For 20 young people engaged in leadership training with the Monroe Foundation, their May 2017 On the Table event marked the end of a five-week leadership training project. It also marked the beginning of a longer journey toward their financial independence, civic engagement and self-advocacy that shows no signs of losing momentum.
The young people, aged 16 to 24, were participants in the PACTing P.O.W.E.R. Leadership Project, which trained diverse voices on the fundamentals of planning, consensus-building and advocacy of social and racial justice issues that impede racial equity in Chicago. After weeks of training and community organizing, the young people hosted On the Table conversations – then decided that they needed to keep talking.
They yearned to continue working together, according to Rev. Otis Monroe, the foundation’s executive director, who next created the YouthBiz Business Training Program for the group. By summer’s end, YouthBiz participants had opened a small, pop-up shop in Englewood where they earned more $2,000 by selling apparel that showcases diversity, unity and hope. Each participant used a portion of the $250 program stipend to open a bank account with Marquette Bank, which matched their initial deposits.
PACTing (Partnership Assisting Community Transformation) P.O.W.E.R (People Organizing, Winning Everything Right) Leadership Project was developed by Monroe Foundation with funding from the Chicago Community Trust.
The Monroe Foundation
The Monroe Foundation is a publicly supported not-for-profit community and enterprise development intermediary. We seek to educate, link and fund community development projects within low-income communities in the State of Illinois.