On August 7, 2020, the Pritzker Traubert Foundation announced that Always Growing, Auburn Gresham was awarded the first ever Chicago Prize, a $10 million grant competition that sought to invest in collaborative initiatives using physical development to spur economic activity, strengthen civic infrastructure, and improve the safety, well-being, and economic mobility of residents in the city's South and/or West sides.
The Foundation also announced an additional commitment of $2.5 million in development funds accessible to the other finalist teams from Austin, Englewood, Little Village, North Lawndale and South Chicago. This brings its total investment in the Chicago Prize teams to more than $13 million since the competition launched in April 2019.
Always Growing, Auburn Gresham is a collaborative of the Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation, Urban Growers Collective and Green Era Partners, led by Carlos Nelson, Erika Allen and Jason Feldman, respectively. Their initiative was selected for the Chicago Prize because of its unique combination of proposed projects that have the potential to create long-term economic opportunity, including the creation of 300 construction and 300 permanent professional jobs, and a greenhouse space expected to grow 14,000 – 26,000 pounds of food per year, while also meeting the immediate needs of residents.
On December 11, 2019, the Pritzker Traubert Foundation announced the Finalist teams that advanced toward the $10 million Chicago Prize investment. Selected from a pool of over 80 applicants, the Finalists included community-based and citywide organizations working together on projects that involve building new or redeveloping existing community assets to address the needs of residents and advance a shared vision for their neighborhood.
In addition to the Awardee listed above, the other Finalists are:
- Creating a Solidarity Economy: Centro de Solidaridad Mi Villita;
- Go Green on Racine: An Englewood Rising Project;
- Now Is the Time: Advancing North Lawndale Together;
- The Aspire Initiative: Building A Stronger Cradle-to-Career Pipeline in Austin; and
- We’re Steel Here: Working Together to Reinvigorate South Chicago.
Additional information about the competition can be found at ptfound.org/chicagoprize.