About Us


Quad Communities Development Corporation (QCDC) serves the south lakefront communities of North Kenwood, Oakland, Douglas, and Grand Boulevard. Formed in May of 2003, our mission is to improve the quality of life and economic strength of neighborhoods by 3 components:

1) Driving economic development

2) Fostering the improvement of neighborhood schools

3) Supporting and connecting organizations focused on workforce development, retail attraction/retention, and safety

Our partnership with the Cara Program, primarily serving residents with job placement support is among the many services we are proud of.

Click here to download an overview.

Community Planning

Once the vital center of Chicago’s Black Metropolis, the Mid-South area was home to the nation’s most successful black-owned newspaper, insurance company, bank and other enterprises. Many commercial structures from that era are gone, but remaining landmarks—such as the Supreme Life Insurance building at 35th Street and King Drive—can help anchor new retail areas that include locally owned small businesses. To support the surge in residential growth, this plan calls for revival of the 39th, 43rd, 47th and 51st street retail areas, development of larger stores along the Cottage Grove corridor and enhanced capacity of local chambers of commerce.

Cottage Grove Corridor Master Plan Executive Summary is available in pdf version,Cottage_Grove_Corridor_Master_Plan_Executive_Summary.pdf

The local unemployment rate is more than twice that for the entire city. Barriers to overcome include insufficient local job training and employment opportunities and limited transportation options to suburban jobs. A Center for Working Families will be created to broker job training and placement and improve financial literacy. Additional programs will improve employment readiness training, vocational and adult education, as well as school-to-work linkages. An employment resource directory, job forums and a Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC) program will also combat local unemployment.

Do you care about 53rd St.? Help shape future development by participating in a Vision Workshop, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2007, 8:30 am to 1 pm, at Canter Middle School, 4959 S. Blackstone Ave. Come and use an electronic keypad to vote on what direction development should take. Refreshments and lunch will be served. Call 773-536-8103 for more information.Click here to download flyer.

Population growth in the Quad Communities area is outpacing local infrastructure, including transportation services, retail areas and public facilities. To support established resources and attract new ones, this plan calls for a Community Information Hub and website that will spread the word about transit, shopping and recreational amenities. Beautification of retail areas and other streets is a priority, along with restoration of the historic Drexel Boulevard streetscape and median. A parking and transit project will assess infrastructure needs, and a job-access program will help residents connect to transit for suburban commutes.

What’s your favorite public space in the region?  Visit www.placemakingchicago.com to enter the What Makes Your Place Great? contest and be eligible to win cool prizes. MPC is here to help you tackle the tough development challenges in your community. Click here to learn more about our Community Building Initiative.

Joanna Trotter
Manager, Community Building Initiative
Metropolitan Planning Council
140 South Dearborn
Suite 1400
Chicago, Illinois 60603
Direct: 312 863-6008
Main: 312 922-5616
Fax: 312 922-5619

Improving education is a top priority. While Quad Communities schools perform better than those in many other Chicago neighborhoods, the majority of our public- school students test below state standards. Several better-performing charter and magnet schools are located within the community but draw students from throughout the city. Our plan is to develop a network of high-performing schools, with local attendance areas, to serve children of all races and incomes.

Limited recreational and vocational resources have created an environment where youth have little choice but to congregate on street corners. Local organizations, including the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, Sutherland Community Arts Initiative and Little Black Pearl Art and Design Center, show how youth can be directed in positive ways. The Community Builders, developer for Oakwood Shores mixed-income housing, is exploring the creation of a civic center to provide a new neighborhood space for young people. These efforts will be supported and expanded, and new programs will provide internships and mentoring, athletics and recreation, leadership development and community service opportunities.

Every effort must be made to stay true to the goal of achieving a mixed-income community. With new and renovated housing units coming to market at a rate twice the city average, property taxes are increasing, and some housing is becoming unaffordable for longtime residents. Demolition of Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) buildings has reduced the supply of housing for low-income families. To help maintain a balance of housing choices, several projects are planned, including: an Affordable Housing Resource Center for counseling and organizing; close monitoring of CHA replacement housing; and partnerships to preserve existing affordable units.

Cities and neighborhoods, like businesses, rise or fall based on investment. Many parts of Chicago—downtown in particular—have boomed thanks to public and private investment in such projects as residential Dearborn Park, the restoration of Wacker Drive and, most recently, Millennium Park on Chicago’s magnificent lakefront.

Assembled here is a portfolio of Chicago’s next great investment opportunities in NCP neighborhoods, including Douglas, Grand Blvd., and North Kenwood-Oakland.

Download the full portfolio in Acrobat PDF format (2.5 MB).

The City of Chicago is well known for its great architectural style and cultural history. Chicago’s Mid-South Side is one of the key regions that exemplifies the City’s reservoir of historic treasures. Experts and practitioners within the field of urban planning and historic preservation are intimately familiar with the distinct structures and storied assets indigenous to this area. However, residents, local stakeholders and the general public are not well informed about the history, location and relevance of these assets.

After eighteen months of planning, QCDC rolled out its quality-of-life-plan to the residents and stakeholders of the North Kenwood, Oakland, Douglas, and Grand Boulevard neighborhoods on April 23, 2005 at King College Preparatory High School. Approximately 200 attendees heard from presenters representing QCDC, Abraham Lincoln Centre, Black Star Project, Chicago, Public Schools, City of Chicago Police Department (021st District) and the University of Chicago Police Force. The program opened with musical selections from members of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church and closed with a resource fair of approximately 25 vendors.

Ald. Toni Preckwinkle announced the establishment of Quad Communities Development Corporation (QCDC), a nonprofit community-based development agency formed through a partnership with LISC the Local Initatives Support Corporation and residents of North Kenwood, Oakland, Douglas, and Grand Boulevard. To read the full article published by the Lakefront Outlook, click here

“Quad Communities is a cohesive community that is committed to preserving its mixed-income tradition and is dedicated to racial and economic diversity.”

That statement and 39 others that express viewpoints about the QCDC area’s future were presented as part of a draft vision statement at a meeting on June 19, 2004 at Martin Luther King Jr. High School, 4445 S. Drexel Ave.

More than 200 residents participated in the community meeting that day and about 140 gave their views on the vision statements in a written survey. The meeting was part of the quality-of-life planning process that will result in a plan for the neighborhood’s future.

Many participants also provided written comments, which are transcribed without editing in the report of survey results. To download a Word document with the results, click here.

To download a survey so that you cansubmit your own views on the community’s future,click here.

The purpose of the visioning session was to introduce the Black Metropolis National Heritage Area (BMNHA) project, to present some preliminary findings, and to solicit ideas for how local heritage asset information can be packaged and shared with the general public. The BMNHA project goal is to identify, restore, link and leverage heritage assets in the community in order to stimulate economic development. The strategy they have devised and are currently employing for achieving this goal is to secure a National Heritage Area designation from the National Park Service for the Black Metropolis region. This designation comes with a $10 million matching federal grant, $1 million of which is disbursed annually over ten years.

More than 215 residents, leaders and business people from the Quad Communities neighborhoods gathered at visioning sessions in 2003 to discuss the community and how it might be improved. Seventy-five resident leaders met on Aug. 2, fifty institutional and religious leaders participated on Oct. 23 and about 90 business owners and leaders met on Nov. 20.

To download this meeting report in a Microsoft Word document, click here.

The Quad Communities Development Corporation (QCDC) Quality-of-Life Plan is being drafted, refined, approved, and implemented by a task force comprised of 55 to 65 members of the community, including resident leaders, organization staff, educators, block club presidents, service providers, business owners, religious leaders, and others recruited for their knowledge of the community or history of involvement

Our Partnerships

QCDC has received a grant from the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority to develop strategies to improve safety in various business corridors.  The project will seek to engage disconnected business owners to improve the conditions of various commercial corridors, reduce the level of fear among residents, engage youth in place-making activities, and strengthen the relationship between community, business and police.

Current partners include the Metropolitan Planning Council, IIT School of Architecture, Chicago Police 2nd District CAPS, CTA Security, Pat Dowell – 3rd Ward Alderman, Will Burns – 4th Ward Alderman, University of Chicago Police, Reavis Elementary, and 1 Heart 1 Soul. 

QCDC’s mission is to convene residents, organizations, businesses, and institutions within the Quad Communities to plan, guide, support, and monitor human infrastructure and community development activities that will create a sustainable, healthy, mixed-income neighborhood.

For more information:

Jimmy Guzman

Illinois Violence Prevention Program Coordinator

Quad Communities Development Corporation

(773) 617-6604


In collaboration with the Governor’s Office and the Illinois Department of Human Services, The Illinois Violence Prevention Authority (IVPA) has awarded Quad Communities Development Corporation (QCDC) a  Special Projects Grants to conduct community activities that seek to impact the many individual, community and societal factors that contribute to the unacceptable high levels of interpersonal violence in Illinois communities. A wide range of efforts, including those that strengthen families, provide needed services and positive development activities for children and youth (during both in-school and out-of-school time), promote safer communities, increase jobs and diminish the effects of poverty, are among the many activities being conducted with these funds.

QCDC has identified the grant as  the Community-Supported Violence Reduction Strategy (CSVRS) Initiative, to work collaboratively with its community partners such as The Washington Park Consortium (WPC), South East Chicago Commission(SECC), and Chicago Area Projects (CAP) to plan, develop and direct this two year program to reduce violence.


The overall goal of the program is to bring collective efficacy to the targeted communities in order to reduce and/or eliminate the effects of violence on children, families and communities. There are four objectives for the program which are to:

  • Increase collaboration between community based organizations
  • Increase community utilization of violence prevention or intervention programs
  • Increase public awareness and educate residence around violence as a public health issue
  • Increase positive activities in neighborhoods
  • Increase community engagement and empowerment

 Iona Calhoun-Battiste has been hired as the Anti-Violence Program Manager, overseeing the IVPA-II Special Projects grant. She comes to us from CPS where, during her tenure, she managed the Safe Schools Healthy Students Violence Prevention and Mental Health Awareness grant, The 21st Century Community Schools grant, and the DCFS Mentor Moms grant. Iona will be housed at QCDC and will also work with the South East Chicago Commission (SECC), the Washington Park Consortium WPC), and the Chicago Area Project


Iona Calhoun-Battiste

Anti-­Violence Program Director


Partnerships that make the difference. 

The Chicago Architecture Foundation

The Chicago Architecture Foundation 224 South Michigan Avenue Chicago, Illinois, 60604…Continue

LISC Chicago

135 South LaSalle Street Suite 2230 Chicago, IL 60603 Phone: (312) 422-9550 Fax: (312)…Continue

The 741 Collaborative

The 741 Collaborative is a unique partnership of Chicago not-profit agencies that joined forces to… Continue

Chicago Botanic Garden “Green Youth Farm”

Walter Dyett High School 555 East 51st Street Chicago, IL. 60653… Continue

South East Chicago Commission

South East Chicago Commission 1511 East 53rd Street, 2nd Floor Chicago, IL 60615 (773) 324-6926… Continue

Genesis Housing Development Corporation

Greater Grand Crossing Office 7735 S. Vernon Ave Chicago, IL 60619 Office (773) 994.6670 Fax (773)… Continue

The Bronzeville Alliance

The Bronzeville Alliance is a group of Bronzeville residents and organizations committed to the…Continue

Urban Gateways

Center for Arts Education 205 W. Randolph, Suite #1700 Chicago, IL 60606 p: 312.922.0440 e:… Continue

Little Black Pearl The Art of Business

1060 East 47th Street Chicago, Illinois 60653 (773) 285-1211 Main (773) 285-1633 Fax …Continue

The Quad Communities Center for Working Families

4655 South King Drive, 2nd Floor Chicago, IL 60653 (773) 924-2205

QCDC Board of Directors

Shirley J. Newsome


Craig D. Jeffrey

Vice Chairperson
Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP

Gerald Beechum

Board Member
White Cornus Lane Investments

Fred Bonner

Board Member
Bonheur Development Corporation

Jacqueline Callery

Board Member
ETL Collaborative

Kimberly duBuclet

Board Member
Chicago Park District

Anthony Rodgers

Board Member
Resolution Design Group

Kenneth Grant

Board Member
Grant Construction, Inc

Belinda H. Burks-Starks
Community Resident

Kimberly du Buclet
Director of Legislative & Community Affairs
Chicago Park District

Fred Bonner
Bonheur Development Company

Kenneth Grant
Grant Construction, Inc.

Anthony Rogers
Development Manager
Granite Asset Management

Rhonda R. McFarland
Community Resident

Courtney Pogue
Deputy Director of Economic Development
Cook County

Mary Steward
Rehab Construction

Wendy Walker-Williams
Executive Director
South East Chicago Commission

Ina Wilson
Sandra Young
Toni Preckwinkle
Rebecca Holbrook