Austin Community Vision

Developing a $10 million community hub that includes a state-of-the-art early learning, health and recreation center, and a job development incubator.

Neighborhood Network in Action

Austin is moving towards its goal of providing high-quality learning opportunities to low-income children and ensuring residents have access to living wage employment and a pathway to homeownership. The Austin Neighborhood Network, in partnership with Westside Health Authority (WHA) and By the Hand Club for Kids (BTH), launched the Aspire initiative.

Select “next” to learn more about the Aspire initiative.

Components of the Aspire Initiative

  • A new state-of-the-art early learning, health and recreation center called The Aspire Education & Wellness Campus
  • New programs and support to increase enrollment at Austin’s only neighborhood-serving public high school, the Aspire Austin College and Career Academy (ACCA)
  • Renovation of the vacant Emmet School into the Aspire Center for Workforce Innovation
  • Aspire Housing, a multi-tiered approach to provide homeownership assistance, plus new or renovated units for sale

Coalition Highlights

The Austin Neighborhood Network has received the support from Foundations, the city of Chicago, and coalition partners to successfully launch and execute a number of community initiatives designed to build a stronger, more equitable Austin community.

Select “next” to read more about coalition highlights.

Foundation and Local Support

  • $10 million BMO Harris Bank investment to help deepen impact in the Chicago community with a specific focus on resident-lead efforts guided by ACT.
  • Pritzker Traubert Foundation Chicago Prize finalist.
  • INVEST South/West Community—An unprecedented community improvement initiative from Mayor Lightfoot.
  • LISC Chicago Neighborhood Development Award- 2020 recipient “Outstanding Community Plan.”

Community Initiatives

  • Since 2011, and as part of the Neighborhood Network, ACT has built an impressive network of more than 60 non-profit, faith-based, public, and private members.
  • Launched COVID-19 Rapid Response Community Hub, providing immediate and direct relief via cash assistance, food distribution, and PPE supplies.
  • In response to COVID-19, the ACT team was appointed to the City of Chicago’s Racial Equity Rapid Response Team. As part of these efforts, ACT has partnered with the Greater Chicago Food Depository to facilitate 11 food pop-up pantries to distribute more than 700,000 pounds of food to 10,000+ households.
  • Austin Career Connection launched the Access United program, placing nearly 50 clients in trade apprenticeship programs.

Hear from your neighbors and supporters

Olivia Santiago

BUILD community social worker

“We want to create a space for women to feel safe and [be] themselves. We want to show that violence and trauma is not normal, but also teach them how to navigate this place because they can’t leave it.”

Steve Battreall

President and CEO Commercial Distribution Finance, Wells Fargo

“Wells Fargo cares deeply about our Chicago neighborhoods and that’s why we’ve partnered with United Way for many years. We share a common goal—improve lives and build stronger communities.”

Lisa N. Johnson

Chief Operating Officer, The Lamar Johnson Collaborative

“Lamar Johnson Collaborative is focused on bringing positive change to communities through planning and design, and we are proud to partner with United Way’s Austin Neighborhood Network. United Way’s approach provides a connection to the residents who are at the forefront of bringing change to Austin, and we are excited to be a part of their efforts.”

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