The Grand Boulevard Federation: A Collaborative Community-Based, Non-Profit

 

According to Yelp the Grand Boulevard Federation is CLOSED.
The Grand Boulevard Federation Facebook page hasn’t had a post since 2012. This was their website.

In 2008 you would have seen:

Welcome to the web site of the Grand Boulevard Federation (GBF). Our site is new and just getting up and running. It’s pretty lean right now and please excuse any glitches and links that don’t work yet. Please return frequently to see new content and features

Grand Boulevard Federation
4859 S. Wabash Ave.
2nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60615
p-773-548-8140
f-773-548-6622

By 2012 the site's domain had expired and the site disappeared from the web. Recently I discovered that the domain was available, so I bought it with the goal of recreating as much of its original content as possible from archived pages. I did not want someone else to purchase the GrandBoulevardFederation.org's domain and re-purpose the site for something that had nothing in common with the original website. Consider the information on this site for its historical value and perhaps an inspiration for others.

A Bit of History

Around the 1950's Grand Boulevard was the hub of Chicago's South Side African American community known as “Bronzeville.” It became a cultural mecca due to the large number of black intellectuals, sports figures, politicians, artists and writers who made their homes in Bronzeville. Once a place of wealth and grandeur, in the latter decades of the twentieth century Grand Boulevard became characterized by its physical deterioration, poverty, unemployment, and large swaths of crumbling housing. Grand Boulevard's residents were not just hapless victims waiting for someone from the outside to rescue them. They began to take matters into their own hands. Ranging from church committees to senior citizen centers to mothers' support groups, these community groups were mostly involved in the basic caretaking such as providing support for single mothers or taking in children whose parents were in prison.

My grandparents lived in Bronzeville, but left in the late 1060's for the east coast when my grandfather got a teaching job at a small New England college. My father remembered Bronzeville from his youth and tells of the culture shock he experienced after moving to New England and the small town in western Massachusetts. I so enjoy looking through the old picture albums. Lately my vision has worsen and I needed to replace my eyeglass prescription. I got the new prescription, but just wanted to replace the lenses and keep the frames. I did not relish the idea of having to drive an hour to the closest eyeglass frame store. Fortunately my wife came across an online site where you can mail in your frames and get the lenses replaced. Now in the case of my eyeglasses replacement lenses since I had a new prescription, I would also need to include the prescriptionand my phone number with my frames. An optician called once they had my order and frames to discuss the best, high quality lens choices and options for my needs. The store, CrystalVision, offers all kinds of replacement lenses, including single vision, progressive, bifocal, and trifocal made from lens materials that ran the full gamut from plastic and polycarbonate, to high index, Trivex and even glass. This was so much easier than having to drive to our "local" store and hour away. Once I had the glasses with the new lenses looking at those old Bronzeville albums became a whole lot easier! Ah, but I digress.

 

Eventually many of these groups organized themselves into the Grand Boulevard Federation. GBF started addressing more complex issues such as creating jobs in the neighborhood and improving social services. To achieve their goals, the Grand Boulevard Federation formed partnerships with government agencies, non-profit organizations and businesses. The Grand Boulevard Federation made a difference in the South Side of Chicago not only in concrete economic and social measures, but also in the community’s own faith that they could solve their problems.

A good example is of their work and dedication to improving the education and the schools in the South Side. Between 2002-2005 the Grand Boulevard Federation and its Education Committee, were very active for three years in working to support school improvement in Bronzeville. The Federation participated in a major planning process sponsored by the Chicago Public Schools to develop a plan for improving the quality of schools in the Mid-South communities of Grand Boulevard, Douglas, and North Kenwood, Oakland, and the northern end of Washington Park. Yet despite their activities, the Education Committee was not satisfied with the level and nature of community involvement and input in the school reform and improvement process. After a 9-month process of 1:1's, hosting focus groups, and meeting with the community, the Bronzeville Education Report reflected the community's recommendations and requirements they wanted to see occur in order to move towards creating high quality schools for all families.

Jump ahead to 2011. Governor Quinn signed into law a facilities bill which outlined the policies, procedures, and public participation and coordination that CPS (Chicago Public Schools) was mandated to develop and follow as it related to future facility-related decisions for all Chicago schools. Grand Boulevard Federation did a outreach to the community to let people with school aged children know that they had rights under the new law. On Nov. 15, 2011 the Grand Boulevard Federation’s Peer Parent Network and Illinois Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) hosted a community forum at the Illinois Institute of Technology called “Know Your Rights.”

The Grand Boulevard Federation’s Andrea Lee presented the new legislation’s features. Afterwards, parents were able to question CPS Chief of Intergovernmental Affairs, Mike Rendina, and CPS Chief Portfolio Officer, Oliver Sicat, in the lobby.

GBF stressed that programs and services should be effective and coordinated to be more effective for the local people. GBF’s Education Initiative operated under the influences of three primary groups of stakeholders: The Education Committee, the Peer Parent Education Network, and their ‘Education to Success’ Project.

In addition to education the Grand Boulevard Federation, as evident from their website were also working with local organizations to develop and implement strategies to improve lives for children and youth, strengthened families and community growth on a spiritual, physical, economical and social level. It will be missed.

 

Circa 2008

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 31, 2008
Office of Communications –Chicago Housing Authority

Grand Boulevard Federation Becomes Newest Tenant at CHA Family Investment Center

CHICAGO – This February, the Chicago Housing Authority will welcome the Grand Boulevard Federation as the newest tenant at the Charles A. Hayes Family Investment Center (FIC).

The FIC, located at 4859 S. Wabash Avenue, was already home to the Grand Boulevard Federation’s Asthma Coalition, which has enrolled over 300 area children in their asthma education program and provided outreach to residents living in CHA housing developments over the past eight years.

“The Grand Boulevard Asthma Coalition has been a staple of the Family Investment Center since we opened our doors,” said FIC Manager Cass Miller. “They have been successful in educating area residents about a significant health issue and will continue its mission on increasing the quality of life for those in the Grand Boulevard community.”

The incoming operations of the Grand Boulevard Federation’s operations include its Education Advocacy Initiatives, its Positive Youth Development Initiative, a housing committee, and efforts to reduce violence among youth in the community. The Federation also provides avenues for community based organizations, public agencies and residents of Bronzeville to share information and to work together to develop and implement strategies to improve the quality of life in the community.

“We are pleased and excited to join the other organizations housed at the Charles A. Hayes Family Investment Center,”said President and CEO Greg Washington.

“We look forward to continuing our work to ensure that all families andresidents have the resources to reach their goals and improve our community.”

The Grand Boulevard Federation replaces the Hayes Family Health Clinic, which closed in May 2007 due to a loss of funding fromCook County. The CHA also recognizes new tenants Ada S. McKinley and Manpower, Inc., who moved into the FIC November and December of 2007, respectively.

 

Home Page Circa 2011

 

About

The Grand Boulevard Federation is a collaborative community based not for profit organization whose mission is to increase the quality of life for children, youth, families and residents of Bronzeville by advocating for, and influencing policies, funding, programs, and strategies that maximize the effectiveness of the delivery of human and educational services, and by increasing the coordination of and access to these services and resources. The goal of these activities is a reformed system for the delivery of community, health, human and educational services that will improve the lives of children and youth, strengthen families, and result in a spiritually, physically, economically and socially healthy community.

We believe that genuine and effective change in communities occurs when those impacted by the change have significant voice and input in the creation and implementation of programs, policies, and initiatives designed to benefit them. We involve and support residents in participating fully with public and private agencies and organizations in the planning and decision making process about community issues through information sharing, advocacy, policy analysis, and organizing

Board of Directors
Staff
Meetings
Calendar

Programs

Asthma Health Education

  • General Information
  • Current Issues
  • Controlling Asthma in American Cities
  • Asthma and Children
  • Asthma and Adults

Education Initiative

  • Education Committee

    • Bronzeville Education Report
    • 7 Critical Elements of High Quality School
    • Education Committee Partners
    • Victories of the Education Committee
  • Peer Parent Education Network

    • Parent Involvement Context
    • Parent Involvement Declaration
    • PPEN School Affiliations
    • Victories of the PPEN
  • Education to Success

    • Graduation Accountability
    • GAC Members
    • Victories of the 'Education to Success' Initiatives
    • The Twenty First Century Foundation
    • The Lumina Foundation

Staff

Meetings Schedule

Safety Net Works

  • Safety Net Works Staff
  • Outreach Correspondence
  • Safety Net Works Goals
  • Poem by a Youth Leader
  • Testimonials

Archive/Past Projects

CeaseFire Project

  • Meetings
  • Community Map
  • CeaseFire Community Coalition
  • Contact Us

Positive Youth Development Initiative

  • PTL Overview
  • Strategic Planning
  • PTL Press Release
  • Recap of Positive Teen Lounge Grand Opening
  • PYD Success Stories
  • Funding and Partners

 

GrandBoulevardFederation.org