Two Chicago groups are among nine from around the world being honored by the MacArthur Foundation’s first annual Awards for Creative and Effective Organizations.
The Chicago Rehab Network  and the North Lawndale Employment Network  are being recognized as “highly creative and effective organizations that have demonstrated significant impact in their field,” with large cash awards from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation . Other awardees include groups in Nigeria, Mexico, Russia, Peru, and India. An awards ceremony will be held in Chicago on October 8.
The new award parallels the well-known MacArthur Fellowship Program, which recognizes individual creativity with large unrestricted grants.
“These awards recognize nine extraordinary organizations and, we hope, allow them to unleash their imagination and inspiration on a larger scale,” said MacArthur president Jonathan Fanton.
The groups, all with annual budgets under $2.5 million, will receive awards ranging from $250,000 to $500,000.
Chicago Rehab Network, now over 25 years old, is a coalition of neighborhood-based development groups in over 60 communities and “the leading voice for affordable housing in Chicagoland,” according to the foundation’s announcement. The group offers training programs for affordable housing developers and monitors the expiration fo federal housing assistance contracts to help tenants and advocates develop strategies to preserve affordable housing.
North Lawndale Employment Network, founded in 1999, works in a community where the poverty rate is three times as high as the city as a whole, and where it’s estimated that over half of adults have spent time in prison. Each year the Network places hundreds of residents – mainly ex-offenders – in jobs. NLEN’s urban bee-keeping program trains residents in retail sales and business development and management, and has launched its own product line, Beeline Honey.