The physical spaces where residents live, work and play influence health by providing opportunities to be active, maintain social connections and access resources. That’s why the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago (PHIMC) collaborated with Elevated Chicago for the 2019 Healthy Chicago 2.0 Community Seed Grants.

A total of $150,000 was awarded to six community-based organizations to support locally-driven activities and solutions aimed at improving the built environment to promote community walkability in connection to public transit.

The awardees were chosen keeping Elevated Chicago’s mission in mind: to use equitable transit-oriented development (eTOD) to achieve racial equity in Chicago’s built environment in order to improve health, climate resilience and cultural vitality of people of color living and working near transit.

  1. The Foundation for Homan Square at the Blue Line Kedzie – Homan stop will transform a vacant lot in Homan Square by beautifying the corner to improve walkability, encourage social connectedness, and add commercial activity to the Kedzie Corridor.
  2. The Garfield Park Community Council (GPCC) at the Green Line Kedzie stop will improve community walkability around the CTA stop by designing and installing wayfinding signage at 10 intersections, implementing tactical urbanism projects at two intersections, and activating a People’s Plaza.
  3. Latinos Progresando at the Pink Line-California station will validate findings from a completed community-driven walkability assessment and advance built environment interventions near the California Pink Line stop.
  4. Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA) at the Blue Line-Logan Square stop will engage 10 youth to conduct a walkability study and create an action plan to inform Chicago Department of Transportation’s redesign of the Logan Square traffic circle, as well as foster walkability and a sense of belonging for families who live in close proximity to the Logan Square Blue Line Station.
  5. North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council (NLCCC) at the Blue Line Kedzie-Homan station will engage high school students, cultural leaders, and North Lawndale residents to conduct a walkability assessment and to create a subsequent action plan to address existing barriers to walkability.
  6. South East Chicago Commission (SECC) at the Green Line 51st, Garfield, and/or Cottage Grove stations will expand their Community Grant Program to fund at least one high-visibility project focused on neighborhood beautification and environmental improvement near the selected CTA stop(s).

Climate and Cultural Resilience Grants

Working with local partners in Elevated Chicago “eHubs”, the CCR grants will allow the installment of green infrastructure demonstration projects with complementary and community-driven public art pieces that work together to illustrate how investments in climate resilience benefit local cultural and economic resilience. Investments are focused near Chicago Transit Authority stations, to promote visibility and increased ridership of our transit asset.

  • LUCHA AND LSNA – Logan Square: Extend downspouts into parking lot planter box to mitigate roof ponding on LSNA´s building
  • OPEN Center for the Arts – Pink Line – California: Installation of GSI features at ground level patio, downspout disconnection/reroute into installed GSI features
  • Greening Overton Business and Technology Incubator – Green Line South: Depave portions of parking lot for bioinflitration
  • Garfield Park Urban Farm – Kedzie Corridor: Develop small bioinfill at farm margins and incorporate a shade structure with water capture

Equity Forward Grants

The premise for the Elevated Chicago´s Equity Forward community investment grants is to pay it forward. The grants provide a revolving pool for recoverable grants for early pre-development funds. Elevated Chicago´s community table will prioritize which projects receive funding. The pre-development funds can be used for any third party costs and the funding may stay in a project during construction and post construction if deemed necessary.
The repayment of the recoverable grant will be voluntary with the understanding that each grantee will make the best efforts to recycle the recoverable grant funds for future Elevated Chicago capital projects.


Equity Forward 2020 Grantees:


Green Line South Multi Site

  • Grantee: Emerald South Economic Development Collaborative
  • Collaborators: UChicago´s Arts + Public Life, KLEO Center, Sunshine Enterprises and Washington Park Development Group
  • Purpose: Create a cohesive visual identity for the Green Line South area throughout Washington Park and Woodlawn to coordinate development strategies, improve services and attract residents and businesses
  • Project Details: Branding initiative including placemaking features, physical markers, memorialized plaques, and a range of landscaped and beautified plots throughout Washington Park and Woodlawn that links all stations represented on the Community Table that directly benefits to the following capital pipeline projects- Overton Business and Technology Incubator, KLEO Center and Arts Block.


California Pink Line

  • Grantee: Latinos Progresando
  • Purpose: Repurpose an abandoned library into a community resource center.
  • Project Details: Latinos Progresando Community Resource Center. This is a 9,330 square-foot abandoned library that will become Latinos Progresando´s headquarters where they will provide legal immigration, educational, cultural and wellness services.


Blue Line Kedzie-Homan

  • Grantee: Foundation for Homan Square/IFF
  • Purpose: Create a pop-up retail concept using Boombox shipping containers on two vacant parcels on the northwest corner of Kedzie and Filmore
  • Project Details: Filmore Placemaking Project which combines an Arts & Culture and pop-up retail concept with outdoor public art space anchored by a Boombox-like retail structure for social enterprises and small businesses to market their products and services.


Blue Line Logan Square

  • Grantee: LUCHA (Latin United Community Housing Association)
  • Purpose: Preserve affordable homeownership and rental opportunities in west Logan Square and Hermosa by acquiring 20 properties over the course of 24 months. This effort will create 20 new homeowners and guarantee approximately 30 additional affordable housing units for community members.
  • Project Details: Create the Here to Stay Land Trust. This is a scalable, multi-pronged strategy that will preserve the stock of naturally occurring affordable housing in the target area by Creating a competitive, self-regenerating acquisition fund Rehabbing multifamily buildings Cultivating a pipeline for low- to moderate-income families to become homeowners in communities near public transportation with easy-access to commercial hubs in downtown Chicago and O´Hare International Airport

Fourteen community-based nonprofit organizations in Chicago were the first recipients of grants from Elevated Chicago and Enterprise Community Partners – funding earmarked for a range of equity projects near transit stations toward strengthening racial equity, prosperity and resiliency in neighborhoods.

Capacity-building grants

A total of $330,000 in funding was awarded to community development organizations to build their capacity, advance transit-oriented development and carry out affordable housing activities that address the needs of low-income households.

    1. Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation and LUCHA, to advance affordable housing developments and community engagement around the Blue Line’s Logan Square station
    2. Garfield Park Community Council and IFF, to lead real estate efforts and community engagement activities around the Blue Line’s Kedzie-Homan Square train station and the Green Line’s Kedzie station
    3. Latinos Progresando, to lead community engagement and stakeholder collaboration around the Pink Line’s California station and to advance the development of a community center along Cermak Road
    4. Preservation of Affordable Housing and Neighborhood Housing Services, to advance stakeholder collaboration, housing initiatives, and business incubation efforts around the Green Line’s 51st Street 55th Street and Cottage Grove train stations

Activation grants

A total of $100,000 in funding was awarded to nonprofit organizations for projects to create awareness, learning opportunities, community participation and public interest around the Elevated Chicago mission of promoting more equitable, healthy, sustainable, and culturally vibrant communities at and around the prioritized transit stations.

    1. Beyond This Point Performing Arts Association, to present percussion performances, and interactive percussive games in and around the Blue Line’s Logan Square station
    2. Black Girls Break Bread, to create focused and nuanced programming to promote the social and emotional wellness of Black women and girls at all seven transit stations
    3. Latinos Progresando, to launch ACTivate Marshall Square, a collaborative, multi-faceted community engagement strategy that includes beautification, movement, and creative, conservation-focused activities for children and families that live and work around the Pink Line’s California station
    4. Openlands, to encourage residents to improve their community’s health and climate residency by hosting a tree planting within a half mile of the Pink Line’s California station, and provide technical assistance to community-based partners
    5. Safer Foundation, to implement a program to train participants as cultural docents and create custom woodworking designs culturally specific to communities near the Blue and Green lines’ Kedzie stations
    6. Latin United Community Housing Association (LUCHA), to dedicate public space for a community-driven mural honoring Latinos and to introduce phase 2 of the initiative by convening food cart vendors for a social event on the plaza outside the entrance to the Logan Square Blue Line station
    7. University of Chicago’s Arts + Public Life, to partner with the KLEO Center on two program series that will build a strategic community coalition to activate Garfield Boulevard between Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Michigan Ave near the Green Line’s 55th Street station
    8. Urban Juncture Foundation, to present a series of planning dinners and unique celebrations to promote equity and wellness among residents who live near the Green Line’s 51st Street station