Community Building Blocks

Read the report

As a conclusion to its July 2018 Community Building Blocks Workshop in Oak Park, the Environmental Protection Agency published a 33-page recommendation report titled “Linking Community Building Blocks for Educational, Economic and Equity Outcomes (pdf) »

Moving forward

All local Oak Park elected officials, two-day workshop attendees, and the general public were invited on Tuesday, October 30 to discuss how, together as a community, Oak Park can move forward on the themes and recommendations outlined in the EPA’s report. Read the notes from the Building Blocks Workshop Review and Organizational meeting (pdf) »

About the workshop

Oak Park’s Community Building Blocks Workshop in July 2018 was a success, with more than 50 people sharing valuable input during the two-day event. The outside team of consultants from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development shared with the event’s Steering Committee that they were impressed with our community’s turnout, active participation, and deep knowledge of Oak Park.

Special thanks to the members of the workshop’s Steering Committee: Frances Kraft, Equity Team of Oak Park; Deborah Baness King, Triton College Dean of Academic Success; Gavin Morgan, Oak Park Township Manager; Lynda Schueler, Housing Forward Executive Director; James Madigan, Oak Park Library Deputy Director; Robert Simmons, Oak Park Library Social Services and Safety Director; and Jodi Kolo, Oak Park Library Communications Director.

Thank you also to other leaders in the community who supported the workshop and who have communicated their support for the work to come, including Michele Zurakowski, Oak Park-River Forest Food Pantry Executive Director and Elizabeth Chadri, Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation Program Director.

Where did this workshop opportunity come from?

To begin, a grant awarded to Triton College, the Equity Team and the Oak Park Public Library proposed collaboration among the three organizations to provide services to Oak Park’s low-income and vulnerable populations. Focus was on improving educational outcomes and college and career readiness. That grant work will conclude in March 2019.

Then, a second grant opportunity arose related to the first grant. The United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Institute of Museum and Library Services selected the the library, Triton and the Equity Team to receive a Community Building Blocks workshop grant.

This work, focused on community sustainability, involved Oak Park hosting a two-day facilitated discussion with community stakeholders, leaders, officials, and other interested community members. Discussion concluded with free technical assistance to Oak Park for advancing community and economic development goals. This assistance is the 33-page recommendation report titled “Linking Community Building Blocks for Educational, Economic and Equity Outcomes (pdf).”