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Say GRACE for South Deering!

This petition had 204 supporters

Grace Housing Complex (Grace) and The Social Alchemy Collective (SAC) are proud to be working together on the Say GRACE initiative to revitalize the South Deering Community of Chicago.

The "GRACE" of SAY GRACE means Greet, Relationships, Assistance, Communication, & Evaluation, and it is a model through which we will provide programming and activities which focus on housing, education, and health. We will also begin planning activities around workforce development and the creation of a social enterprise - a community-owned brewery which will create jobs and revenue to further South Deering's revitalization.

Grace and the SAC recently submitted a request for funding to the Chicago Community Trust (CCT) to support these efforts. While the CCT has a fair and open grant awarding process, it is important for CCT leadership to know that the people of South Deering are in support of these efforts and are being organized to take an active role. It is also important for CCT leadership to realize the impact that this grant will have in South Deering ... an impact which will advance prior and and forthcoming planning efforts in the area.

Please consider signing this petition to inform CCT of your support of Grace's work!


South Deering is a neighborhood which is 31.3% below the National and City poverty line and is in need of philanthropic investment. As a result of impoverished conditions and subsequent lack of investment, South Deering has been plagued with gangs, high crime rates, struggling schools, and below national average consumer spending for several decades. Moreover, South Deering has limited restaurants, stores, affordable housing and community resource centers, and opportunities for gainful employment.

Thus, Grace has been working with the SAC over the past year to develop strategies to address these challenges within the context of its mission and focus. The Say Grace initiative is one outcome of these efforts.


Say GRACE  is an initiative in which Grace, the SAC, and partnering organizations work with residents of Trumball Park Homes and the South Deering Community to address issues of financial stress, trauma, education, health, self-mastery, and community change. This work will be encompassed through a community organization model developed by the SAC in which principles of popular education are used to teach mindfulness and mind/body practices as a means to improve mastery motivation, social action, and community organizing around education and health outcomes.

Say GRACE adapts three "keys" of mastery (self-care, self-help, and self-sufficiency) to facilitate objectives. These keys are explored thorough workshops and activities addressing education and health-related concerns. Concepts are further reinforced through engagement with a graphic novel and related personal development curriculum (The Magic of Mastery) developed by the SAC.


Say GRACE connects permanent public housing residents to activities which enhance health and education outcomes through the pursuit of four goals:

  1. Alleviate physical and trauma symptoms through short- and long-term mindfulness-based interventions.
  2. Address the link between disruptive parenting and poor child/youth academic performance.
  3. Develop a cadre of residents (adults, youth, and children) who become leaders within the community and take a leading role in devising community change solutions.
  4. Engage the community through organizing around the pursuit of solutions to education, health, and workforce readiness concerns.


  1. General Community Sessions. Conduct drop-in workshops and activities (once-twice per week) to provide  services and training on self-care, self-help, and self-sufficiency. These sessions will evolve into panel discussions, organizing meetings, and planning sessions as the project progresses.
  2. Focused Cohort Work. Address parental responsiveness, mastery, and academic performance for three cohorts through 8 weeks workshops and activities (meeting twice per week), with Weeks 1-3 focusing on Self-Care, Weeks 4-6 focusing on Self-Help, and Weeks 7-8 focusing on Self-Sufficiency. Dates include Cohort 1: 10/1/17 – 11/17/17; Cohort 2: 1/1/18 – 2/23/18; and Cohort 3: 4/1/18 -5/25/18.
  3. Leadership Cultivation. Develop a cadre of residents (adults, youth, and children) to become community leaders. Leaders will pursue activities around community planning, teaching other residents in a “train the trainer” model, conducting organizing and outreach around education and health needs, etc.
  4. Summer 2018 Planning & Activities. Grace will convene a planning committee of community residents and other stakeholders to plan Summer 2018 events around peace, safety, health/wellness, education, & workforce readiness, with planning conducted 6/1/18 – 6/30/18. Grace will also conduct programming around mindfulness, education, safety, and arts (7/1/18 – 8/15/18). Finally, Grace will also lead additional community planning efforts and host a community celebration (8/18).


Grace is an economic and community development organization with a mission to provide low income residents with affordable housing, informational services, and other development opportunities. Grace was founded in 2013 by Cynthia Dailey, a community activist and mother of Grace CEO/President Justin Dailey. Cynthia came from humble beginnings being raised in the Robert Taylor Housing Projects. Her struggle and experience led to the development of Grace … an organization focused on helping low income residents (particularly mothers) of the far southeast side take control over their lives through the provision of services which advance affordable housing, civic service, employment, health, education, and other
community initiatives.

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The Social Alchemy Collective is a nonprofit think tank and action team comprised of social alchemists who not only represent various sectors, interests, professions, ideologies, and aspirations, but who are also committed to using the nonprofit movement to facilitate social change and the holistic development of humanity. Through the process of our work, we hope to start a movement which contributes to a revolution of society, relationships, thoughts, and existence.

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