A Gresham community group has won the inaugural Chicago Prize and now has $10 million to spend on its neighborhood revitalization plan.
The inaugural Chicago Prize competition, sponsored by the Pritzker Traubert Foundation, picks one group on Chicago’s South or West Side and awards a grant it can use to address systemic poverty and economic exclusion.
The winning initiative — Always Growing, Auburn Gresham — plans to turn a vacant building on 79th and Halsted streets into a “Healthy Lifestyle Hub,” equipped with a full-service health center, as well as develop an urban farm and renewable energy center. The team includes the Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation, Green Era and Urban Growers Collective.
The $12.4 million lifestyle hub already has received some financial backing from the city’s Invest South/West initiative.
Last year, 80 teams on Chicago’s South and West sides submitted proposals for the Chicago Prize. On Dec. 11, a panel of experts highlighted 20 proposals and nominated six of those as finalists for the $10 million prize. The other five finalists represented Little Village, Englewood, North Lawndale, Austin and South Chicago.
The foundation also announced an additional $2.5 million fund to support the other neighborhood projects that were finalists.