We're part of the Unification Focus Initiative
These are exciting times for the Near West Side. Not only is it one of the best communities to live, work and play this side of the Loop, we have now even garnered national attention for being the home of the Stanley Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks.
With all of the growth and development in the area, there have been many different local organizations striving to achieve success for the overall good of the community, yet in most cases, operating in silos within the confines of their own organization’s people and activities. Starting back in the fall of 2009, a group of members of the community were asked to come together by the City of Chicago’s Commission on Human Relations to discuss the needs, the differences, the similarities and perceived goals of the community.
One thing became clear in a very short time. We all want the same thing: continued growth and betterment of the community. And, also, while individual groups are working on these goals in their own ways, we could have an even stronger impact by coming together to form a unified collective voice. In order to do this, we need to break down diversity issue barriers and foster an environment that is respectful to all.
Introducing the umbrella group that we have formed: Unification Focus Initiative or “UFI”. Our mission statement reads:
“To ensure that the community needs, desires and aspirations are met through a unified community voice. UFI will continuously build a collective community voice with individuals, organizations and institutions operating with integrity and respect for each other and the community we serve.”
UFI’s goals are not to impede the goals or activities of any individual organizations—- just to strengthen what we all can do together by coming together on issues that affect all of us. A good example of this would be the $75 million in TIF dollars from our area that was granted to Rush University for their building expansion. Why didn’t we see any of these dollars go to our neighborhood? We have also concluded that all organizations under the UFI umbrella will not always agree on issues that face our community—-and in those cases, we will agree to respectfully disagree.
We invite you to join UFI in general, as an organization, business or resident.
As a kick-off to launch UFI in the community, we are having the first ever Near West Fest on August 28th from 2-8pm. It will be at the Malcolm X College plaza (on the Van Buren side). There will be a soundstage with various musical acts, food, drinks, vendors and much more. Any organizations that wish to become a part of UFI and participate will be advertised on the marketing materials (posters, postcards, banners, etc.) with their logo displayed in a “Brought to you by….” type of fashion. We also need help with recruiting volunteers to work at the event. More info: www.nearwestchamber.org/nearwestwest.
UFI is presently in partnership with the following local organizations & we’d like you to join us:
- Homeowners of Westtown
- Major Adams Community Committee
- Westhaven Park Development
- St. Stephen’s Church
- Chicago Housing Authority’s Local Advisory Council
- Many active & independent community residents
- Near West Side Community Development Corporation
- Near West Side Chamber of Commerce
more info: UnificationUFI@gmail.com
Posted in Friends of the West Haven Community