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Auburn Gresham is a SMART Community

Carlos Nelson, executive director of GADC delivers an inspiring message regarding Auburn Gresham being a SMART Community. To his right is GADC's business and project manager Linda Johnson. To his left is Ms. Ross, a senior residing in St. Sabina Elder's Village.

Ernest Sanders

The Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation (GADC) launched its Smart Communities Initiative with a digital and red carpet theme. With nearly 400 attendees, people of all economic and social make-up learned about Auburn Gresham’s digital platform and the resources made available to further develop them in Auburn Gresham.

Event highlights included remarks from 17th Ward Alderman Latasha Thomas, Susana Vasquez of Local Initiatives Support Corporation of Chicago (LISC/Chicago), Father Michael Pfleger of Saint Sabina Church (in person and via Skype), Phil Hunter of Saint Sabina Employment Resource Center, Auburn Gresham resident and student - Elachsa Madison (via Skype), and GADC’s executive director, Carlos Nelson and Ernest Sanders, New Communities Program manager and director of communications.

Southwest Smart Communities project manager, Norma Sanders (L) poses for a photo with the City of Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology's project manager, Danielle DuMerer in front of a HP Touch Screen computer.

Ernest Sanders

The federal government’s Broadband USA Initiative and the City of Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology were also acknowledged as key and central players in the Smart Communities Initiative.

There was a taste of Auburn Gresham’s finest eateries with samples of shrimp, salmon patties, rib tips, jerk chicken, macaroni and cheese, vegetarian jambalaya, and a large caramel cake.  Unique naturally-flavored coconut water was donated by local distributor – Dr. Tim’s Juices.  

Two refurbished HP Desktop computers were generously donated by Mark Glower of Feeding America and made available to attendees for two free raffles. 

There were featured demonstrations on Touch Screen computers (donated by Hewlett Packard), digital Smart Board presentations by GADC's Technology Organizer Jimmy Prude and Perspectives Charter Schools-High School of Technology students, and online Skype sessions from Saint Sabina Church, Howard University in Washington DC and the continent of South Africa.

There were educational displays to include GADC’s Elev8 initiative, School Yard Demonstration Projects, and newly formed partnership with Illinois State University’s (ISU) TEACHER+PLUS.  ISU also offered a summer weeklong scholarship as a raffle prize for high school juniors too.

This red carpet launch also featured GADC’s Business Resource Network and Family Net Center (administered by Saint Sabina Employment Resource Center).

A few of Auburn Gresham's most precious assets enjoy gaming systems Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Xbox in the Auburn Gresham Business Resource Center.

Ernest Sanders

Attendees were encouraged to visit each Smart Communities Initiative site within the 79th Street business corridor, where they found more Touch Screen demonstrations and received a free Smart Communities thumb drive and lanyard. Even youth participated in a kid’s corner of the Business Resource Center, where the latest in gaming (Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo Wii) were made available to them.

Special thanks is given to the Red Carpet planning committee including Linda Johnson and Aurora Cruz of GADC, Kathryn Welch with the office of State Senator Jacqueline Collins, Lisa Ramsey with the St. Sabina Employment Resource Center, PiaShantee of the Auburn Gresham Business Resource Center, and others mentioned in this story for their tireless efforts towards ensuring a successful event.

The Smart Communities Initiative for Auburn Gresham represents one of five digitally underserved New Communities Program neighborhood's in Chicago that are participating in the City of Chicago’s Smart Communities. This program aspires to enable full participation in meaningful digital activities for households, businesses, institutions to increase knowledge, expand economic and educational opportunities, while enhancing and redressing issues among residents and businesses.

The Southwest Smart Communities Initiative is a partnership of Auburn Gresham, Chicago Lawn, and Englewood communities with project management provided by Edge Technological Resources’ Norma Sanders.

GADC's Roslyn Charles (L) and a LISC AmeriCorps member gives an overview of GADC's School Yard Project to a senior attending the Auburn Gresham Red Carpet event.

Ernest Sanders

The Smart Communities program is being administered by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC/Chicago) and includes four other New Communities Program neighborhoods. They include Chicago Lawn, Englewood, Humboldt Park, and Pilsen.

Click here to see photos from the Smart Communities Red Carpet event.

For more information about the Smart Communities program, please visit our digital excellence page or the Auburn Gresham Portal.

Keywords: Alderman Latasha Thomas, City of Chicago, Department of Innovative Technology, Perspectives Charter Schools, Smart Communities

Posted in Community Highlights


9:29 AM
Jan 5, 2011
Angela King, DoIT, City of Chicago says:

Happy New Year!

My name is Angela King and I am an intern with the city of Chicago, DoIT Program. I work with Mathew Guiford. I am interested in find out how many Free Clinics are available in the Sotuhwest Smart Communities Plan. You can reach me at 312-744-5167, or at

Thank you very much for your assistance.

10:25 PM
Dec 9, 2010
Sharon Banks says:

Mr. Sanders
I was referred to contact you by Anton Seals of Congressman Rush's office. I would like to send you an e-mail invitation for our digital media training center. I believe you will find it a very worthwhile program to incorporate into your "Smart" Community programming.

Please send me your direct e-mail address. Thanks so much

Sharon Banks

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