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In Memory of Cook County Commissioner Robert B. Steele (June 29, 1962 – June 19, 2017)

Two years ago at NLEN’s Sweet Beginnings Tea our beloved friend Commissioner Steele was honored with Creating a Community That Works award. Mr. Steele LOVED North Lawndale and public service and took great pride in being a voice and servant leader to our community. He had a heart and passion for our work at NLEN and would spend his entire day with us, giving out Thanksgiving turkeys, or speaking at our milestone graduations and always making silly jokes, just to light up people who may have been down on their luck and see someone smile. He really loved Sweet Beginnings, and secured our Salt Creek Sweet Beginnings apiary with the county, promoted our beelove® honey everywhere he traveled and each year for the past 4 years. This past Tea, he insisted Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle attend the Sweet Beginnings Tea with him, and she did! Every commissioner understood how proud he was of North Lawndale.  Mr. Steele surely will be missed and never be forgotten for his tireless compassionate devotion for the communities he served.  

  Here is the official statement from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle:”

NLEN Participating in CFED Racial Wealth Divide Initiative

North Lawndale Employment Network has been invited to participate in the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) Racial Wealth Divide Initiative to build High Impact Nonprofits of Color.

This multi-city initiative, in partnership with Georgetown University’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership and funded with support of JPMorgan Chase Foundation, will provide local organizations of color with the training and support needed to increase capacity and strengthen community asset-building. It has also produced reports and information on the local impacts of hte racial wealth gap. Click here to view the report on the racial wealth gap in Chicago.

NLEN's Program Vision Board for CFED

View NLEN’s CFED Vision Board

The goals of the Building High Impact Nonprofits of Color Initiative are to:

  • assist in developing high-impact nonprofit organizations of color focused on advancing economic opportunity;
  • build an understanding of the intersection of income, assets and the racial wealth divide;
  • establish networks across sectors to have lasting local influence and advance social change;
  • improve relationships between organizations of color, local organizations and asset-building institutions; and,
  • equip organizations of color to participate and become a leading voice in local and national asset-building conversations.

NLEN Awarded $50,000 NBCUniversal Foundation Grant

NBCUniversal Announces 2016 21st Century Solutions Winners

November 21, 2016

Encouraging creativity and the drive to invent the future are ingrained in our culture. We are proud to support organizations that are pursuing new ideas to help build stronger communities.  For a fifth consecutive year, the NBCUniversal Foundation will spotlight and invest in non-profit organizations that are challenging conventional thinking by implementing innovative programs to address some of our nation’s greatest challenges within the areas of media, technology for good, civic engagement, jobs and economic empowerment, education and environment.

This year, in partnership with NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, the NBCUniversal Foundation’s annual grant program, 21st Century Solutions, will award $1.2 million dollars to 30 non-profit organizations located in 10 of our NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations markets to help them implement new and innovative programs.

Organizations that are using technology to help youth build their skills in digital journalism, are fostering entrepreneurship abilities and the pursuit of advanced careers among young students through the use of STEM principles (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), and are helping individuals with disabilities navigate the working and social world through the use of technology, are some of the examples of how this year’s 21st Century Solutions grant winners are helping to move their local communities forward.

The NBCUniversal Foundation looks forward to supporting this year’s winners through the 21st Century Solutions grant program as each organization continues to find creative and impactful ways to make a difference in our communities. You can read more about the winning organizations below.

Grand Prize Winners

NBC 4 New York / Telemundo 47 New York

In New York The Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation will receive $100,000 for their Farm to Early Care Program. The Farm to Early Care program works with early care centers to swap out frozen and processed produce with fresh fruits and vegetables from upstate farmers so that preschoolers across Brooklyn can eat regionally sourced, fresh produce. The Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation is tackling chronic health disparities and inequities in food access impacting low income and communities of color by driving community-level change that not only increases access to healthy foods through farm to institutional sourcing and farmers markets, but educates residents, increases environmental awareness, and renews their connection to the land and cultural traditions.

NBC4 Southern California / Telemundo 52 Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, GlobalGirl Media will receive $100,000 for their Global Girl Media Academy (GGMA) that will train young, diverse women in digital media journalism. The Academy will help girls develop story ideas, write and edit blogs, do research on their chosen topics, work together in teams, and learn digital camera, sound and editing. GGMA will focus on projects/videos through a gender lens, including: education and careers, poverty and social justice, violence against women and dating violence, sexual and reproductive health, health and wellness, financial literacy, the environment, girls and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).

NBC 5 Chicago / Telemundo Chicago

The North Lawndale Employment Network in Chicago will receive $50,000 for their Pathways for Women program. Pathways serves extremely low-income women with felony convictions, primarily African American and living on Chicago’s West Side by equipping them for self-employment. Pathways provides female returning citizens with training and support so they can rejoin their families, address post-incarceration emotional issues, and earn a livable income, either through employment or entrepreneurship.

NBC10 Philadelphia / Telemundo 62 Philadelphia

Mighty Writers in Philadelphia will receive $50,000 to support their El Futuro program. El Futuro’s bi-lingual foundation, which focuses on educating predominantly Spanish-speaking students in Philadelphia, helps students think and write with clarity through an academically approved software. Two groups, grades 2-4 and 5-8, will be evaluated on their writing skills through academically approved software, and then advised on areas they need to improve through Mighty Writers.

NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth / Telemundo 39 Dallas-Fort Worth

In the Dallas Fort-Worth area, Girls Inc. of Tarrant County will receive $50,000 for their new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Programming. Girls Inc. of Tarrant County is creating Programming for the most underrepresented group in STEM learning and careers — Latina and African American females — to become interested in STEM education. Girls Inc.’s research-based programming and mentoring delivered by professional adults builds girls’ self-esteem and self-confidence, teaches girls the skills to resist participation in harmful behaviors, and creates a support system of positive mentors and peers.

NBC Bay Area / Telemundo 48 Area de la Bahia

In the Bay Area, Oakland’s Center for Media Change will receive $50,000 for their Hack the Hood program. Hack the Hood’s core program is a 6-week, 168 hour immersive boot camp where low-income youth of color ages 16-25 learn tech, marketing, design, and entrepreneurship skills by building websites for local small businesses.  Within two weeks of starting the program, youth are performing paid technology work and developing a portfolio they can use to secure internships, freelance gigs, and entry-level work at $18-25/hr. Each year, over 100 Hack the Hood youth are empowered creators of change in their communities and advance their own learning and earning power.

NBC4 Washington

In Washington, D.C. The Arc of Northern Virginia will receive a 21st Century Solutions grant for their EmployMate mobile application. EmployMate is an app curriculum available on iPads, tablets, and smartphones that provides supports for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The app acts as a virtual travel trainer and job coach and will provide a fully and easily customizable tool to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities navigate the working and social world by themselves.

NBC 6 / Telemundo 51 Miami

The YMCA of South Florida will receive $50,000 for their Mobile Aquatics Program. The Mobile Aquatics Program/Drowning Prevention is a vital service for low-income, minority communities and focuses on teaching non-swimmers skill development in the water. The program comprises a highly skilled, culturally competent team of Aquatics professionals who educate communities about the importance of swim safety and teach free swim lessons to the children. Several thousands of students across South Florida will benefit from this program, where many disadvantaged youth and their parents do not know how to swim.

NBC 7 San Diego

The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank will receive $50,000 for their Warehouse Energy Conservation Plan. The Warehouse Energy Conservation Plan is a no food wasted/energy efficient model that will help the Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank (JCSDFB) with energy cost savings so that they can continue to provide for low-income clientele. The Warehouse Energy Conservation Plan aims to install LED lighting, energy-efficient refrigeration controls, 1,400 solar panels on the roof, and a state-of-the-art recycling and composting center at the Food Bank. By doing so, the JCSDFB will save hundreds of thousands of dollars and be able to spend those resources on millions of meals for their low-income clientele.

NBC Connecticut

The Village for Families & Children Words Count program in Connecticut will receive a $50,000 21stCentury Solutions Grant. Words Count is a short-term, parent-directed, play-based program that builds brains, creativity, and caregiver-child bonds. The one-on-one coaching offered by a trained Literacy Coach promotes parental behaviors that stimulate early language, cognitive, and social development.

Runners Up

NBC 4 New York / Telemundo 47 New York

Move for Hunger, The Multi-Family/ Apartment Program: $50,000

Global Kids, The Hack for Impact Lab: $50,000

NBC4 Southern California / Telemundo 52 Los Angeles

School on Wheels, Digital Learning Center: $50,000

TreePeople, Cool City Model: $50,000

NBC 5 Chicago / Telemundo Chicago

Enlace Chicago, Little Village Community Portal: $25,000

Chicago Youth Centers, CYC Maker Lab: $25,000

NBC10 Philadelphia / Telemundo62 Philadelphia

Camden City Garden Club, Growlab II: $25,000

Norris Square Neighborhood Project, Raíces de Cambio: $25,000

NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth / Telemundo 39 Dallas-Fort Worth

Heart of a Champion, The Texas Mentoring Initiative: $25,000

Volunteer Center Of North Texas, $25,000

NBC Bay Area / Telemundo 48 Area de la Bahia

Hispanic Foundation Of Silicon Valley, The Family College Success Center: $25,000

Juma Ventures, Youth Talent Pipeline: $25,000

NBC4 Washington

Montgomery Comm TV Inc, Multimedia Journalism Explorer’s Program: $25,000

Hopkins House a Center for Children and Families, Youth Speaks: $25,000

NBC 6 / Telemundo 51 Miami

Breakthrough Miami, The STEM Academies: $25,000

The Education Fund, Food Forests: $25,000

NBC 7 San Diego

The New Children’s Museum, Innovators Lab: $25,000

NAMI San Diego, ALFRED: $25,000

NBC Connecticut

The Center for Family Justice, Individual Empowerment and Family Strengthening Services: $25,000

Children’s Center of Hamden, Project Discovery – Greenhouse Addition: $25,000

New Legislation Reduces Barriers for Returning Citizens

Today NLEN joins the Safer Foundation and the many agencies and individuals who advocated and helped to gain the Governor’s support in signing a series of bills removing barriers associated with a criminal background with special celebration and recognition of the occupational licensing reform bill, HB 5973 –  a long and hard fought collective effort. We especially celebrate that HB 5973 will open employment and entrepreneurial doors for so many who have served their time to restore their fundamental right to work.

We applaud the Governor for this important step to reducing barriers to employment for returning citizens and ask him to continue to open opportunities by acting on the following:

  • Pursuing sentencing reform to achieve his goal of reducing the Illinois prison population by 25% over the next 10 years
  • Promoting  pretrial diversion at the local level to reduce the number of individuals incarcerated prior to conviction
  • Expanding transitional employment opportunities for individuals who were recently released from incarceration or suffer from chronic unemployment

Sweet Beginnings and NLEN on NBC, LeeAnn Trotter Reports


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