CHICAGO Related Midwest today announced that it has entered into a significant collaboration with Project H.O.O.D., the 501 c(3) organization dedicated to ending the cycle of poverty, violence and incarceration, to design and build a first-of-its-kind community center for Woodlawn residents. In addition, Related Midwest called on Chicago’s business community to help make the Leadership and Economic Opportunity Center a Reality in the final weeks of the Project H.O.O.D. fundraising campaign.
Related Midwest will donate a wide array of services to Project H.O.O.D. that will leverage its extensive expertise in architecture, building design and construction to help build a community center that best serves the neighborhood. In conjunction with its active consultant role, Related will continue to seek in-kind donations and services from its network of key construction partners, including experts in HVAC, masonry, roofing, plumbing and flooring needs.
Since November 20, 2021, Project H.O.O.D. Founder Corey Brooks, also pastor of Woodlawn’s New Beginnings Church, has been living on a neighborhood rooftop despite harsh weather conditions to raise money for, and call attention to, the community’s challenges of poverty and violence. He will descend from the rooftop on February 28 after a 100-day campaign that spurred conversations with business leaders and civic leaders throughout the city about the collective responsibility of Chicagoans to address systemic inequities such as the lack of community services available to those in Woodlawn.
“Woodlawn residents deserve access to the same opportunities as those who live on the North Side, including job skills development, entrepreneurship training, arts and sports programs for young people, and safe places to play,” said Pastor Corey Brooks of Project H.O.O.D. “I am excited to partner with Related Midwest and its robust ecosystem of partners as we plan for a future that provides that equitable access in the form of a center that is open to all and gives residents a stake in the future of their own community.”
During the 100-day Tent-A-Thon, Pastor Brooks has faced subzero temperatures, fierce winds and dangerous wind chills, missing out on the holidays, the comforts of home and the company of his family. Related Midwest President Curt Bailey and Vice President Don Biernacki spent an overnight on the rooftop with Brooks to gain a deeper understanding of Project H.O.O.D.’s goals and how Related and its partners could help achieve them. Invigorated by their conversations with Brooks, Bailey and Biernacki brought industry friends and partners to the rooftop and invited hundreds more to support the Tent-A-Thon or spend the night on the rooftop.
“Pastor Brooks has a deep and inspiring commitment to his vision for a place that creates opportunities for the individuals, young people and families of Woodlawn, and it’s not possible to visit him on that rooftop and leave unchanged,” said Related Midwest Executive Vice President Don Biernacki. “Related Midwest and our partners are thrilled to enter into this collaboration and build the best possible community center for the people of Woodlawn, and we are calling on every member of Chicago’s business community to step up and contribute to this worthy cause by February 28 so the Project H.O.O.D. dream becomes a reality.”
Related has a long history of supporting Pastor Brooks’ efforts within the community and actively supports other organizations including Future Ties, led by Jennifer Maddox, with social services and opportunities including health clinics and holiday gifting events.
To donate or learn more about Project H.O.O.D. and the Tent-A-Thon, visit www.projecthood.com.