staying in the
community because it's deeper than a house. It’s
about relationships and creativity.
LSNA's successes in bringing together diverse
members of the Logan Square community,
mobilizing community members to address shared
needs, and accessing outside resources all make it a
valuable context for examining how a community
organization builds community capacity by creating
new sets of relationships, which in turn increase
community well-being.
Community Change and Displacement In
Logan Square
Logan Square covers 3.6 square miles located north
and west of Chicago’s vibrant downtown. Between
1970 and 1990, the demographics of Logan Square
shifted from a majority of residents of Eastern
European ancestry to a majority population of first
and second generation immigrants from Latin
America. Today, Logan Square’s population of
83,000 remains a heterogeneous mix of Mexicans,
Puerto Ricans, other Latin Americans, recent Polish
immigrants, established white residents, and African
Americans.
While the neighborhood is racially and ethnically
diverse, its potential for maintaining economic
diversity is threatened as real estate values and taxes
rise, development escalates, and market forces
encourage the conversion of affordable housing units
into condominiums or luxury townhouses. Since the
Research for Action
Executive Summary
xi
early 1990s, poor and working class families have
had increasingly fewer options for living in Logan
Square. Many middle class professionals, both
Anglo and Latino, are long-term residents of Logan
Square and contribute to the creative mix that makes
up LSNA. In contrast, LSNA members often perceive
wealthy newcomers as oblivious or scornful of their
poorer neighbors who have helped to build the
community as they raised families, made friends, and
worked to improve neighborhood institutions.
An activist priest in the neighborhood describes the
sense of loss experienced by working class residents
who no longer feel at home in their own
neighborhood.
When the community begins to change, it is not just
the houses. Suddenly “we” need more green
space, more play space. Each time they go and
tear something down, they say drug dealers lived
there. There’s a feeling that now “we” deserve a
park more than [someone] deserves a home. When
the neighborhood begins to change, then the
meaning of the neighborhood begins to change.
(Father Mike, Catholic priest and housing activist)
In the fall of 2001, an organizer for LSNA’s Parent
Mentor program, which trains parents to work in
Logan Square schools alongside the classroom
teachers, vividly described the heartlessness of
incoming developers and the impact that
displacement is having on her school and community.
I had 6 parent mentors living in one apartment
building (it was a 17 unit building) and they got a
30 day notice and they were offered $2000 to be
out in 5 days. These people started construction
even before the 30 days were up. There were no
permits issued, nothing. They were just told to
leave. And not one of those families came back to
Brentano. So we lost 17. I lost all those parent
mentors. I lost a few friends. The fact they were
able to do this; they weren’t issued any permits and
when they were, they were back-dated. I look at the
parent mentors we lost, the children we have lost
from the school, the rental units we lost, and the
lack of aldermen caring about those people, and
even back-dating the permits! That all ties into
what we’re up against.
As existing neighborhood bonds are threatened,
LSNA struggles to stabilize the diverse community
that it has helped to create.
Democratic Participation in Setting the
Agenda for LSNA
All of LSNA’s activities are guided by its Holistic
Plan, which is revised annually. The initial version
of the Holistic Plan, completed in 1994, presented a
positive vision of the community and provided a
roadmap for all the different activities that started
springing up when Aardema became Executive
Director. One of the original writers of the plan told
us,
As we continued to get victories in different areas,
we just began to realize that we couldn't be
everything at once…So what we did was, we
brought the community together…We finally
realized that we were just running all different
places at the same time. And we needed some kind
of filter.
Thirty-four local schools churches, businesses, block
clubs, social service agencies—with seniors and
youth, parents and teachers, pastors and residents—
worked together for over two years in small
committees and large groups to set forth a specific
agenda for building a healthier and more stable
neighborhood. Committees were formed for different
issue areas. Each year a “Core Committee,”
appointed by LSNA’s elected Executive Board and
leaders from each issue committee, engages in a
process of brainstorming, visioning, and reflection
that leads to an annual revision of the Holistic Plan.
At the annual May Congress, the newly-revised
Holistic Plan is presented and ratified by LSNA's
Board (composed of representatives of LSNA's issue
committees and representatives from almost 50 local
organizations) and membership.
The elaborate process of holistic planning creates a
well-defined democratic process which engages
people in a civic arena in ways that many have not
previously experienced. It teaches members new
skills and provides a model which is replicated in
other arenas within the organization. For example, as
a Logan Square minister told us,
LSNA has been very active in [making schools] a
center of community, not just a place where kids
and a group of professionals descend…It is not just
a place where you can depend on kids to receive an
education, but also the place where you participate
in the governance and deciding what goes on there
and building it up and helping it grow.
Findings about LSNA’s Organizing Work
in Schools and Housing
FINDING ONE: LSNA’s robust school/community
partnerships grew out of a sustained, successful
campaign against school overcrowding in Logan
Square.
During the period that LSNA was writing its first
Holistic Plan, it was also leading a campaign against
overcrowding in Logan Square schools. A parent
and a former president of LSNA explained the hard
From the Ground Up: The Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s Approach to Building Community Capacity
Executive Summary xii
work of organizing that enabled LSNA parents to win
new school facilities for their neighborhood in the
early 1990s:
There were many meetings with parents to prepare
for going down to the Board of Education. What
was funny was that no one would commit in a large
group. But we went around and got individual
commitments. We had many, many meetings. It
was a year and a half of meetings. And then we
finally all came together in one big room. You
could feel the tension in the room. And once we
started the meeting it was like, “Well, you know, so
and so, you said that if so and so supported it, you
will support it," and we would call on the names,
“Well, are you here in support?” It was
empowering because you finally beat this huge
Board of Ed.
Over several years, the campaign resulted in five new
annexes and two new middle schools. Just as
importantly, the campaign both demonstrated
LSNA's power as a community organization and built
a foundation of mutual trust and respect among the
principals, teachers, parent leaders and LSNA staff
who had been involved in the campaign and
witnessed the results.
FINDING TWO: LSNA’s school-based programs have
been successful in helping hundreds of low-income
parents take leadership roles in their families, their
schools, and their communities.
LSNA’s Parent Mentor program, which trains low-
income parents, often Latinas, to work alongside
teachers in Logan Square classrooms, was initiated
by one of the principals who participated in the
campaign against overcrowding and who helped
write the first Holistic Plan. Over 900 parents have
graduated from the Parent Mentor program and have
gone on to attain their G.E.D.’s, seek employment,
and become active in the schools and the community.
Isabel, who is now a parent organizer for the program
told us,
The program is great because it changes a lot of
people's lives. Not only for myself, but when other
mothers first get into the program, their self-esteem
and everything is so low. When they first started,
they were like really quiet; they would keep to
themselves. And now you can't get them to shut up
sometimes. I mean you see the complete difference,
they really change their life. They are more
outgoing. They are willing to do more for their
kids. It's like night and day, they're so different.
The first group of parent mentor graduates initiated
LSNA’s first Community Learning Center. Since
then, parent mentor graduates have started five other
Community Learning Centers, organized block clubs,
and also initiated a health committee and an
immigration committee within LSNA. The six
community-controlled Community Learning Centers
in Logan Square schools provide G.E.D. classes, ESL
classes, and cultural and recreational activities for
1,400 adults and children every week. Parent mentor
graduates and other community members also attend
college classes leading to certification as bilingual
teachers. Participants in and graduates of LSNA’s
programs make up the backbone of community
involvement in local schools, leading activities like
principal selection, Local School Councils, and
bilingual oversight committees.
FINDING THREE: Relationships established through
LSNA’s school-community partnerships have led to
substantial improvements in Logan Square schools.
Through parent participation in LSNA’s work in their
children’s schools, parents begin to develop trusting
relationships with each other and with school staff.
These relationships lead to increased parent
engagement in the life of schools.
As parents work closely with teachers, they develop a
better understanding of what actually happens in the
classroom and begin to develop their own educational
aspirations. According to LSNA organizers, school
staff, and parents, when parents become more
familiar with what is happening in classrooms, they
become more engaged with their children's
homework, reading to their children, and
participation in activities like Family Math and
Family Literacy. The presence of parents in the
schools also creates new kinds of relationships
between adults and children in classrooms, leading to
greater engagement by students in their classes.
Teachers and parents tell many stories of children
developing new interest in school because of parent
mentors in their classrooms, seeing their own parent
in the school, or having the parent pay more attention
to their children’s schoolwork and learning. One
parent mentor told us a common variation on this
theme.
To me, being a parent mentor means being able to
communicate with the students as well as the
teachers. And when you're able to share some of
the things that you know about the subjects, it
seems to bring out a lot of good in a kid. I've
noticed that in certain classrooms that I go to, the
kids, they want to participate even more, even the
ones that weren't even really doing well. The
teachers notice how well they're making progress
because they're interested, and I keep their interest
going.
Research for Action
Executive Summary
xiii
Since 1996, all LSNA elementary schools have
experienced significant increases in student
achievement, even while the demographics remained
constant. For example, from 1996 to 2001, the
percentage of students at one school reading at, or
above, the national norm on the yearly Iowa Test of
Basic Skills rose from 17.5% to 29.3%. In math, the
scores rose from 19.5% to 31.4%. Even more
dramatic are the gains which occurred in the
movement of student scores from the lowest to
second lowest quartiles, a telling change because
parent mentors usually work with the students who
are most behind. These increases in test scores
compare favorably with citywide averages, especially
given the relatively higher rate of poverty and higher
numbers of non-English speaking students in Logan
Square schools.
FINDING FOUR: During the three years of the
documentation study, LSNA was able to develop a
coherent and sustained organizing campaign for
affordable housing.
As part of a citywide Balanced Development
Coalition, LSNA asks elected officials to endorse a
platform that would require all developers to set aside
30% of new housing units as affordable housing.
Although few low- and moderate-income residents in
Logan Square would benefit directly from the set-
asides, LSNA supports this platform in the context of
a broader campaign which includes new affordable
homeownership programs, support for rental
subsidies, property tax abatements, and advocacy for
public housing residents. Participation in the
citywide Balanced Development Coalition is a way
for LSNA to strategize with people from across the
city and produce public actions that challenge public
officials and private developers to take a stance
against rampant displacement.
Many other efforts by LSNA helped move this
campaign forward between 1999 and 2002. These
included: meeting with city officials to convince
them to continue providing funds to subsidy rents for
low-income families; holding public meetings to
successfully block several undesirable zoning
changes in Logan Square; bringing 500 community
members together for a Housing Summit; and staging
a mock funeral procession of several hundred people
for lost housing in Logan Square.
In May 2002, we observed over 1,000 people at
LSNA’s 40th Annual Congress loudly respond “Yes”
to a speaker asking if they wanted to keep living in
Logan Square and if they wanted to keep working for
affordable rents. At the same event, school district
administrators and state politicians publicly
supported the need for affordable housing in Logan
Square and the citywide balanced development
platform. Most striking, LSNA’s newest alderman
spoke about affordable housing on behalf of his
fellow aldermen, promising to work closely with
LSNA to ensure affordable housing in the
neighborhood. This event contrasted sharply with
the initial phase of the affordable housing campaign
which RFA had observed three years earlier at the
onset of our documentation project.
FINDING FIVE: During the course of this study, a
group of grassroots housing leaders emerged and
coalesced to coordinate LSNA’s affordable housing
campaign.
Many of the current leaders of the affordable housing
campaign had originally approached LSNA to
address their own immediate housing needs. As they
developed relationships with LSNA staff and leaders,
many newcomers to the organization began to
connect their individual issues to a community-wide
vision for affordable housing.
One example was Dawn, a recently separated mother
who faced being forced out of Logan Square due to
rising rents, but was able to qualify for a rental
subsidy with LSNA’s help. Drawing on her anger
over the injustice of unfair housing costs and policies,
Dawn now speaks out for others who are struggling
to find and keep affordable rents. Dawn told us,
When I first became involved with LSNA, I was a
single mom and was suddenly going to have to pay
the rent on my own. I was the last person to
receive [the subsidy from the Low Income Housing
Trust Fund] because the funds were used up.
Knowing how much it would help me and other
people who were in need of it, I agreed to work to
keep the fund going. There is a subtle “class
intimidation out there that says, “If you’re on a
subsidy, you have no right to speak for yourself.”
Keeping involved was easy because [the housing
organizer] treated me as her equal and we learned
from each other.
Another housing leader, Roxanne, once homeless and
a former resident of public housing, was able to buy
half of a two-flat home for herself and her children
through LSNA’s affordable homeownership.
Roxanne now faces rising taxes and pressures from
developers and is fighting to maintain her house and
her identity as a homeowner. She sees this as part of
a larger struggle for the community as she knows it,
It’s not about me trying to save my house. It’s
about the numbers, about the energy. It’s about
unity, about bringing people together. It’s about
From the Ground Up: The Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s Approach to Building Community Capacity
Executive Summary xiv
people just being able to be–and not [having to]
defend themselves.
In addition to community members like Dawn and
Roxanne, LSNA has other leaders who bring a strong
sense of social justice along with institutional
connections. For example, Father Mike is a Catholic
priest who deliberately chose a parish in Logan
Square because part of his mission included wanting
to fight for affordable housing and social justice for
low-income and minority citizens. As Father Mike
told us, he takes a strong moral stand against
displacement and encourages others in the
community to take public action: “Because of my
role as a leader and a religious leader in the
community, I am very much a person of action.”
FINDING SIX: LSNA’s advocacy and organizing work
on the issue of affordable housing is embedded in a
multi-pronged approach that includes programs and
services for renters and homeowners.
In 1994, LSNA and local banks lobbied state policy
makers to modify the existing affordable home-
ownership program to make it accessible to people
who could not buy an entire building. Forty-five
families bought houses through this program.
Approximately 50 more families bought houses
through similar programs, and 16 have enrolled in a
new plan to buy apartments in a cooperatively-owned
building. The neighborhood banks continue to work
together to hold housing fairs and provide seminars
on homeownership issues. LSNA’s housing
counselor estimates that, during the period of our
research, hundreds of people have participated in
counseling, workshops, and fairs about home equity
conversions, default/foreclosures, pre-purchase
concerns, and challenging tax assessments. In
addition, LSNA has conducted outreach to hundreds
of renters and has attained rental subsidies for 64
units by enrolling landlords in Chicago's Low Income
Housing Trust Fund which provides rental subsidies
to qualified landlords and tenants.
Recommendations for Building
Community Capacity
Based upon our study of LSNA, Research for Action
offers the following straightforward recommend-
ations to community organizations and funders who
would like to learn from the example of LSNA.
While these recommendations may appear simple,
they constitute a complex set of guidelines for
building a community in which people both care
about each other and are able to act on their own
behalf.
1. Foster strong interpersonal relationships and
trust among individuals,
2. Develop grassroots leadership,
3. Integrate long-term strategies to build power and
change policy with short-term strategies that
provide skills and resources to community
members,
4. Maintain a vision based on the needs and dreams
of community members.
Concluding Comments
As RFA completes our study of LSNA, we have
several remaining questions about the future direction
of the organization’s work. First, we wonder whether
the organizational culture and values fostered by the
current Executive Director are embedded deeply
enough to outlast her tenure at the organization.
Second, we wonder if LSNA’s growing involvement
in the arena of citywide policy advocacy and
organizing will alter its current approaches to
relationship building, leadership development, and
democratic participation on the neighborhood level.
Finally, we wonder how LSNA will change as the
Logan Square neighborhood itself continues to
change.
These questions merely underscore the vitality and
dynamism that LSNA embodies in its approach to
building community capacity. LSNA’s successful
approach to building community capacity is
evidenced by its ability to integrate multiple voices,
to draw on many skill-sets in the neighborhood, and
to access many different types of resources. The
organization’s program and strategies are deeply
connected to the lives and realities of low- and
moderate-income Logan Square residents, who
describe profound changes in their self-esteem and
self-confidence resulting from their involvement with
LSNA. Finally, LSNA is composed of individuals
who care about each other and who respond
thoughtfully to shifting pressures and opportunities in
the external environment.
Research for Action
Ch I: Documenting the Contributions of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association
1
DOCUMENTING THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE
LOGAN SQUARE NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION
Building Community Capacity and Grassroots
Community Organizing
Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA),
one of the grantees under the John D. and Catherine
T. MacArthur Foundation's Building Community
Capacity program, is a forty-year community
organization with a long history of mobilizing
neighborhood residents to maintain and improve the
quality of community life and to bring additional
resources and services into the Logan Square
neighborhood. Since May 1999, Research for Action
(RFA), an independent Philadelphia-based nonprofit,
and LSNA have been working together to document
LSNA’s approach, activities, and the results of
LSNA's organizing through qualitative, collaborative
research. The focus of this study is on LSNA’s work
since 1989 when its current director, Nancy
Aardema, took over, with an emphasis on the years
1999-2002, when Research for Action conducted its
research. This report documents LSNA’s approach
and achievements in linking community organizing
to the building of community capacity, tracing the
similarities and differences in LSNA's methods,
strategies, and successes in two different issue
areas—education and housing.
Currently, LSNA has an annual budget of over one
million dollars and an office-based staff of eighteen.
Logan Square is a mixed income community with a
large low-income Latino population. LSNA defines
itself as an inclusive community-based organization
with a commitment to organizing low- and moderate-
income neighborhood residents. RFA's analysis
shows that LSNA prioritizes the needs of these
residents, many of them first or second-generation
immigrants from Latin America. At the same time,
the organization has an inclusive definition of "the
community," and the membership includes a wide
range of individuals and organizations: principals and
parents; Latinos, Anglos, and African Americans;
English and Spanish speakers; landlords and tenants;
as well as churches, block clubs, social service
agencies, and several community banks.
Like other initiatives committed to building capacity
in low-income communities, LSNA has the goal of
increasing the community's "ability to mobilize and
use the resources of its members, along with outside
resources, to foster individual growth and community
development" (MacArthur, 1999). LSNA's approach
is based on mobilizing and empowering community
residents who have previously been excluded from
positions of power. We believe that LSNA's
approach has the potential to provide valuable lessons
for funders and community organizers about
relationships between the development and exercise
of individuals’ capacities, on one hand, and achieving
outcomes which benefit an entire community, on the
other hand. LSNA sees a direct link between the
building of civic engagement and leadership among
the poorest residents of Logan Square and the
community’s ability to develop programs and obtain
resources which will support economic revitalization.
LSNA's work is guided by its Holistic Plan. This is
essentially a detailed and continually evolving
mission statement, which includes a series of
objectives with which to assess its effectiveness each
year. The Holistic Plan sets goals for key areas of
action, such as improving local public schools,
developing youth leadership, enhancing
neighborhood safety, maintaining affordable housing,
and revitalizing the local economy.
LSNA's executive director of thirteen years, Nancy
Aardema, strongly believes that the organization is
successful because it bases its work on building
relationships of personal trust among individuals and
organizations in order to act on community goals.
During the past thirteen years, the organization has
looked hard for ways to nurture diverse new social
I
From the Ground Up: The Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s Approach to Building Community Capacity
Ch. I: Building Community Capacity and Grassroots Community Organizing 2
relationships within the Logan Square neighborhood.
According to Aardema, LSNA draws on these
relationships in developing a strong base of leaders
from the neighborhood who can speak for the
community and work effectively for social change.
LSNA's focus on relationship building makes it an
especially appropriate site for exploring how low-
income communities build their own capacity, an
issue in which the John D. and Catherine C.
MacArthur Foundation, other foundations, and policy
makers on the federal, state, and city levels, as well
as private businesses and scholars, are increasingly
interested. Community capacity can undoubtedly be
enhanced through external policies and resources,
such as a regional transportation policy, tax policies
that support urban business development, and
subsidies for low-income housing. However, as
necessary as these may be, they are not sufficient for
creating healthy urban communities. Individuals and
institutions in neighborhoods with high
concentrations of poverty also need to be able to
work together to secure and utilize resources. This
priority is reflected in the goal of the John D. and
Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation: "The
Foundation is committed to building the capacity of
communities and helping them gain the ability to
solve their own problems" (www.macfound.org).
RFA's research suggests that the creation of trust
among community residents, between residents and
institutions, and among community institutions has
been key to LSNA’s successes in identifying and
solving problems in Logan Square. RFA has been
able to observe the ways in which LSNA's approach
to relationship building intersects with issues of
changing power and policy in the arenas of education
and housing. Because LSNA’s work in schools and
in housing are in different phases of an organizing
campaign, we have also had the opportunity to
observe different phases of the relationship building
work.
LSNA's current work in schools demonstrates its
approach to relationship building in a context in
which it has already developed substantial power
through a sustained organizing campaign. In
observing LSNA's work with schools, we saw stable,
active communities of parents and teachers that grew
out of ten years of leadership development and
community-initiated programming in the schools.
LSNA's schools show consistent gains in test scores.
These gains compare favorably with citywide gains,
even though public school students in Logan Square
are among the poorest in the city and are among the
least likely to speak English.
LSNA's school/community partnerships, which many
observers describe as an important contributor to
school improvement in the neighborhood, are based
on relationships of mutual respect that began
developing over ten years ago as the community
mounted a sustained and successful campaign against
overcrowding. The success of this campaign
stemmed from mobilizing the community,
collaborating with principals and teachers in local
schools, and developing relationships with public
officials in order to hold them accountable to
community needs. The successful school/community
partnerships that now exist in Logan Square are
based on the power of LSNA as a community
organization.
LSNA's successful involvement with local schools
developed, in part, because LSNA was able to take
advantage of statewide legislation passed in 1988,
which provided substantial power to parents and
community members through the creation of elected
Local School Councils (LSCs). LSNA was very
active in recruiting and campaigning for the election
of LSNA parents and other community residents to
the LSCs. The power which LSNA gained from this
organizing effort underlies its current success in
implementing school-based programs.
In contrast to observing a set of school-based
relationships that are the outcomes of a sustained
organizing campaign, our observations of LSNA's
housing work shows relationship building underway
as it is central to the process of developing a
campaign. As part of this campaign, we saw the slow
process of relationship building among organizers
and community members as well as the evolution of
strategies for developing the community's power and
holding public officials accountable to the interests of
low- and moderate-income people. As this campaign
evolves, it draws together people whose concerns
range from very localized, block-level issues, to
neighborhood-wide, and citywide issues. In its
struggles at all these levels, LSNA is working to
develop both relationships and accountability among
elected officials, administrators in city government,
and private development and financial interests.
In earlier phases of its housing work, LSNA was able
to use legislative and judicial tools such as the
Community Reinvestment Act and the Chicago
Housing Court as levers for developing community
power to address the needs of renters and families
interested in becoming homeowners. Currently, as
Research for Action
Ch I: Documenting the Contributions of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association
3
one part of the affordable housing campaign, LSNA
is working to change citywide policy to slow down
private housing development and maintain affordable
housing units. In this campaign, LSNA is faced with
the challenges of creating strong relationships within
the neighborhood at the same time that it must
counter citywide political and economic forces
pushing many low- and middle-income residents out
of Logan Square. From the perspective of members
and leaders within the LSNA, the hard work they
have done creating social ties and responsive
institutions locally can easily be undone by economic
and political forces originating at the city or state
levels.
The issue of residential displacement of low- and
moderate-income community members frames a new
set of issues for those who are interested in building
the capacity of urban communities. Even if capacity
is developed around one set of institutions, for
example, the capacity of the type that we will discuss
in our chapter on schools in Logan Square, low- and
moderate-income communities always face the
potential of destabilization and/or disinvestment by
business interests, developers, and their political
allies. The threat of displacement in Logan Square
helps us realize that although low- and moderate-
income urban residents often need to develop new
forms of social trust, they may already have, in
addition, existing bonds that are threatened by forces
from outside their communities. Countering these
threats requires not only trust and skill, but also the
development of power and public accountability.
As a neighborhood priest in Logan Square told us in
discussing gentrification,
When the community begins to change, it is not just
the houses. Suddenly we need more green space,
more play space. Each time they go and tear
something down, they say drug dealers lived there.
There’s a feeling that now we deserve a park more
than [someone] deserves a home. When the
neighborhood begins to change, then the meaning
of the neighborhood begins to change. (Father
Mike, Catholic priest and housing activist)
A neighborhood housing leader, Roxanne Tyler,1 also
vividly described the social ruptures that occur during
the process of gentrification. According to Roxanne,
Wherever you [once] lived, you had people and
friends and support and [now] you have to move
out to the suburbs, you might as well move to
another country because you’re that far away.
1Throughout this report, all names used are pseudonyms with the exception of public
officials and LSNA staff.
Even when lower-income neighborhood residents
may benefit from increasing property values,
according to Roxanne, they are often critical of the
lack of respect for the existing community among
affluent newcomers.
One [condo owner] said to me in a meeting, “just
think of all the money you’re going to make.” And
I just looked at him and said, "You know I don’t
want to make any money. I just want to live. I just
want to live with my kids in my house… I think you
have a right to profit, but when you come into my
neighborhood, you’re supposed to respect me, and
you don’t respect me when you come in here doing
what you’re doing. First and foremost, it’s people
like us who have stabilized this community so you
felt safe enough to come in.
Until recently, discussions of urban poverty have
largely focused on the need to bring additional
resources into urban neighborhoods. However, as
some American cities attract new investment, new
jobs, and younger, more affluent residents,
community capacity also becomes an issue of
community identity and distribution of the power to
allocate and access resources as well as the existence
of material resources themselves. LSNA draws on a
rich history of community organizing as it faces the
challenge of maintaining a diverse, multi-income
community in the face of new wealth coming into the
neighborhood. While the threat of displacement
makes the rupture of existing social relationships
particularly vivid in Logan Square, LSNA's approach
provides more general lessons about how low- and
moderate-income residents can go about building and
maintaining a vital urban community.
To a large extent, capacity building efforts to date in
low-income communities nationwide have
concentrated on Community Development
Corporations (CDCs) and Comprehensive
Community Initiatives (CCIs), with organizations
like the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)
and the Enterprise Foundation acting as funding
intermediaries (Keating and Krumholtz, 1999).
CDCs (neighborhood-based, non-profit business
ventures) and especially CCIs (long-term efforts to
coordinate planning and funding among a wide range
of community organizations and agencies in low-
income neighborhoods) require robust community
leadership, as well as technical expertise and access
to funding. However, CDCs and CCIs tend to
prioritize the development of technical expertise and
the formal involvement of institutional leaders, rather
than mobilizing low-income community residents to
identify and address their own needs (Hess, 1999;
Keating and Krumholtz, 1999; Stoeker, 1999).
From the Ground Up: The Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s Approach to Building Community Capacity
Ch. I: Building Community Capacity and Grassroots Community Organizing 4
In contrast to CDCs and CCIs, grassroots community
organizers base their work on the premise that poor
and working class people can, and must, mobilize
and build power to address their own needs and
concerns (Alinsky, 1971; Delgado, 1986). In
addition, contemporary community organizing often
incorporates insights derived from feminist thought,
including the importance of focusing on interpersonal
relationships and dynamics and the connections
between personal and political issues (Gittell et al.,
2001; O'Donnell and Schumer, 1996).
Styles of community organizing vary across
organizations and individuals, but current community
organizing groups share a commitment to building
leadership among their members, mobilizing their
constituencies, and developing mutually beneficial
relationships with elected officials and others in more
traditional positions of power (Gold, Simon and
Blanc, 2002). In addition, grassroots community
organizations traditionally work hard with
neighborhood leaders to identify winnable issues,
build strategic alliances, and maintain long-term
campaigns for attaining the community's strategic
goals. The examples of LSNA and other community-
based groups around the country suggest that
approaches to leadership and community
mobilization that characterize grassroots organizing
can be useful to organizations that also have
characteristics of CDCs and CCIs, even though there
is some debate about whether the organizational
structures and philosophies of community organizing
and community development are compatible (e.g.,
Hess 1999; Stoecker 1999).
This study of the work of LSNA provides an
opportunity to observe the processes of community
capacity building within a specific context. Our aim
is to represent and give voice to the attempts of one
experienced community-based organization to
mediate larger economic and political forces and play
a significant role in shaping the future of its
neighborhood. In the report, we have also tried to
capture the complexity of the work of LSNA to make
clear that none of this work happens without
considerable difficulty involving challenges from
external obstacles and the need to deal with internal
differences in point of view.
Research for Action
Ch I: Documenting the Contributions of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association
5
Overview of Research and Findings
RFA's research about building community capacity in
Logan Square, conducted between May 1999 and
January 2002, documents the ways that LSNA's
organizational structure brings together numerous
groups and interests within the Logan Square
neighborhood. In addition, case studies of LSNA's
work with schools and housing demonstrate how the
organization's relational approach to community
organizing plays out in two different issue areas. The
two areas of focused research, schools and housing,
were chosen in conjunction with LSNA organizers
who were interested in documenting both LSNA's
extensive impact on school improvement and the
nascent campaign to maintain affordable housing in
the community. In this work, we have looked
carefully at the structures and processes that LSNA
uses to strengthen the Logan Square community. In
addition, we look at the ways that the Logan Square
community and LSNA interact with broader social,
economic, and political forces that impact the
organization's ability to build internal community
capacity.
RFA's research about LSNA has been guided by the
following questions, developed in conjunction with
LSNA staff members:
1. What is LSNA's approach to organizing? What
are its key elements and how has it evolved?
How does this strategy work in different issue
areas, particularly education and housing? What
factors have influenced how the strategy
evolved?
2. What kinds of social relations are being built
through LSNA's organizing efforts? How does
LSNA create a shared sense of community? How
have communities evolved in and around LSNA
schools and community centers?
3. In addition to an enhanced sense of community,
what other results do we see from LSNA's work?
How does involvement with LSNA change
individuals' expectations for themselves and their
children? What are other concrete results of
campaigns around education and housing?
4. What are the local, city and statewide contexts
for LSNA's work? Who are the key people and
what are the organizations which initiate,
maintain, and support LSNA's efforts? How
does LSNA fit into the larger socio-economic
context of Logan Square?
5. What obstacles does LSNA encounter in its
organizing efforts? How does LSNA address
possible conflicts between program development
and organizing? How does it negotiate tensions
between mobilizing community residents and
working with funders or established institutions?
How does it address differences in the
organizational cultures of a community
organization and established institutions like
schools?
LSNA's noteworthy accomplishments in the realm of
building community capacity include:
1. Building strong, collaborative relationships
among individuals and groups within Logan
Square that cross over a wide range of economic,
ethnic, and institutional interests.
2. Accessing over a million dollars each year in
resources from institutions and organizations
outside of Logan Square, including funding for
school-based programs, mortgages for moderate-
income families, and subsidies for low-income
renters.
3. Mobilizing local residents and businesses in
order to make local, citywide, and statewide
institutions more responsive to the needs of low-
and moderate-income Logan Square residents in
areas such as housing, education, health care,
and immigrant rights.
From the Ground Up: The Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s Approach to Building Community Capacity
Ch. I: Lenses for Understanding the Process of Capacity Building 6
Lenses for Understanding the Process of Capacity
Building
In order to understand how LSNA accomplishes
these capacity-building activities, we look at LSNA's
activities through four different lenses: relationship
building, leadership development, democratic
participation, and building power and changing
policy. LSNA’s approach to dealing with community
issues is indeed multi-dimensional. The four lenses
provide a framework for describing and analyzing
LSNA's philosophy and practice without prioritizing
one dimension of its approach. We believe that these
lenses can be used to look at both aspects of LSNA’s
work that relate to the internal dynamics of the Logan
Square neighborhood and those which relate to
broader social, economic and political forces and
institutions.
This framework allows us to see that a certain aspect
of LSNA's approach may be particularly important to
the organization's work on a given issue at a
particular moment in time. Additionally, the
framework helps us to examine LSNA as a whole.
Looking through the various lenses permits us to
view and understand that LSNA’s strength grows out
of its ability to simultaneously build relationships,
develop leaders, encourage democratic participation,
and build power to change policies in ways that will
support a strong, diverse, urban neighborhood.
As a conceptual framework, we see these four lenses
corresponding well with the thinking of the Aspen
Institute. In a 1996 paper entitled “Measuring
Community Capacity Building,” the Institute
identified eight outcomes. These include: growing
diverse, inclusive citizenship participation; expanding
a leadership base; strengthening individual skills;
developing a widely shared vision; forming a
strategic community agenda (including a plan);
evidencing consistent, tangible progress toward
goals; producing more effective community
organizations and institutions; and better resource
utilization by the community. We see evidence of all
eight of these outcomes when we look at LSNA’s
work over the course of our fieldwork through the
four lenses we have defined.
Looking through the Lens of
Relationship Building
Using the lens of relationship building, we see that
LSNA has been able to develop a campaign for
affordable housing based on relationships and
common interests among low- and moderate-income
renters, homeowners, and public housing residents, as
well as community banks in Logan Square, even
though this campaign challenges the interests of
powerful real estate developers and some middle
class and more affluent newcomers to the
neighborhood.
The creation of new relationships is fundamental to
all processes of community change. Relationships
create new forms of friendship and support within the
neighborhood. Relationship building, sometimes
referred to as the creation of "social capital," leads to
networks of mutual obligation and trust, both
interpersonal and inter-group, relationships which
can be called on to leverage resources for addressing
community concerns.
LSNA builds relationships gradually and
deliberately. One key component of relationship
building takes place as LSNA organizers meet
individually with community members in their
homes, schools, churches, and the LSNA offices. At
these meetings, organizers and community members
discuss their lives, their community and what is
happening to and around them. These “one-on-ones”
are key to developing new community leaders. In
LSNA's Parent Mentor program, parents also work
together in groups to identify their concerns, goals,
and dreams, as well as the strengths they bring to
their families, schools, and community. Whether
relationship building begins with individual
conversations or in group discussions, it takes time to
learn about individuals’ goals for both personal
growth and neighborhood improvement.
Like many other community organizing groups,
LSNA brings people together who might not
otherwise associate with each other, either because of
cultural and language barriers (e.g., Latinos and
African Americans) or because of their different roles
and positions, such as teacher and parents or renters
and homeowners. Given LSNA’s goals of
functioning democratically and representing a diverse
community, relationship building across differences
in race, ethnicity, income, and status is essential.
Relationship building also extends outside of the
neighborhood and involves developing connections
with funding sources, elected officials, and
community groups in other neighborhoods. As we
show in the following chapters, in its work with
schools, LSNA has developed an extensive network
Research for Action
7 Ch. I: Summary of Chapter I and Outline of Report
of relationships with school administrators,
politicians, and foundations inside and outside of
Chicago. In its current housing campaign, LSNA is
developing a new set of relationships with public
officials and policy makers. Also of great
significance in the housing campaign is LSNA’s
building of alliances with other grassroots
community organizations interested in working
collaboratively for affordable housing in many parts
of the city.
Looking through the Lens of Leadership
Development
LSNA’s leadership is diverse and represents the
broad spectrum of community residents, including
both lower-income, often Spanish-speaking
individuals and higher-income professionals
(bankers, lawyers, teachers, etc.). In recent years, the
proportion of lower-income leaders has increased.
With the guidance of LSNA’s executive director,
Nancy Aardema, the organization works to maintain
a culture of mutual respect and shared authority
among people with different education and
employment histories, priorities, and beliefs about
their right and capacity to exert influence.
Different aspects of LSNA’s work may involve
different degrees of interaction and collaboration
among individuals of different ethnicity and income-
level or social class. The groups of LSNA members
and leaders working on targeted projects, such as the
Parent Mentor program or Community Centers in
schools, may be relatively homogeneous, whereas the
governance of LSNA and its subcommittees is likely
to be more multi-class. It is in these situations that
Nancy exercises her interpersonal skills—
encouraging the participation of those with less
experience in the public forums and modeling an
attitude of equal respect for all—to help maintain a
truly democratic environment and process.
Much of what leadership means in LSNA reflects the
literature on community organizing, including the
tradition of Alinsky-style organizing, with its
historical roots in Chicago2 and its emphasis on the
idea that poor and working class people can, and
must, provide leadership to a grassroots movement to
address the needs and concerns of their own
communities. Leadership in LSNA also incorporates
contemporary thought on collaborative leadership
which stresses the value of broadly-based and
2 See Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals, Vintage Books, New York, 1971; Robert
Fisher, Let the People Decide, Neighborhood Organizing in America, updated
edition, Twayne Publishers, New York, 1994.
distributed leadership within an organization, rather
than the value of a smaller, stronger leadership
group.3
In our research protocols, we asked LSNA members
directly what the term “leadership” meant to them
and how one becomes a leader in LSNA. Com-
munity members and LSNA organizers describe a
gradual process of leadership development that helps
people to clarify their own beliefs and become
comfortable with expressing their views in ways that
link their own experiences to those of the people they
represent. LSNA members said that leadership
development encourages individuals, especially
women, to challenge traditional power relationships
in their own lives. Leadership development helps
community residents to sharpen their skills for civic
engagement through opportunities to speak publicly,
lead meetings, interview public officials, and
negotiate with those in positions of power. While
leadership development has to do with enhancing the
scope and nature of the work performed, it also has to
do with the way an individual becomes accountable
in public to others. As leaders develop a stronger
sense of connection with their community, their
willingness to be publicly accountable begins to
unfold.
One important way that grassroots leaders develop is
through becoming involved in the organization from
the bottom up, in arenas like the Parent Mentor
program, which pays parents small stipends to
participate in leadership training and work in Logan
Square classrooms. This program, which is designed
to attract community members, places them in a
program which trains them to become engaged in a
public institution, and develops a large base of
support composed primarily of women who would
not otherwise be active in their community. In the
area of housing, community members have been
recruited to become leaders through their
involvement with the Low Income Housing Trust
Fund, a program which provides rental subsidies to
low-income renters. LSNA's affordable rent
committee actively mobilized community residents to
advocate for the maintenance and expansion of this
Fund.
3 See David Chrislip and Carl Larsen, Collaborative Leadership, Jossey-Bass Inc.,
San Francisco, 1994; Max DePree, Leadership is an Art, Dell Publishing Group, New
York, 1989, Leading Without Power, Shepard Foundation, Holland Michigan, 1997;
Francis Moore Lappe and Paul DuBois, The Quickening of America, Jossey-Bass,
San Francisco, 1994.
From the Ground Up: The Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s Approach to Building Community Capacity
Ch. I: Lenses for Understanding the Process of Capacity Building 8
Looking through the Lens of Democratic
Participation
LSNA embodies more than one avenue for
democratic participation. LSNA's power to change
policy depends on its ability to mobilize the
community to apply pressure on elected officials and
others in power, whether through lobbying efforts or
through more activist forms of organization, such as
large-scale demonstrations. In addition, LSNA also
encourages community members to participate in
internal democratic processes which bring
community members together to make shared
decisions about community needs, strategies, and
priorities. Democratic participation in the annual
process of publicly evaluating and revising LSNA’s
Holistic Plan is key to debating and articulating a
shared vision for Logan Square.
Logan Square is far from a unitary community, and
LSNA includes many of the neighborhood’s different
social, economic, ethnic, national, and political
groupings. While many people move in and out of
the organization, there is a core who strongly identify
with LSNA and with the Logan Square neighborhood
and who provide stability to LSNA. Through the
relationships developed and through the process of
discussion and dialogue, LSNA provides a vehicle
for identifying shared interests and creating a sense
of community, thus bringing together people who
might otherwise see themselves as having little in
common. The process in LSNA can be characterized
as highly interpersonal, relationship-oriented, trust-
based, and situated within a democratic structure.
It is important to underscore that many of LSNA’s
members and leaders do not have prior experience
with holding positions of power or being able to
control the conditions of their lives. For these
individuals, democratic participation is an expression
of their emerging sense of political and social
entitlement. Our final lens, building power and
influencing policies, grows out of this sense of
entitlement, made visible in democratic participation.
Looking through the Lens of Building
Power and Changing Policy
People who have been excluded from power can gain
power by participating in public dialogue, developing
shared visions and strategies, community
mobilization, and gaining recognition and response
from public and private officials. Methods of
organizing for power include operating through
formal political channels (e.g., petitions, meetings
with elected and city officials) as well as grassroots
actions that galvanize people’s outrage and sense of
injustice in public protest. LSNA's sustained
campaigns over time, its clear organizational identity,
and its success in gaining political recognition for its
agendas in education and affordable housing are all
evidence of the community power that LSNA is
using to make Logan Square schools into responsive,
high quality institutions and to ensure the future of
Logan Square as a stable, economically diverse
neighborhood.
While community power is crucial to LSNA's work
in the areas of both housing and schools, the role
community power plays in these two arenas is
somewhat different. In its work with schools,
community power is critical because it allows LSNA
to enter into school/community partnerships, based
on relationships of trust and mutual respect. In
contrast, in its work to maintain affordable housing,
community power is critical to LSNA in order to
challenge the interests of established power and
money that currently dominate the real estate market,
both in Logan Square and more broadly in Chicago.
In part this contrast is due to the different impacts of
policies that shape schools and housing in Chicago.
In the area of education, LSNA was able to take
advantage of IL85-1418, a 1988 state law which
decentralized the Chicago school system, giving
substantial power to Local School Councils (LSCs), a
majority of whose members are elected parent
representatives. The 1988 education law, which was
enacted in response to grassroots organizing by a
broad citywide coalition of community organizations,
parent and education policy groups, and corporations,
establishes the power of LSC to hire and fire
principals and make key budget decisions. The
implementation of this legislation, which was
supported by a simultaneous interest on the part of
foundations, provided an important opening to create
partnerships with neighborhood schools, develop
schools as centers of community, and build new
community leadership for LSNA’s work in other
issue areas. As we show in our case study of
LSNA’s work with schools, LSNA’s success in this
work is based on its power to mobilize community
members, the specific policy context affecting
Chicago schools has also provided avenues for LSNA
to develop and maintain its power as a community
group.
In contrast, the area of affordable housing offers few
existing policy levers for community activism. An
important focus of LSNA's current housing work
Research for Action
9 Ch. I: Summary of Chapter I and Outline of Report
involves mobilizing its local constituency to develop
a citywide coalition with enough power to
counterbalance market-driven development policies.
In the current environment, local aldermen hold
enormous power to support or deny zoning changes
that builders need to establish new housing
developments in their wards; the aldermen are
extremely responsive to campaign contributions and
political pressures applied by powerful real estate
developers. The lack of a robust public policy
supporting affordable housing in Chicago is
particularly problematic for neighborhoods like
Logan Square, where many low- and moderate-
income community members have already been
forced to leave by increases in housing costs. As we
show in our case study of housing, LSNA's housing
work is proceeding on many fronts, but a major thrust
of the affordable housing campaign is building the
power of low- and moderate-income communities to
challenge existing housing policies.
Summary of Chapter I
LSNA's goals are to build the strength of its
community and to gain and maintain resources and
policy changes that will support the diverse families
of Logan Square. Some political theorists (e.g.,
Gaventa 1980; Lukes 1974) argue that low-income or
minority communities that are shut out of traditional
decision-making processes need opportunities to
envision their own political agendas and often must
mobilize outside of the traditional political system.
In our observations of LSNA, we have seen a well-
developed partnership with schools and an evolving
campaign for affordable housing. In both arenas,
LSNA's ability to gain attention for community issues
and get a seat at the table is the result of its capacity
to develop relationships and leaders, to identify
community needs through broad participation in the
organization, and to develop strategic plans for
constructive, collective action.
Outline of the Report
Chapter II provides an historic overview of LSNA
and an analysis of its current structure and overall
processes. Chapters III and IV are analytic case
studies which look at LSNA’s work in the areas of
reforming schools and organizing for affordable
housing through the lenses of relationship building,
leadership development, democratic participation,
and building power and changing policy. Chapter V,
the concluding chapter, presents an overall analysis
of how these processes are realized differently in
LSNA's work with schools and housing. We also
consider what foundations and other community
organizations can learn from LSNA's approach to
community change. In the appendices, we present
detailed information about the project’s research
methods and activities.
From the Ground Up: The Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s Approach to Building Community Capacity
Ch II: Portrait of Logan Square 10
LOGAN SQUARE AND THE EVOLUTION OF THE
LOGAN SQUARE NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION
Portrait of Logan Square
Located on the northwest side of Chicago, Logan
Square, Chicago Community Area 22, is a neighbor-
hood of roughly 83,000 inhabitants. Logan Square’s
political boundaries include portions of the 26th, 31st,
35th, and with recent redistricting, 1st Wards.
According to 2000 census data, 66% of the population
is Latino, 27% is non-Latino whites, 5% is non-Latino
African Americans, 1.5 % Asian and Pacific Islander,
and .19% Native American (Census 2000 at
www.suntimes.com). The community area includes a
wide range of housing stock and economic groups.
Household income census data available at the time of
this writing shows that in 2000 Logan Square, the
median household income was $36,245. Seventeen
percent of the total population received public
assistance in the form of Aid for Dependent Children,
Medicaid, or other forms of assistance.
From outward appearances, Chicago looks to non-
residents like a thriving multicultural city but it is in
fact among the most segregated of American cities and
can be mapped out as a series of neighborhood pockets
divided by race and social class. Logan Square is one
of the very few Chicago neighborhoods that is both
multi-racial and multi-class and has been for decades.
LSNA has been successful in bringing into its
membership Anglos, Latinos, and African Americans,
young people as well as seniors. LSNA's membership
includes some people who live in the historic greystone
mansions along Logan Boulevard and others who live
in Lathrop Homes, the public housing units just across
the river in the adjacent neighborhood of Lakeview.
Members of the Logan Square Neighborhood
Association are wrestling with how to find a way to
preserve the economic and multicultural diversity that
is still a part of their neighborhood even as the surge of
townhouse construction and condo conversion
continues to roll through their community.
Source: http://cgi.chicago.tribune.com
I
I
Research for Action
11 Ch. II: Historical Overview
Historical Overview
Logan Square Neighborhood Association is a well-
established community organization that was started
in the early 1960s by a group of local churches,
businesses, and homeowners to address
neighborhood concerns arising from rapid
suburbanization and deindustrialization in the
Chicago metropolitan area. Around the time of
LSNA's formation, longtime residents of Logan
Square, primarily working-class families of European
descent, were leaving Logan Square and new
residents were moving into the area, many of them
Cuban and Puerto Rican families coming from poorer
neighborhoods. Although residents organized in the
1960s to fight community deterioration when long-
term residents and businesses began to leave,
incoming Latino families moving into Logan Square
in the 1970s perceived “living in Logan Square...as a
measure of social prosperity and achievement”
(Padilla, 1993:134).
Padilla's valuable study of Puerto Ricans in Logan
Square portrays Logan Square as a place of "second
settlement" that attracted many upwardly mobile
Latinos who viewed the neighborhood as a “serene
and tranquil neighborhood, a place with safe streets
and good public schools” during the 1970s. To meet
the growing demand of Latinos for food and other
specialty items, Latino businessmen developed the
commercial streets into a Latino-dominated shopping
area that included Puerto Rican, Mexican American,
and Cuban food stores, restaurants, and jewelry
stores. In addition, Latino professionals established
other small businesses such as travel agencies, law
firms, realtors, and accountants to meet the special
needs of the immigrant community. Beginning in the
1980s, several non-profit organizations, including
Aspira, the Boys and Girls Club, and Hispanic
Housing, also focused on the educational and housing
needs of Latinos in Logan Square.
In addition to several active commercial strips and
community banks, the attractive housing stock, good
public transportation, and geographical accessibility
from the neighborhood to downtown Chicago and
O’Hare airport have continued to attract middle-class
professionals of all races since the 1970s. Thus, the
neighborhood did not face the degree of financial
disinvestments and racial segregation common to
many low-income Latino and African American
neighborhoods.
Since its inception in 1962, Logan Square
Neighborhood Association has worked to maintain
the financial stability of the neighborhood and has
grappled with how to position itself relative to the
differing interests of working-class and middle-class
constituencies within the neighborhood's geographic
boundaries. LSNA's membership has consistently
included community residents who represent the
interests of a range of economic and ethnic groups.
Source: LSNA Holistic Plan-2002
From the Ground Up: The Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s Approach to Building Community Capacity
Ch. II: The Current Chicago Context 12
The Current Chicago Context
LSNA and Chicago Public Schools
In 1988, Illinois enacted legislation that mandated
local community control of Chicago public schools.
It is possible to analyze the 1988 reform as meeting a
wide variety of agendas. For business interests, the
reform was seen as a means of fixing schools, a
necessity for attracting investment, supporting the
development of up-scale neighborhoods, and
promoting Chicago as a global city. The school
reformers saw decentralization of school control as a
vital strategy to democratize control of schools and
promote innovation. Some social justice activists saw
it as an opportunity for grassroots organizing and
grassroots community power.
Shipps (1997) argues that the decentralization plan
was primarily a business initiative to reform the
schools in the interest of larger development plans.
Business interests promoted a decentralized
management style popular with major corporations to
increase innovation and efficiency by reducing
bureaucracy. On the other hand, Designs for Change,
one of the architects of the plan, saw the reform as a
grassroots strategy to democratize schools and give
more power to parents and communities. Prior to
1988, a series of teachers’ strikes led to widespread
public protests and grassroots mobilization for
improvements in public education. Mayor Harold
Washington initiated an Education Summit (actually
taking place after his death), which brought the
school reformers together with the business interests
to fashion the outlines of the 1988 reform.
For Washington, the school reform fit with his plan
for economic development that focused on keeping
industries in the communities and promoting
development in neighborhoods as well as downtown.
It also fit with the politics of the Washington
administration, which was rooted in grassroots
community support and an effort to break from
Democratic machine politics. Local school
organizing was a piece of that strategy.
The decentralization of schools ushered in the
creation of eleven member Local School Councils
(LSCs) at each school, charged with hiring the
principal and helping to make policy for that school.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, community
groups across Chicago worked to make the reform a
success by recruiting and training parent and
community members to run as candidates in LSC
elections. Under Chicago law, LSCs have the power
to hire and fire principals and approve the use of
discretionary funds (i.e., state and federal funds for
low-income children and bilingual education),
budgets, and yearly school improvement plans. This
reform also brought an increase in the amount of
discretionary funds schools controlled (on average
approximately half a million dollars per elementary
school). LSNA was one of many Chicago
community organizations that saw opportunities for
community involvement and improved schooling in
this new system, and its strategies have been very
successful in creating innovative programs and real
educational improvements. The legislation gave
LSNA an opportunity to play a larger role in its
neighborhood schools, within a system that was
notorious for resisting change.
When LSNA began to organize parents in the late
1980s, most public schools in Logan Square were
composed of over 95 percent low-income and 90
percent Latino children. Middle-class professionals
of all ethnic and racial groups were still drawn to
parts of Logan Square, but in general they either
didn’t have children or didn’t utilize the public
schools. Student annual mobility rates (the
proportion of students who move in and out of a
particular school within a particular year) in Logan
Square schools ranged from 30-75% annually.
Standardized test scores were low, with the majority
of students scoring in the bottom quartiles in both
math and reading on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.
LSNA’s work in reshaping neighborhood schools to
better meet the needs of the community evolves from
its overall commitment to community organizing and
creating connections among individuals and
institutions in the neighborhood. A central theme of
LSNA's commitment to schools, as stated in the
Holistic Plan, is that "strong communities need strong
schools." Currently nine neighborhood schools
collaborate with the community through their
membership in LSNA.
LSNA’s first Parent Mentor programs and
Community Learning Centers were established in
1995, and have been expanded since. As we show in
the case study of LSNA's education organizing, these
programs have facilitated new types of social
relationships among parents and between parents and
education professionals, as well as supporting
leadership development and democratic participation
in the community. In addition, schools that are
engaged in partnerships with LSNA show steady
Research for Action
13 Ch. II: The Current Chicago Context
increases in student achievement, which are
attributed by many to the presence of parents in the
schools and classrooms.
In 1995, the state legislature partially reversed the
decentralization reform, moving toward
recentralization by providing new powers to the
Board of Education to unseat elected local school
councils. This second reform was viewed by some in
the education reform community as an attack on
working-class communities and grassroots school
reform (Lipman, 2002). In spite of these concerns,
LSNA’s work in schools—including its programs,
leadership development, and relationships with the
Board of Education, principals, and other
administrators—has continued to flourish.
Citywide Development Policies: The
Impact on Housing in Logan Square
Today, Logan Square faces a major socio-economic
transition; as the area becomes increasingly popular
with real estate development and upper-income
condominium owners, lower-income working people
experience a real threat to their ability to continue
living in the neighborhood. This trend began in the
1980s, as realtors and some neighborhood activists
began promoting Logan Square's attractive housing
stock and convenience to downtown Chicago. The
trend has intensified in the past decade, with
increasing impact in the last three to four years; as
development has increased throughout the city,
neighborhoods just to the east of Logan Square such
as Wicker Park and Bucktown became much in
demand and development began spilling over into
Logan Square.
According to many analysts, the displacement of
working class residents from Chicago's former
mixed-use and industrial neighborhoods stems
directly from urban development policies pursued
since 1973 (e.g., Rast, 1999; Squires et al., 1987;
Lipman, forthcoming). It was in 1973 that the
Commercial Club initiated its Chicago 21 Plan. This
plan, developed by Chicago's top business, financial,
philanthropic, and civic leaders, created a vision
which would transform Chicago into a 21st century
global city. The plan for growth focused on
rebuilding Chicago's Loop as a tourist and convention
center. It also included plans to convert the
surrounding ring of formerly industrial
neighborhoods to upscale residential areas. These
areas would appeal to professionals who would
provide labor for the new information economy, but
former residents of the industrial neighborhoods
would be displaced.
Since the 1980s, Chicago has been following a
national trend in changes in housing stock. With the
loss of industry and manufacturing jobs, cities have
become more polarized into wealthy and low-income
groups. Residential neighborhoods have also become
more segregated (Abu-Lughod, 1999; Castells, 1987;
Sassen, 1991). Highly paid professionals cluster in
attractive, gentrifying central cities, a trend which is
reflected in the boom in construction in downtown
Chicago over the past decade. New luxury
townhouses, spacious lofts, and condominiums are
evident in many parts of the city. On the other hand,
low-paid, casual, or part-time workers, typically
African American, Latino, or other immigrants
disperse to impoverished outlying city neighborhoods
or inner-ring suburbs. In addition to the shortage of
rental units and affordable housing, much public
housing (including that notorious symbol of
Chicago’s urban poverty, the Cabrini Green high
rises) has been torn down. Poor and working-class
families increasingly are forced to double up with
relatives or to move further and further out of the
central city.
Rental Properties in Chicago
Despite rapid home construction, 56% of Chicago
residents are renters. Unfortunately, the number of
rental units has declined in the face of a population
increase. Between 1990 and 1999, the population of
Chicago grew by close to 8% while the number of
rental units declined by more than 50,000 over than
same time period (Metropolitan Planning Council,
2001). Much of the Chicago 21's original plan has
been realized since 1973 and there is a dearth of both
rental and sale properties that are affordable to the
average Chicago resident. The Metropolitan
Planning Council reported that the region’s rental
vacancy rate currently is at 4.2%, well below the 6%
mark for what defines a tight market as set by the
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development.
Source: Local Community Fact Book, Chicago Metropolitan Area, 1990. 2000
Census of Population and Housing
Logan Square
Year Rent Housing Value
1980 $ 216 $ 30,500
1990 $ 426 $ 71, 660
2000 $ 639 $ 176,024
From the Ground Up: The Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s Approach to Building Community Capacity
Ch. II: The Current Chicago Context 14
The rental market is especially tight for low- and
moderate-income families. According to the
Metropolitan Planning Council, a family of four in
need of a three-bedroom apartment in Chicago would
have to make at least $19 per hour to afford the fair
market price.4 Based on 1999 estimates, about one-
third of Chicagoans paid more than 50 percent of
their income for rent.5
The Metropolitan Planning Council6 also reports that
there is a current deficit of 150,000 rental units for
families earning under 30% of the median income;
which is approximately $20,000 for a family of four
in Chicago. The tight rental market is forcing rents
up at a rate of twice the consumer price index and
three times the rate in some areas such as the north
side of Chicago. The lack of housing is aggravated
by the fact that the Chicago Housing Authority
Transformation Plan, initiated in 1999, has produced
a net loss of 13,000 units of public housing, forcing
more families to compete in the current rental market.
Home Ownership in Chicago and Logan Square
Times are not easy these days for prospective
homebuyers either. The Chicago Association of
Realtors7 reports that since 1996, the sales of
condominiums and townhouses have increased 58%
and the median cost is over $200,000. At current
prices, Chicago residents who earn less than $40,000
a year are automatically excluded from owning a new
home.
Within Logan Square, housing prices exceed the city
average. During the second quarter of 2001, the
median purchase price of homes sold was $241,000
for a single detached home and $209,000 for a single
family home. The median price for a single attached
(type 2) home, typically a condominium, was
$221,000. From 2000-2001, purchase prices
increased by 11% for single attached homes, 15% for
single detached homes, and 47% for condos.
Logan Square housing prices rose faster than the city
average in part because of its proximity to downtown
by expressway and public transportation. Its tree-
lined streets, parks, and small shops all combine to
attract professionals who want the urban experience
4 As of October 2001, fair market rent rates in Chicago, as calculated by the U.S.
Office of Housing and Urban Development in 2001 were: $581 for a studio, $661 for
a one bedroom, $788 for a 2 bedroom, $985 for a 3 bedroom and $1102 for a 4
bedroom
(www.metroplanning.org/objectDetail.asp?objectID=377&keyword=fair+market+rent)
5 Ibid
6 Metropolitan Planning Council. “Providing rental housing in the Chicago region:
challenges and issues.”
www.metroplanning.org/resources/90section3asp?objectID=90 2001.
7 The Chicago Association of Realtors. www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-
bin/redirect.pl?mpid-www.realtor.com/ 2001.
and are unable to afford homes in more exclusive
neighborhoods closer to Lake Michigan and the
center of Chicago.
Displacement in Logan Square and LSNA’s
Response
In a survey of over 400 Logan Square residents
conducted in 1999-2000 by LSNA as part of this
research project, 64% reported that their rents had
increased and 68% of homeowners said that their real
estate taxes had increased. Sixty-six percent said that
houses had now become too expensive for them to
buy, and almost half the people surveyed knew
someone who had to move out of the neighborhood
because of increased housing costs.
In spite of pressures from developers and other
commercial interests, LSNA feels that displacement
is not inevitable. It can be countered by policies that
balance development with the maintenance of
affordable housing.
While not anti-development, LSNA has taken a
public position through its Holistic Plan that calls for
actions “to preserve existing housing stock, increase
the number of affordable units for rental and
homeownership, preserve density, increase local
ownership of multi-unit buildings, businesses, and
homes and preserve the historic character of the
community by constructing new structures that fit
with the old.” In addition, the Holistic Plan calls for
increasing subsidies for low-income renters and
involving public housing residents in the decision-
making processes about renovations in their
buildings. The effort of LSNA to support balanced
development is a vital example of how a community
is working to access resources, create responsive
institutions, and change policy in order to maintain a
mixed-income community where working class
people are welcomed.
Research for Action
15 Ch. II: LSNA Today
* Household income is the combined total income of the householder and all other persons who reside in the
household. Family income excludes the income of non-related persons living in the household.
Source: 2000 Census of Population and Housing, Local Community Fact Book, Chicago Metropolitan, 1990. http://www.suntimes.com/census
$-
$5,000.00
$10,000.00
$15,000.00
$20,000.00
$25,000.00
$30,000.00
$35,000.00
$40,000.00
$45,000.00
Median Household and Family Income*(1979, 1989, 1999)
1979
1989
1999
1979 $25,644.00 $31,469.00 $21,858.00 $27,191.00
1989 $26,301.00 $30,707.00 $22,584.00 $23,916.00
1999 $38,625.00 $42,724.00 $36,245.00 $36,915.00
CHICAGO HSHLD.
INCOME
CHICAGO FAMILY
INCOME
LOGAN SQUARE
HSHLD. INCOME
LOGAN SQUARE
FAMILY. INCOME
0
10,000
20,000
30,000
40,000
50,000
60,000
70,000
80,000
90,000
Population Change in Logan Square by Race and Hispanic Identity
(1980, 1990, 2000)
1980
1990
2000
1980 84,768 1,988 36,971 1,400 43,836
1990 82,605 4,497 22,081 935 54,740
2000 82,715 4,999 21,742 1,155 53,833
TOTAL African Amer
(Non-Hispanic)
White
(Non-Hispanic)
Asian
(Non-Hispanic)
Hispanic
(Includes all)
NOTE: Persons of
Hispanic origin
may be of any
race. The 2000
data in this chart
for Non-Hispanic
racial categories
represent
individuals who
identified as single
race.
From the Ground Up: The Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s Approach to Building Community Capacity
Ch. II: LSNA Today 16
LSNA Today
LSNA and its Executive Director
Since 1989, LSNA has increasingly come to address
the needs and interests of low- and moderate-income
families, many of them immigrants from Latin
America, while it also works to develop relationships
that unite different segments of the community,
including public housing residents, renters,
homeowners, local businesses, churches, social
service agencies, and other local institutions.
Many LSNA leaders and partners attribute the
success of LSNA in bringing together different
constituencies to Executive Director, Nancy
Aardema's emphasis on building relationships and
her leadership style. Nancy came to LSNA in 1989
and became Executive Director a year later. During
the three years RFA conducted its research in Logan
Square, we encountered universal respect for Nancy.
One former president of LSNA, provided us with a
detailed explanation of the change in the organization
as Nancy put her imprint on LSNA.
When I got involved [in LSNA] we were more in the
business of holding government accountable and
using tactics of confrontation….I think that Nancy
has really adopted a different style, a much more
cooperative style.
When I first moved in [in the early 1980s], you
either sort of liked LSNA or you didn’t like it. And
I think we were kind of seen as kind of just an
angry bunch of rowdy radicals. But since that
time, our reputation’s changed and a lot of people
have grown to appreciate the organization.
When I first got involved there were very few
Spanish-speaking people on the board or even
involved with LSNA. And she has really cultivated
leaders from Spanish-speaking people who live in
the neighborhood and brought them into LSNA. I
wouldn’t say at the exclusion of other people, but
just to reflect their weight of the population. Just
as we diversify our activities, we’re reaching out to
more people and more people appreciate what
we’re doing.
The Development of LSNA’s Holistic Plan
After several years as director of LSNA, Nancy
initiated a process that led the community to develop
a “Holistic Plan” to guide the many new activities—
including education organizing, youth organizing,
block clubs, and innovative home ownership
programs—that had emerged in the previous few
years. Completed in 1994, the Holistic Plan
presented a positive vision of the community and
brought together the various people who had become
involved in LSNA since Aardema began working as
Executive Director. Although LSNA had been a
multi-issue organizing group since the early 1960s,
the Holistic Plan was its first comprehensive long-
term plan to rebuild Logan Square. “We decided it’s
time to envision the community we want to live in and
then build it,” said the chair of LSNA’s Holistic
Committee. “We want to build on our many
strengths, rather than just react to problems” (LSNA
press release, May 5, 1994).
As one past president told us,
It was a gradual thing. It was a process. As we
continued to get victories in different areas, we just
began to realize that we couldn't be everything at
once…So what we did was, we brought the
community together…We finally realized that we
were just running all different places at the same
time. And we needed some kind of filter.
Thirty-four local schools, churches, block clubs,
social service agencies—involving seniors and youth,
parents and pastors, teachers, residents, and
businesses—worked together for over two years in
small committees and large groups to set forth a
specific agenda for building a healthier and more
stable neighborhood. The first Holistic Plan included
eight resolutions relating to education, housing,
Research for Action
17 Ch. II: LSNA Today
safety, and jobs. Since 1994, the Holistic Plan, which
is revised annually, has functioned as a roadmap and
a unifying vision for the organization.
Each year at the annual May Congress, the newly
revised Holistic Plan is presented and ratified by the
LSNA membership. Early in the fall, the Executive
Board appoints a "Core Committee," which includes
LSNA leaders, staff, and other community members,
who begin the process of the yearly evaluation of the
Holistic Plan. At an October meeting the Core
Committee and representatives of each of LSNA's
issue committees start a process of brainstorming,
visioning, and reflection. During the winter and early
spring, issue committees continue their organizing
work, but also reflect on what is working and what
isn't, make suggestions for new strategies, and write
new resolutions. In addition, during this time, groups
of leaders may decide to present resolutions that
establish new issue committees. In March, the Core
Committee meets again, refines the resolutions, and
ensures that the organization is presenting a
consistent vision for change.
This elaborate process creates a well-defined
democratic arena in which people with different types
of skills and goals are able to participate. Parents
have an opportunity to participate in the education
committee and also dialogue with principals. Low-
income renters participate in the affordable housing
committee, the banks continue their work in a
committee known as the Reinvestment Coalition,
started a decade ago to solicit the involvement of
local banks, and all of this work is integrated through
the Core Committee.
In addition to providing a vision for the community,
the Plan enhances visibility, as LSNA interacts with
agencies, administrators, funders, and the Chicago
media. A former LSNA president, subsequently
director of the neighborhood Y, describes the value
of the Holistic Plan.
The Holistic Plan forces us to interact with each
other…And we come up with very creative
solutions and look at how we can best utilize our
resources. It also has the influence to [get] the
attention of the mayor or president of the Board of
Education. We will have their support because
they know we’re all working together. And that has
a lot of credibility with funders, too.
From the Ground Up: The Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s Approach to Building Community Capacity
Ch. II: Negotiating Different Agendas and Competing Interests 18
Negotiating Different Agendas and Competing
Interests
Despite the respect Nancy Aardema receives,
LSNA’s views are not universally supported in the
neighborhood. While LSNA's work in improving
schools and enhancing social services is widely
appreciated, its positions on housing and economic
development are contested by several of the local
aldermen, as well as by small groups of businessmen
affiliated with local politicians. In addition, we have
spoken with individual homeowners and members of
other neighborhood groups who state that LSNA's
current emphasis on the importance of affordable
housing is not in the interests of homeowners who
can benefit from rising property values. Even among
those who agree with LSNA's current campaign for
greater public control of development, there are
differences of viewpoint. For example, there is
sometimes tension between LSNA's focus on the
need for affordable housing for low-income residents
and middle-class groups who oppose development
because it would undermine the traditional aesthetics
and architecture of the neighborhood.
In spite of these differences, LSNA is widely
recognized as a strong voice for the community. One
of the skills Aardema brings as Executive Director is
her ability to listen seriously to the various concerns
of individuals and groups of people and then find
places for them to play a meaningful part within
LSNA. At the same time she has pursued a sustained
effort to encourage those members of the community
whose voices are rarely heard to assume more
prominent positions in the leadership of LSNA.
Some people who were once more vocal within
LSNA have gone elsewhere to express their views
and pursue their agendas. Not everyone in Logan
Square sees LSNA as its main voice, and those who
wish for more political advocacy have joined or
founded other organizations (e.g., Progressive Logan
Square). It is important to keep in mind that Logan
Square has a population of over 83,000 residents, so
the notion of “neighborhood” is somewhat simplistic.
There are tensions and problems associated with
representing that many people and their multiple
interests and agendas. The fact that over the past 13
years LSNA has been working to promote inclusion
and engage as many segments of the population as it
can helps the organization to adapt to changing
conditions, demographics and issues facing the
neighborhood.
In addition to 47 organizations that are currently
represented on the board of LSNA, hundreds of other
local organizations and individuals support LSNA
through grassroots fundraising efforts which
strengthen the organization financially and bolster its
legitimacy by connecting it to a web of businesses,
organizations, and individuals. The structure of the
Holistic Plan allows individuals multiple entry points
for their particular concerns and skills and opens up
extensive arenas for democratic participation in the
annual process of evaluating and revising the Plan.
Today, LSNA's membership (and its Board) consists
of individuals and organizations who advocate a
highly participatory democratic process, a change
from the pre-Aardema years when strong individuals
held major sway without necessarily representing
large numbers of other community members.
In May 1999, when RFA began its research, the
LSNA board was made up of representatives of seven
issue committees and 47 local organizations,
including churches, social service agencies, schools,
businesses, and block clubs. In addition to the
general board, which meets quarterly, an executive
board is nominated and elected every May.
Research for Action
19 Ch. II: Managing Differences within LSNA
Managing Differences within LSNA
RFA's observations indicate that because of LSNA’s
broad range of members, there are often differing
interests or opinions among LSNA members or
committees that represent different perspectives. For
example, at one Core Committee meeting, an
organizer working with the affordable rental
committee argued that the Holistic Plan should call
for required “set-asides” (a certain percentage of
affordable housing) in all new development in Logan
Square. A member of the Reinvestment Coalition,
representing banks within Logan Square, questioned
whether LSNA could establish a motivation for
developers to respect the set-aside rule. In what
could have been a tense exchange, their dialogue
instead took place with good humor and the issue was
resolved through an agreement that the Holistic Plan
was establishing shared goals for the organization,
even if all the strategies for reaching them had not
been hammered out. By the following year, the
organization had decided to support set-asides as part
of the Holistic Plan. In the following chapter on
LSNA’s work in schools, we present another
example of how LSNA dealt with differences
between members with different roles and points of
view. That example concerns the development of a
campaign, initiated by parents, to encourage teachers
to treat children with greater respect.
Working-Class Leadership
Working-class community members, especially
women, talk often about being supported and
encouraged to take on active leadership roles. The
first president elected after Aardema became director
of LSNA explained to us that as a working-class
woman who felt she had never been listened to
before, she appreciated the newfound power she
experienced from being encouraged to become
president of the organization.
I was afraid to do it, but Nancy encouraged me.
She coached me, she helped me figure out what was
going to happen at the meetings, and finally I
learned that I could do it on my own.
Throughout the three-year period of our research, we
have seen this dynamic repeated as new leaders and
officers of LSNA emerge. When RFA first began its
research, many of LSNA's strongest leaders had
taken staff positions in the LSNA school-based
programs, and the organizers expressed some concern
about whether the organization would be able to
continue to recruit the officers it needed to lead the
organization. However, the leadership group has
continued to regenerate itself. The new leadership
group is diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, gender,
and class. A majority of new officers each year are
low-to-moderate income Latinas, many of whom first
become involved with LSNA through its school-
based programs. At the time of publication, the
leadership group expanded to include three Latino
men.8
RFA has not been able to determine the socio-
economic background of all board members, but an
analysis of those whom we met during our first year
of research indicated an interesting mix of social and
economic backgrounds and suggested the richness of
the social network that LSNA has created. In 1999,
three LSNA board members were Latino or African
American parents without extensive formal
education. Another was a Latina parent who became
a professional organizer after her experience with
LSNA. Three other board members (two white and
one Latino) were professionals who worked in local
institutions and who also lived in Logan Square.
Finally three board members (two white and one
Latino) whom we met were professionals who live in
the neighborhood, but work elsewhere.
The executive board at the time we began our
research in 1999 consisted of two Latina women, two
Latino men, one white man, and one African
American man. Of these, one woman opened up a
home daycare center through LSNA's small business
incubator, two officers had gotten involved through
their work as parents and community members in
LSNA schools, one officer was an employee at an
LSNA school, one was a high school student, one
was a compliance officer at a local bank and another
one was the operations manager for a local high
school. Since the first year of RFA's research, LSNA
has successfully recruited new board members and
officers, continuing to draw on many different sectors
of the Logan Square community.
8 The staff, like the Board and the officers, reflect the predominantly Latino make-up
of Logan Square. The Executive Director and several of the full-time organizers are
white (although Spanish speaking) but virtually all of the approximately 15 person
office-based staff members are Latino.
From the Ground Up: The Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s Approach to Building Community Capacity
Ch. II: Contributions to the Study of Community Capacity Building 20
Contributions to the Study of Community Capacity
Building
While Logan Square may not be a "typical" low-
income community because of the economic
diversity it encompasses, an analysis of the strengths
and challenges of LSNA's capacity building efforts in
Logan Square provides valuable insights that can
inform capacity building efforts in other low-income
neighborhoods.
By using four lenses to look at LSNA's approach—
relationship building, leadership development,
democratic participation, and building power and
changing policy—RFA aims to elucidate the features
of LSNA's work which contribute to an under-
standing of how to develop the capacity of low-
income and under-served communities.
Hess (Hess, 1999) has provided a useful analysis of
community-capacity building which identifies three
major types of practices. These three types are:
community organizing, which focuses on political
mobilization; community building, which focuses on
developing a vision and identifying resources within
the community; and community development, which
focuses on providing the technical expertise
necessary to mediate between community needs and
outside funders. A corollary of this analysis is that
communities must both look inward at their strengths
(as advocated by Kretzmann and McKnight, 1993)
and look outward in order to access resources and
challenge problematic policies and power dynamics.
The four lenses of relationship building, leadership
development, democratic participation, building
power and changing policy provide a way of looking
at LSNA’s work that captures the complexity of the
process of building community capacity. In addition,
the four lenses that we have identified help us look at
the endeavor of building community capacity as a
way of building on existing social and organizational
strengths in order to create new forms of social action
and community involvement
Research for Action
21 Ch. III: Introduction
LSNA—BUILDING COMMUNITY CAPACITY
THROUGH SCHOOL/COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS
Introduction
I arrive with the LSNA education organizer to
interview the outreach team about the new
community survey they are doing for Monroe
School Community Learning Center. Six Latinas
are sitting in the school's teachers’ lounge. The
organizer told me that the mothers had taken it
upon themselves to move into the teachers’ lounge,
which she perceived as their sense of ownership of
the school. When I arrive, each woman has an
orange folder in front of her, and they’re looking
intently at maps that are blocked off with colored
markers to show the different parts of the neighbor-
hood. They’re engaged in animated discussion
about who should go where.
We start the focus group, and they agree that
everyone on the outreach committee participated in
the Community Learning Center last year.
Margarita9 works in the Center. Marisol is on the
student council for the Center. Everyone has taken
GED or English classes. Someone else jokes,
“This is the organization of the Monroe School."
Three of the women were parent mentors. Latitia
helped recruit parents to run in the most recent
Local School Council election and is also the
president of the bilingual committee. (RFA
researcher's fieldnotes, fall 2000)
As this vignette suggests, parents in Logan Square
demonstrate a sense of engagement and ownership
unusual in urban schools. In this chapter, we begin
with an overview of LSNA's approach to school/com-
munity collaboration, provide an analysis of how this
collaboration developed, and then discuss LSNA's
work in schools through the four lenses of relation-
ship building, leadership development, democratic
participation and building power and changing policy.
LSNA's close collaboration with local schools began
in the early 1990s when LSNA’s Education Commit-
tee spearheaded a community effort to end school
overcrowding. For years, before LSNA's involve-
ment, individual schools in Logan Square had been
negotiating with the Chicago Board of Education to
end severe overcrowding. During the early 1990s,
9 To preserve confidentiality, people’s real names are not used in this report. An
exception is where we are quoting directly from other public documents.
LSNA played a crucial role in bringing together
schools from across the neighborhood to address this
common problem. Local School Councils and prin-
cipals signed on to this campaign, joining the LSNA
Education Committee, and schools became members
of LSNA. With this campaign, LSNA shifted its
strategy from organizing only parents to forming a
coalition that also included school staff. Over several
years, the campaign resulted in five new annexes and
two new middle schools. Just as importantly, the
campaign both demonstrated LSNA's power as a
community organization and built a foundation of
mutual trust and respect among the principals,
teachers, parent leaders, and LSNA staff who had
been involved in the campaign and witnessed the
results. The campaign also established a basic vision
for LSNA’s education work.
Joanna Brown, who organized the campaign for the
annexes, notes:
By the end of the overcrowding campaign, the
entire coalition—principals, parents, and
teachers—were speaking with one voice on the
need, not only to build the annexes, but to use them
in the evening as community centers to serve
neighborhood needs. This was a fairly radical
demand, as virtually all Chicago public schools up
to that point closed their doors by 4 p.m. The
coalition also began to talk about how to involve
parents more fully in the schools.
Since then, LSNA has deepened and built on this
collaboration as it has worked to make the schools
centers of community. Two principals, Sally Acker
of Funston School and James Menconi of Monroe
School, worked with parent leaders and others to
write LSNA’s first Holistic Plan in 1994, with its
three education resolutions: 1) make schools centers
of community life through Community Learning
Centers, 2) develop school/community partnerships
with parents as leaders, and 3) develop the Parent
Teacher Mentor Program to help parents develop
their skills, assist teachers, and build strong
relationships in the community.
I
II
From the Ground Up: The Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s Approach to Building Community Capacity
Ch. III: Introduction 22
LSNA Member Organizations
and Committees
LSNA
2001
Staff
18 Organizers
and
Administrative
Staff
Core
Committee
Leaders
Principals
Pastors
Reps. from
other agencies
Issue
Committees
Affordable Rental
Housing
Community
Needs Council
Education
Housing and Land
use
Immigration
Incubator
Without Walls
Reinvestment
Safety
LSNA Officers:
Representatives
of:
First Spanish
United Church
Funston School
Darwin School
Kelvyn Park High
School
Liberty Bank
Monroe School
2
Community
Banks
9 Public
Schools
11
Churches
5 Apartment
Complexes
10 Block
Clubs
11 Social
Services and
Other
Or
anization
Research for Action
23 Ch. III: Introduction
LSNA
2001
2
Community
Banks
9 Public
Schools
11
Churches
5
Apartment
Complexes
10 Block
Clubs
11 Social
Services and
other
Organizations
Kiwanis
Club
Local
health care
p
roviders Local
Businesses
Association
of Logan
Square
Or
anization
Parochial
Schools Hispanic
Housing
Logan Square
Preservation
Society
14th
Police
District
Progressive
Logan
Square
3 Local
Alderme
Other
business
association
Lathrop
Homes
LSNA’s Web of Neighborhood
Relations
Shows organizational membership in LSNA
Show other relationships
From the Ground Up: The Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s Approach to Building Community Capacity
Ch. III: Introduction 24
Today, LSNA runs Community Learning Centers in
six schools, with 1,400 families participating in
classes weekly. LSNA runs parent mentor programs
in seven schools, and more than 900 parents (mostly
mothers) have graduated from the program since it
began in 1995. Both of these programs are run in a
complex partnership with the schools. These
programs involve shared financial and administrative
management and shared space, all of which are
negotiated school by school. In Joanna's words,
"These collaborations are built on trust, but, fraught
as they are with potential conflicts, require constant
care and feeding." The collaborations are also
supported by the fact that LSNA is the lead
fundraiser, putting an average of $100,000 to
$125,000 into each school yearly, mostly in the form
of stipends and salaries to parents and other
neighborhood residents working in the schools.
With these programs, LSNA has increased the quality
of programming and services available to children
and families in Logan Square. These programs
impact the educational experience and achievement
of Logan Square children and bring significant
financial resources into the schools and the
neighborhood. The partnership between LSNA and
the schools has extended broadly into partnerships
between schools and the community, evidenced by
collaborations which range from local banks' home-
ownership programs for teachers in Logan Square
schools to intergenerational projects between Logan
Square middle schools and nearby senior centers.
In 2000, LSNA was selected from 187 Chicago-area
organizations as winner of the Chicago Community
Trust’s Award of Excellence for Outstanding
Community Service. LSNA’s vision of its
accomplishments was articulated in its successful
nomination proposal:
People in Logan Square—parents, principals,
teachers, students, neighbors—think differently
about education today than they did a decade ago.
Parents are welcome in the schools; they are seen
as essential to education, not only in their homes,
but also in the classrooms. Schools no longer are
seen as isolated and gated institutions but as
centers of their mini-communities. The chasm
between school and home is bridged, as children
see their mother and her friends working and
studying in the school. The community is seen as a
resource for education. Logan Square
Neighborhood Association has been an essential
and welcomed partner in forging this collaborative.
Since 1996, all LSNA elementary schools have
experienced significant increases in student achieve-
ment, even while the demographics have remained
constant. For example, from 1996 to 2001, the
percentage of students at one school reading at or
above the national norm on the yearly Iowa Test of
Basic Skills rose from 17.5% to 29.3%. In math, the
percentage rose from 19.5% to 31.4%. Even more
telling are the dramatic shifts in student scores from
the lowest to second lowest quartiles. This is note-
worthy because parent mentors usually work with the
students who are most behind. Other LSNA schools
showed similar increases over the same time period.
These increases in test scores compare favorably with
citywide averages, especially taking into account the
relatively higher rate of poverty and higher numbers
of non-English speaking students in Logan Square
schools.10
Principal interviews and parent interviews and focus
groups attribute a significant portion of these gains to
the regular presence of parents in classrooms through
LSNA's Parent Teacher Mentor Program. Teachers,
parents, and principals articulate the belief that parent
mentors play an important role in improving the
climate for learning in classrooms by giving help to
individuals and small groups, keeping students on
task, and developing close relationships with students.
One major impact of the Parent Teacher Mentor
Program is that it lowers the student/teacher ratio and
gives individual help to some of the children most in
need. The following comments, which are typical of
those that we heard from teachers and parents,
illustrate why the parent mentor program appears to be
impacting student achievement, especially for those at
the lowest achievement levels.
My parent mentor takes my kids who would be the
lowest readers out. Works with them one-on-one
(teacher)
We all can use an extra set of hands… [Now] these
kids get the help they need (teacher)
The teachers notice how well the students are
making progress because they're interested, and I
keep the students' interest going (parent).
10 An analysis conducted by RFA in May 2001 of test score data (available from the
Chicago Public Schools website) showed that 7 elementary schools affiliated with the
Logan Square Neighborhood Association had an average increase in students scoring
above the bottom quartile in reading on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills that was greater
than the citywide average between 1991 and 2000. In Logan Square, the percent of
students in the top three national quartiles increased from 41% to 65%. Citywide, the
percent of students scoring in the top three quartiles nationally started higher, at 51%,
but increased only 20 points to 71%. The average percent of low-income students in
the seven Logan Square schools was 93% in comparison to a district-wide average of
84% low-income. The percent of students with limited English proficiency in Logan
Square was 31% in comparison to 16% district-wide.
Research for Action
25 Ch. III: The Interdependence of Schools and Communities
The Interdependence of Schools and Communities
LSNA has been very active in [making schools] a
center of community, not just a place where kids
and a group of professionals descend…It is not just
a place where you can depend on kids to receive an
education, but also the place where you participate
in the governance and deciding what goes on there
and building it up and helping it grow. (Logan
Square minister, spring 2000)
When I came into the school for the first time, it
was important for me to understand what was
happening, but I was one of those people who were
very timid. After three or four years, I got more
involved. I don't understand it all yet, but I know
the importance of getting involved. I'm new here,
but I'm happy to be part of the Local School
Council and president of one of the school
committees. (Parent Leader, fall 2000)
Parents, teachers, principals, and community
members helped to make education one of the major
issues in LSNA's first Holistic Plan, which was
written in 1995. Working for two years, these
different constituencies built on relationships they
had developed in the campaign against overcrowding
and wrote three education resolutions, which focused
on the interdependence of the schools and the
community. In its first Holistic Plan,11 LSNA
resolved to:
1. Develop schools as community centers because
“the health of any community is dependent on
the availability of common space for interaction,
education, service provision, recreation, culture
and arts."
2. Train parents to work in the classrooms of LSNA
schools because “children learn better when their
parents are actively involved in their education.”
3. Support community controlled education
because the “health of any community is
dependent on the quality of education provided
to its residents.”
This resolution included support for training for LSC
members and a program developed by local banks
and LSNA to help Logan Square teachers buy homes
in the neighborhood.
Following the adoption of the first Holistic Plan,
LSNA received foundation funding to pilot the first
Parent Teacher Mentor Program. Local School
Council members and other parents worked with
LSNA to bring the Parent Teacher Mentor Program
into their schools and then to keep their schools open
11 This information is based on a press release for the 32nd Annual Congress, May
1994.
after regular school hours for Community Learning
Centers. In addition to working directly with parents,
LSNA has continued to involve principals and
teachers in LSNA activities such as quarterly
principal meetings, the neighborhood-wide Education
Committee, and the LSNA Core Committee.
LSNA’s recognition of the interconnections between
school and community and the importance of
school/community collaboration is well illustrated by
its two largest programs. Partnering with the Funston
School and a technical assistance consultant
(Community Organizing for Family Issues), LSNA
developed a program with far-reaching effects—the
Parent Teacher Mentor Program, which pays parents
a small stipend to attend leadership training and then
participate in a minimum of 100 hours of training as
they work with children in classrooms. As parent
mentors, mothers (and occasionally fathers) increase
their understanding of the current culture and
expectations of the schools. They take on new roles
such as tutoring, reading to children, or coordinating
literacy programs. They also learn that the skills
honed by “just” being a good parent translate into
leadership skills in the larger community.
LSNA’s Community Learning Centers are another
major example of school/community collaboration in
Logan Square. LSNA and the schools had agreed
that the new school annexes would be open for
community activities. The first Community Learning
Center was created by the first group of graduates
from Funston's pilot Parent Teacher Mentor Program.
The women developed a community survey and
began knocking on doors to find out what the
neighborhood wanted in a community center. They
then advocated with citywide providers to get the
desired programs. Since then, Funston's Community
Learning Center and five others, which collectively
serve over 1,400 children and adults a week, continue
to be guided by the vision and energy of
neighborhood residents.
From the Ground Up: The Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s Approach to Building Community Capacity
Ch. III: Using the Four Lenses 26
Using the Four Lenses
Looking at LSNA’s work through the four lenses of
relationship building, leadership development,
democratic participation, and building power and
changing policy helps us to understand how LSNA
has been able to use and maintain community power
to create strong, respectful partnerships between the
schools and the community. Because LSNA parents,
principals, and teachers are all members of a
powerful community organization, the campaigns
and programs they create are based on
parent/professional relationships that are different
from those traditionally found in urban schools.
This chapter begins with an examination of LSNA's
education work through the lens of building power
and changing policy. We begin with this lens for a
particular reason. Fundamentally it is because LSNA
had a well-developed approach in this area when
RFA arrived in 1999 to begin field work. LSNA's
power in the arena of education comes from its
strength in sustaining campaigns over time and
drawing political attention to its education agenda.
LSNA's successful campaign to alleviate school
overcrowding, which involved gaining political
recognition and winning new buildings for
neighborhood schools, is one illustration of its power.
LSNA's power in the realm of education continues to
build as LSNA leaders and members take active roles
in their Local School Councils, create school-based
programs that are controlled by the community, and
successfully advocate for city, state, and national
funding for these programs. Within the organization,
LSNA's support for grassroots leaders and
democratic structures help parents and community
members articulate their concerns about schools to
principals and teachers.
Second, the report examines LSNA’s education work
through the lens of relationship building. LSNA has
worked hard to successfully build relationships
among parents, between parents and teachers, among
principals, and between schools and other organiza-
tions in the neighborhood. In addition, LSNA plays a
critical role by building relationships which connect
Logan Square schools to funders and other
organizations outside the neighborhood and city.
The chapter looks next at LSNA through the lens of
leadership development. In this section, we discuss
the leadership opportunities created by the education
organizing work of LSNA and the ways in which
LSNA identifies and trains parents and community
members to take on leadership roles. We end by
using the lens of democratic participation to explore
democratic processes in LSNA’s education work,
both in the schools and in the internal processes of
LSNA.
Building Power and Changing Policy
Community power is critical to LSNA’s ability to
enter into school/community collaborations as a
partner, based on relationships of trust and mutual
respect. Sustained campaigns and public recognition
of LSNA’s education work are both evidence of
LSNA's power as a community organization.
Sustained Campaigns
After years of meetings with the Board of
Education, they finally bought the old Ames
property for a new middle school. But that wasn't
the end of it. One morning, we got a phone call
from one of our leaders saying that the Board of Ed
was closing a deal on the sale of the property to a
private developer that afternoon. Immediately, the
Education Committee and the parent mentors were
on the phone to the parents who had been working
on the campaign. Two hours later, hundreds of
community people were picketing. Later that day,
we found out that they had cancelled the deal.
Finally, in 1997, after six years of organizing,
ground was broken for the Ames Middle School.
(Narrative told to RFA researcher by a group of
LSNA leaders, May 1999)
LSNA's ability to sustain campaigns over time is one
important measure of a strong community base,
which contributes to effective school/community
collaborations. LSNA's campaign against
overcrowding began in the early 1990s and continued
for over five years. During our fieldwork, RFA heard
many stories of the abysmal conditions in Logan
Square schools during those years: 45 children in a
classroom; classes meeting in the nurse's office or on
the stage and auditorium floor; art and music classes
cancelled because the space was needed for regular
classroom instruction. During the first phase of the
campaign against overcrowding, parents from three
elementary schools proved that they could work
together to identify a mutually acceptable location for
a new middle school.
The first victory spurred parents from five elementary
schools to work with LSNA and push for additional
space. Together, parents from these schools spent
another year and a half preparing to appeal to the
Board of Education. They developed a multi-step
campaign that began with meeting individually with
members of the Board of Education to educate them
Research for Action
27 Ch. III: Using the Four Lenses
about the need for new schools. At these meetings,
LSNA parents convinced each member of the Board
of Education to commit him or herself to supporting
new facilities for Logan Square schools. A later step
of the campaign was to bring hundreds of Logan
Square parents to a Board of Education meeting
where the individual members of the Board of
Education were asked to publicly affirm the
commitments that they had previously made
privately. The ability to develop strategies for
sustained, multi-step campaigns is an essential
element of building power for community groups.
A parent, LSC chair, and former president of LSNA
explained how LSNA parents were able to win new
buildings for their neighborhood:
There were many meetings with parents to prepare
for going down to the Board of Education. What
was funny was that no one would commit in a large
group. But we went around and got individual
commitments. We had many, many meetings. It
was a year and a half of meetings. And then we
finally all came together in one big room. You
could feel the tension in the room. And once we
started the meeting it was like, “Well, you know, so
and so, you said that if so and so supported it, you
will support it," and we would call on the names,
“Well, are you here in support?” It was
empowering because you finally beat this huge
Board of Ed.
After the additions were completed, LSNA began
another round of organizing, this time to win
construction of the new Ames Middle School and
then a role in the selection of its principal. In the
words of community organizers, they "gained a seat
at the table" for principal selection. Although LSCs
have the right and the obligation to hire the principal
for an existing school, the CEO of the Chicago Public
Schools, Paul Vallas, had insisted on choosing the
principal for the new middle school. To convince
Vallas of the value of community input, parent
mentors and LSC members from two of Ames feeder
schools, Mozart and Funston, visited his office to
share with him the important work that LSNA was
doing in the Logan Square schools. A few days later,
Paul Vallas came to Logan Square for a meeting
about LSNA’s school-based Community Learning
Centers.
According to LSNA's Executive Director,
If you don’t have power, you’re not going to have a
meeting with Paul Vallas. We told him he needed
to come to the neighborhood and get a sense of
how parents, teachers, principals, and pastors were
working together. He was trying to change the
standards for the Chicago Public Schools then, and
LSNA's president at the time told him, “We need
you, but you also need us.” He needed the parents;
he needed the principals; he needed the teachers.
He got the point. At the end of the meeting, Vallas
came and said, “We want to see your top education
leaders.” That was when he said we could form
the committee for the principal selection.
A committee made up of local principals and LSC
members selected as principal a local bilingual
education coordinator who had been a leader in the
fight against overcrowding, had helped to organize
the first Parent Mentor program, was at that time
LSNA's vice president, and had expressed a strong
commitment to making Ames "a community-centered
school.” Vallas accepted the selection.
These examples show that LSNA has strong
community leaders who can sustain campaigns over
the time it takes to develop power and “gain a seat at
the table.” The fact that LSNA was able to exert
such an influence on Chicago Public Schools’ policy-
makers won appreciation of LSNA’s power, and
enabled LSNA to enter into school/community
collaborations as a respected partner.
In the spring of 2000, LSNA's Education Committee,
composed of parent representatives from each of its
member schools, began to discuss an issue which
they termed "respect for children." After years of
classroom-based collaboration between parents and
teachers, parent mentors began to act on their concern
that too many Logan Square teachers were using
negative, rather than positive, approaches to
discipline. During the fall of 2000, parents on the
Committee met individually with several principals.
They also asked to meet as a group with the LSNA
principals to discuss the issue, although they were
nervous and cautious because they felt the issue was
sensitive. As one of the Committee members
explained,
We are trying to do something about the respect of
teachers for children, and on both sides. We don't
want to pick out certain teachers. We don't want to
get into arguments. We simply want to say that this
is a serious problem.
Public Recognition of LSNA's Agenda
LSNA has received much public recognition for its
education work from political leaders, funders, and
the media. Evidence of LSNA's political recognition
in the arena of education includes:
1. LSNA's ongoing relationships with city and state
politicians, school district administrators, and
national congressmen. Politicians and
administrators such as Paul Vallas (former CEO
of Chicago Public Schools), State Senator
From the Ground Up: The Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s Approach to Building Community Capacity
Ch. III: Using the Four Lenses 28
Miguel del Valle, and many aldermen have met
over the years with LSNA leaders and have
supported policies to open up public schools to
community groups. LSNA's positive
relationship with the top administration of
Chicago Public Schools is continuing with the
current CEO, Arne Duncan, who has made
Community Learning Centers one of his
priorities and speaks of LSNA as a model.
Despite ongoing differences with local aldermen
in other issue areas such as housing, these
aldermen promote LSNA's work with schools
and attend LSNA’s public events about public
education.
2. LSNA's campaign for state funding for
community centers in schools. In the spring of
1999, LSNA's two state senators, Miguel del
Valle and Lisa Madigan, and state representative
William Delgado publicly recognized the work
of LSNA and used it as a model for a bill to
provide statewide funding for after-school
programs for children and families. LSNA
mobilized community members, school leaders,
and Community Learning Center students for a
letter-writing campaign and testimony before the
State Legislature. Although the Senate Rules
Committee killed the bill, LSNA did succeed in
receiving state money to provide partial funding
for its Community Learning Centers for a year.
3. An LSNA leader was invited to testify before
then-President Clinton and Vice President Gore
about the value of after-school programming.
Subsequently, the Federal government has
recognized LSNA's approach to
school/community collaboration by awarding a
three-year (2001-2004) 21st Century grant to
fund the Community Learning Centers.
Other examples of public recognition during the
period of this research include the Chicago
Community Trust's 2001 James Brown Award for
Outstanding Community Service to LSNA, extensive
radio and television coverage of LSNA's Parent
Teacher Mentor Program, and LSNA's hosting a site
visit from a national consortium of education funders.
Funding is also evidence of public respect for
LSNA's ability to create school/community
partnerships. LSNA's education organizing and
school-based programs are funded through many
sources, including: the John T. and Catherine D. John
D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; the
Chicago Board of Education; the Chicago
Department of Human Services; the Chicago
Annenberg Challenge (a major school reform
initiative that supported LSNA as an external partner
to five Logan Square schools); the Polk Brothers
Foundation and several other smaller Chicago
foundations; the Illinois State Board of Education;
the Illinois Department of Commerce and
Community Affairs; the Illinois Community College
Board; and the U.S. Department of Education’s 21st
Century and Title VII career ladder grant. These
multiple sources of funding enhance LSNA’s power
within school/community collaborations.
LSNA’s sustained campaigns, successful programs,
and the public recognition granted its work in schools
have all contributed to building power for LSNA in
the sphere of education. This power has made
possible LSNA’s collaborative partnerships with the
schools and motivated school personnel to become
active members of LSNA and the Logan Square
community.
Building Relationships
LSNA serves its goal of linking schools and
communities by developing webs of relationships
among parents, between parents and school staff,
among schools, between school staff and LSNA, and
among schools and other institutions in the
community.
Creating Schools as Centers of Community
(an excerpt from “The Whisper of Revolution: Logan
Square Schools as Centers of Change”)
School leaders were among the creators of LSNA's first Holistic
Plan.
"One of the things we really wanted to encourage was
more parent involvement in the schools,"
explained Rita Riveron,
LSC president at Mozart school.
There were always the same four or five of us volunteering
for everything. We felt that to really improve the school
we were going to need to get other parents involved. So
increased parent involvement was one of the resolutions of
LSNA's Holistic Plan and we set about finding ways to
achieve this.
Another resolution of the Holistic Plan came from LSNA's and the
school's fight for the school annexes. In a neighborhood with
very few public spaces, it seemed a crime that the schools sat
empty 75% of the time. So when the annexes were built, it
was with the idea that they would become community centers
outside of regular school hours. This idea was also incorporated
into the Holistic Plan and was met so enthusiastically that even
schools that didn't have the new annexes, such as Brentano,
were on board for creating new community centers.
Research for Action
29 Ch. III: Using the Four Lenses
In the spring of 1995, in cooperation with COFI (Community
Organizing Around Family Issues), LSNA trained the first forty
parents as mentors at Mozart and Funston Elementary Schools in
preparation for working in classrooms with the students. During
the training, parents were asked to think of themselves as
leaders and to set personal and school/community goals. This
first group had a very hard time even thinking of goals for
themselves. As Maria Montesinos, a Mozart parent said,
I am not used to thinking of myself. Others, yes, but not
myself. But the training and follow-up we had was good. It
really forced us to think about ourselves, why thinking of
goals for ourselves helps other people."
Many of the parent mentors had set personal goals around
obtaining their GEDs or learning English. However, they were
finding it very difficult to achieve their goals. Places that
offered GED classes were too far to walk to or entailed
complicated public transportation routes; childcare wasn't offered,
or was an additional charge, or had a mile-long waiting list. A
group of seven Funston parent mentors dreamed of having adult
education classes right in their school, with convenient hours and
free childcare. The Logan Square Neighborhood Association was
right there with them. Coming from a community organizing
rather than a social service perspective, they realized that in
order to create a successful community center with programs
that people really wanted to attend, they had to find out what
people in the neighborhood really wanted. They began knocking
on people's doors. They talked to people about their goals,
their needs, and their obstacles. They learned a lot about the
neighborhood and the people who shaped it.
"It was a life-
changing experience for me,"
says Funston parent and
community center coordinator Ada Ayala.
I thought I had a lot of problems! But I talked to people
who have so many more problems and needs than I do. This
experience motivated me to learn more, to achieve my goals,
and in doing so enabled me to help others better. I wanted
to be able to tell them, 'yes, there is help for you.'
Ayala and the other parents were true to their goals. After
talking to about 700 people in the neighborhood and in the
school, they set out to find free programs that would address
the top priorities named in the survey: GED classes in English
and Spanish, English as a Second Language classes, and
affordable childcare. Another concern that was brought out in
the interviews and surveys was the need for security in and
around the building so people would feel secure going there at
night. The group had a shoestring budget for security and
childcare but did not have money for classes. They negotiated
with Malcolm X College for over six months and finally managed
to bring in the classes for free.
Since the success of the Funston Community Center, LSNA has
worked with three other schools (Brentano, Monroe, and Mozart)
to open Community Learning Centers using the same model of
parent mentor graduates going out into the community, doing
surveys and interviews and forming a set of priority programs
based on the interview findings. As each new center opens, it
becomes part of a network that helps the Center tackle issues
that go beyond one single community center, like funding.
This narrative is excerpted from "The Whisper of Revolution:
Logan Square Schools as Centers of Change" and was written
by Susan Adler Yanun (PRAGmatics, Fall 1999, pp.7-10). Since
the article was completed, the Ames Middle School has built on
the model of the other centers to develop a curriculum project
in which parent mentors worked with students and teachers to
develop, implement, and analyze a community survey. This
project led to the opening of the Ames Community Learning
Center in September 2001. At the Schneider School, parent
mentors and community members developed a center which
opened in January 2002.
The importance of building relationships is especially
evident as parents begin to develop trusting
relationships with each other and with school staff.
These relationships lead to increased parent
engagement in the life of schools, which often leads
to involvement with other community issues through
participation in LSNA. Trust is also evident in the
relationships that school principals in Logan Square
have developed with LSNA and with each other
through LSNA's principals group meetings. In this
section, we begin by looking at new relationships of
trust developed among community members as they
become involved with the Parent Teacher Mentor
Program and the Community Learning Centers. We
then look at enhanced levels of communication
between parents and teachers. We conclude by
looking at new networks that link LSNA schools to
each other and to other organizations in the
neighborhood and city.
Building on the relationships developed during the
campaign against overcrowding, LSNA organizers
have also continued to bring LSNA principals
together for quarterly meetings. These meetings
provide an unusual opportunity for principals to share
problems and strategies with each other, as well as
providing a forum for developing new initiatives.
According to one principal, "There's a level of trust
that we can be honest. …We realize we're all in the
same boat." Another explains,
We talk about what was successful, what wasn’t
successful from a previous year. And then maybe
we talk about some new ideas, some new initiatives
that are coming out.…We didn’t do this before
LSNA got us together.
This group provides an opportunity for principals to
collaborate on implementing their schools' Parent
From the Ground Up: The Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s Approach to Building Community Capacity
Ch. III: Using the Four Lenses 30
Teacher Mentor Programs and Community Learning
Centers.
One initiative endorsed by the principals' group is a
yearly neighborhood-wide reading celebration, which
serves as a year-end culmination to the Links to
Literacy campaigns used in the schools. Links to
Literacy encourages students across all the LSNA
schools to read more and LSNA has brought together
the Links’ coordinators from 12 schools and the local
library to exchange ideas and plan a joint outdoor
celebration as a reward for the best 600 readers.
Students in the participating schools read more than
150,000 books last year.
In addition to valuing the partnership among schools
that is promoted by LSNA, principals also value the
support of LSNA itself. As one principal told us,
It was absolutely mandatory that they were there
for us because we could not possibly have done
[these programs] on our own.…Having someone
who functions outside the system actually helps
bring resources.
As the schools became more involved with LSNA
through developing the Holistic Plan, developing new
school/community programs, and participating in
other LSNA organizational activities, other
community institutions also became interested in
supporting the schools. One major connection has
been with community banks, which decided that they
wanted to identify a way that their programs could
also enhance the Logan Square schools. Out of this,
a special homeownership program for teachers was
developed, which facilitated homeownership in
Logan Square for teachers in the schools. Pastors
also supported the schools through wo