$25,000 / Spring 2017
Brian Malone, Executive Director
Founded in 1965 by community and religious leaders, the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO) has a 50-year track record of utilizing community organizing as its primary methodology to create change. Currently, KOCO is a multi-issue, membership-based organization, comprised of residents that guide and inform its organizational priorities. This one-year renewal grant will enable KOCO to organize youth and adults among low-income, predominantly Black residents in the southside neighborhoods of Chicago to improve the quality of neighborhood schools and increase high school graduation rates. KOCO parent and youth leaders have been organizing to demand the creation of an elected school board, stronger local school councils, and community-driven school transformation processes. Over the next year, KOCO will work to strengthen the ability of youth, parents, and community leaders to impact public policies and create systemic change within the Chicago Public School system and to strengthen local school governance in ten schools throughout Chicago, particularly in the north Kenwood and Oakland communities. KOCO will continue to advance the campaign for an elected representative school board and advocate for community-driven, sustainable schools locally and nationally. KOCO’s youth leaders will also continue their efforts to impact broader city-wide issues, including, but not limited to, police accountability, affordable housing, and job creation for youth.