Community News

Social Innovation Roundtable: Thursday, August 17, 2017 8:30am to 10:30am

About the Event   Forefront’s Social Innovation Roundtable invites you to a very timely and interesting discussion with William W. Towns, Executive Director for Benefit Chicago. He leads the day-to-day work to help socially motivated businesses and nonprofits access the capital they need to innovate and grow. Benefit Chicago, a collaboration of the Chicago Community Trust, John […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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. […]

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Sweet Beginnings and NLEN on NBC, LeeAnn Trotter Reports

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Benefit Chicago Highlights Diverse Social Enterprise Success Models

The Monroe Foundation “Benefit Chicago” Convening with the CEO’s of the Chicago Community Trust and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Highlights  Diverse Social Enterprise Success Models On Monday May 23rd, twenty-five community development and social enterprise “thought-leaders” convened at Marquette Bank in Chicago’s West Englewood community to engage Terry Mazany, CEO of […]

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NLEN Response to Philando Castile and Alton Sterling Shootings

“Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data, and we know that police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm and not kill white people everyday.” ~ Jesse Williams, (from his 2016 BET Humanitarian Award Speech) Late last night, as I was still reeling from the loss of Black lives in Baton Rogue, LA and […]

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North Lawndale gets Chicago’s First Community Court

CHICAGO (FOX 32 NEWS) – For the first time, Chicago will be home to a community court system in the North Lawndale neighborhood. The Restorative Justice Community Court will allow young nonviolent offenders to take accountability for their actions instead of serving jail time. Cliff Nellis of the Lawndale Christian Legal Center and Jose Wilson […]

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“Draft Town” in Grant Park – Trees & Bees in North Lawndale!

The North Lawndale Employment Network (NLEN) www.nlen.org FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, April 26, 2016 Contact: Brenda Palms Barber, (773) 638-1825 brenda@nlen.org “Draft Town” in Grant Park – Trees & Bees in North Lawndale! Chicago, Illinois – With the NFL draft returning to Chicago April 28-30, a partnership between the NFL, the Chicago Sports Commission, Verizon, […]

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New Grant for Financial Opportunity Centers

Annie Grossinger Published: January 21, 2016 As part of intensified efforts to help jobless Americans gain employment in specialized industries, seven Financial Opportunity Centers (FOCs) in Chicago have been selected to receive sub-grants from LISC through the Social Innovation Fund (SIF). These grants are targeted to implement contextualized bridge programs and integrated employment, financial, and […]

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WTTW’s Chicago Tonight Features Building Bridges, Building Connections

They are an unlikely group of lunch mates: a handful of Chicago police officers and 12 people working to rebuild their lives after serving time in prison. But a program through a North Lawndale nonprofit gives these two populations the chance to meet–over lunch–and discuss the issues in their communities and foster stronger ties. Though […]

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Laquan McDonald Shooting – Agency Response

Dear North Lawndale Community, Partners and Friends: On Tuesday November 24, 2015 the world witnessed, yet again, a horrific video of an African American teenager being shot to death, this time, by a Chicago police officer. We at the North Lawndale Employment Network (NLEN), a 15 year old workforce development agency located on the Westside […]

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Shuttered Sears Tower in North Lawndale Gets Second Life As Community Hub

By Stephanie Lulay | November 17, 2015 3:48pm | NORTH LAWNDALE — For seven decades, the 14-story Sears Tower on the massive Sears, Roebuck and Co. campus was a symbol of pride and hard work in North Lawndale. At its height, 22,000 Sears employees worked there every day. But when Sears decided to move its headquarters […]

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Nichols Tower Press Release

Original Sears Tower in North Lawndale Renamed John D. and Alexandra C. Nichols Tower and Redeveloped as Community Resource Hub Chicago – Capping nearly three decades of redevelopment work in North Lawndale, the original Sears, Roebuck and Co. Tower will be reopened as a community hub for arts education, workforce development, economic enterprise and community […]

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NLEN Expansion and Renovation Update

Dear program participants and friends, We are on the move! We are excited to announce that in October, the North Lawndale Employment Network will be expanding to a second location to increase our capacity to serve more people and do more for our community. Our Resource Room is currently closed until further notice. Please excuse […]

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North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council Community Planning Kick-Off

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Chicago Gets a Raise

From the City of Chicago: In December 2014, the City of Chicago City Council passed Mayor Emanuel’s ordinance to raise the minimum wage for all Chicago workers to $13 per hour by 2019. The ordinance raises the minimum wage in steps, beginning with an increase to a $10 per hour minimum wage on July 1, […]

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NLEN and Moving Forward Featured by JPMorgan Chase

North Lawndale Employment Network and our Moving Forward program were recently featured in JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s “Growing Skills for a Growing Chicago” report. The report outlines key needs and recommendations in strengthening middle-skills workforce and equipping Chicago residents to meet employer needs.  As part of JPMorgan Chase’s $250 million investment in workforce development systems, […]

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NLEN Awarded $100,000 Impact 100 Chicago Grant

Contact: Publicity Chair: Barbara Melcher Phone: 773-742-7212 Email: bbmelcher@yahoo.com   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Impact 100 Chicago Awards $330,000 to Chicago-Area Nonprofits Women’s philanthropy supports youth media, employment training and mental health organizations  CHICAGO May 21, 2015 – The City Chapter of Impact 100 Chicago, a philanthropic women’s organizations, awarded three $100,000 Impact Grants and three […]

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Sweet Beginnings Featured in South Side Weekly

The Buzz Around the South Side Backyard beekeepers and community organizations make up a rapidly growing beekeeping community on the South Side by Eleonora Edreva | March 31, 2015 There are several things that South Side beekeepers tend to agree on: urban beekeeping is far better than its rural counterpart, interest in beekeeping is growing every […]

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City of Chicago to Partner on our Moving Forward Program

NLEN is pleased to announce the City of Chicago as a new partner of Moving Forward, our diesel mechanics training program. This program prepares men and women with felony backgrounds for careers in the transportation, distribution and logistics sector. The City joins existing partners JP Morgan Chase, the Chicago Community Trust, and the Chicago Transit […]

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Sweet Beginnings on CNN Air

  Next time you are at the airport, look for this CNN piece about the Sweet Beginnings apiary at O’Hare Airport. The apiary was established four years ago in partnership with the Chicago Department of Aviation as part of its Sustainability Program. Nearly 100 hives now sit on what used to be unused airport land. […]

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New Faces and Responsibilities at NLEN

We are excited to announce the arrival of new staff members and the advancement of others into new roles at our organization. Jackie Jordon has moved into the role of Program Manager for our Urban Weatherization Initiative. Jackie first came to the agency as a participant and was hired as a workforce coach in 2013. […]

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NLEN and Chicago Police Department Recognized with National Safety Awards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MEDIA CONTACTS Keri Blackwell, LISC Chicago, (312) 422-9558, kblackwell@lisc.org Lieutenant David Harris, Chicago Police Department, (312) 745-6110, david.harris@chicagopolice.org Brenda Palms Barber, North Lawndale Employment Network, (773) 638-1805, brenda@nlen.org Mike Rodriguez, Enlace Chicago, (773) 320-0367, mrodriguez@enlacechicago.org Chicago Police and Community Partners Recognized with National Safety Awards CHICAGO – The Chicago Police Department (CPD) and local […]

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Statement from the National Collaborative for Health Equity on the Grand Jury Decision Regarding the Death of Michael Brown

The National Collaborative for Health Equity joins many other racial justice organizations around the nation in decrying the failure of the Grand Jury convened in the Michael Brown killing to indict Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson, who was responsible for Brown’s death.  Officer Wilson killed Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager, leading to weeks of […]

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Are Bees Back Up on Their Knees?

By NOAH WILSON-RICHSEPT. 24, 2014  IN 2006, beekeepers in Pennsylvania’s apple country noticed the first sign of many bad things to come. Once thriving beehives were suddenly empty, devoid of nearly all worker bees, but with an apparently healthy, if lonely, queen remaining in place. Over a period of just three months, tens of thousands […]

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Illinois Bans the Box

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 19, 2014 Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Help Ensure Fair Hiring Practices Across Illinois New Law Prevents Criminal Background Checks Until After an Applicant is Deemed Qualified for a Job  CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to help ex-offenders secure employment in the private sector and become productive members […]

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O’Hare Apiary featured on Fox 32 Chicago

FOX 32 News Chicago It is important to note that recent swarms at the O’Hare airport are not from the existing onsite apiary. However, because of the longstanding relationship between the CDA and Sweet Beginnings, LLC, we are able to quickly address these swarms rather than having to contract expensive, external services. The following excerpt […]

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NLEN Board President Dr. Michael McAfee Keynotes Collective Impact conference in Australia

Business, government and community sector meet to discuss tackling state’s big problems Government, business and community sector representatives came together in Hobart today to explore a “Collective Impact” approach to addressing some of Tasmania’s deep-rooted problems. Collective Impact is a framework for successful cross-sector collaboration aimed at achieving large-scale social change. A keynote speaker at […]

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Arbor Day Recognition

Airport Employees Learn New Ways to Take Action for the Environment CHICAGO, April 25, 2014 – In celebration of Earth Week, the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) Environment Division presented a Lunch & Learn program to promote sustainability awareness amongst airport employees. The workshop offered information on recycling and composting opportunities both at CDA and at home. […]

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Federal Reserve Chair Highlights NLEN Clients

Federal Reserve Chair Janet L. Yellen highlighted NLEN Clients Dorine Poole and Jermaine Brownlee at the National Interagency Community Reinvestment Conference earlier today. In her remarks, Chairwoman Yellen described how the Great Recession and anemic job growth have prevented workers like Dorine and Jermaine from maintaining stable employment at a living wage, despite their skills […]

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Brenda Palms Barber to Speak at Women’s Leadership Forum

Brenda Palms Barber, Executive Director of the North Lawndale Employment Network and CEO of Sweet Beginnings, was featured as one of the speakers at the Ad Club’s 2014 Women’s Leadership Forum in Boston. Click here to view videos of the other amazing women featured at the conference.  

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Sweet Beginnings at the Cook County Board

North Lawndale Employment Network and Sweet Beginnings are proud to announce a new partnership with Cook County Forest Preserve. This $25,000 grant will allow Sweet Beginnings to manage a new apiary on forest preserve land. The Sweet Beginnings team was honored to hear of the grant approval at last Tuesday’s Cook County Board meeting. Above […]

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Old St. Patrick’s Church Partnership

North Lawndale Employment Network is a proud member of Old St. Patrick’s Church’s North Lawndale Kinship Initiative. In Old St. Pat’s last church bulletin, leaders asked members of the Kinship to reflect on how partners – instead of halting at the racial, cultural, religious and economic differences among them – rise above to see one […]

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Essence of an Angel

Event Date: Sunday, April 13, 2014 Event Location: Academic Library Event Format: Luncheon/Family Style Time of Event: 12-3 p.m./Lunch served at 1p.m. The “Essence of an Angel” luncheon will provide the Chicago State University (CSU) community and friends an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the achievements single mothers have made to CSU and the Chicago […]

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Brenda Palms Barber honored as ComEd Power of One Neighborhood Hero

Brenda Palms Barber will be honored as one of ComEd’s Power of One Neighborhood Heroes this February 24th. In honor of Black History Month, Brenda and 27 other outstanding people will be recognized for showing what the power of one can accomplish in our neighborhoods and communities.  Learn more about Brenda and the other honorees […]

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Panel: 10 Misconceptions about starting your own nonprofit

10 Misconceptions About Starting Your Own Nonprofit A Roundtable Discussion Tuesday, February 25, 2014 11:30 am Free. Pre-registration required.REGISTER HERE > Whether you’re an activist hoping to effect change in your neighborhood or a business professional trying to meet the needs of your community, starting a nonprofit organization is one of the best ways to […]

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Country Financial Awards NLEN Financial Literacy Grant

Contact:  Christy McFarland (309) 821-4510 christy.mcfarland@countryfinancial.com   COUNTRY Financial awards nearly $300,000 in grants for financial literacy programs Most recent grants bring program’s total to $775,000                                                                                                       Feb. 10, 2014, Bloomington, IL— COUNTRY Financial® has awarded nearly $300,000 in grants through its Count on COUNTRY Financial community grant program. Funds were awarded to fifteen organizations across Chicago, […]

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NLEN Partners with Fathers, Families & Healthy Communities Demonstration Project

Many of the men in the Fathers, Families and Healthy Communities Demonstration Project have at one time been the type of people they wouldn’t have wanted their own children associating with. But now, on Monday nights, they come to a conference room in the Dawson Technical Institute on the South Side to learn the least […]

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