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Community Voices

The Great Wall of Chicago – Auburn Gresham Community – Artist: Rahmaan Statik

Community members are the experts on their own experience. Their voices center the work we do together.

Community Conversations

Ongoing Community Conversations provide opportunities to hear from community members how the pandemic has affected their communities and what resources are needed for economic recovery. These facilitated conversations build on initial interviews We Rise Together conducted with community leaders, serve as a baseline for evaluating our work, and ensure a feedback loop from community residents about their priorities and experiences with economic recovery.

Read a report based on fall 2021 Community Conversations.

A collage of woman, one woman is a volunteer, another is a medical worker, and the final is a woman sitting behind a computer teaching

“We need a comprehensive vision and community plan that comes from the ground up.”

– West Side Black church leader


Facilitated conversations focus on residents’ experiences, including their perspectives on community assets and barriers.

“People should be able to see themselves in the places they live. Do they see themselves reflected in the community, the businesses, the cultural spaces?”

– Humboldt Park Latinx nonprofit leader

Working Groups

Each working group is composed of community leaders, project leaders, private sector leaders, and public sector partners. Discussions center on the community’s place-based investments and what is needed to make these projects stronger and more transformational. 

Working group conversations are taking place in the following communities:

  • Lawndale
  • South Shore
  • Greater Chatham


  • Maximize and accelerate the impact of the capital investments in site-specific areas
  • Identify supports for the ecosystem of surrounding businesses and employment opportunities
  • Model a new way for partners across areas of expertise to work together in a community-centered structure.
  • Identify and advance shared regional policies and practices to create a more equitable recovery

Community Conversations

Provides feedback on priorities, challenges and the success of initiatives

Steering Committee

Guides strategic direction for grantmaking, business practice and public policy strategy and criteria
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Working Groups

Provide real-time community input and direction for the Steering Committee and staff to leverage the grantmaking, business practices, and policy levers for We Rise Together


Support the day-to-day implementation of decisions and strategy
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