McKinley Park Native Gery Chico Plots Next Steps, Community Improvements as LISC Board Chair

Published June 20, 2019

Gery Chico Chicago LISC board chair headshot 201906New Chicago LISC Board Chair Gery ChicoCommunity organizer and former Chicago mayoral candidate Gery Chico has moved to a new role that he hopes engenders the opportunities and community he enjoyed as a child growing up in the McKinley Park neighborhood, he said. Now serving as the new board chair for Chicago's Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Chico is spearheading efforts to help neighborhoods inspire commercial development, engage in community planning and support youth programs.

"I understand what neighborhoods need, especially when they’re being invested in," Chico said, pointing to the local investment a LISC can help inspire. “I want people to think when they’re older, 'Wow, I really had a nice experience growing up in that neighborhood, and it enables me to do what I do today.'"

Chico, who resided as a child at 3323 South Ashland Avenue, said growing up in McKinley Park and other Chicago neighborhoods is what inspired him to get involved in public service and community advocacy. His move to work with Chicago's LISC is his next step following his unsuccessful campaign for mayor, he said.

“I don’t think whether you win or lose a campaign makes issues become any less relevant,” Chico said. “You’ve got to stay focused, and I think LISC offers a really nice way for me to continue to build up our city.”

The Chicago LISC is a non-profit organization that provides support, funds, expertise and other resources to community organizations across Chicago. It's a part of the nationwide LISC program, which works with 32 cities and hundreds of rural communities, primarily in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. The Chicago LISC has been active since 1980 and counts dozens of successful development, planning and community support projects among its accomplishments.

As board chair, Chico said his priorities will focus on boosting commercial business development at the community level, supporting youth and recreational programs that prevent and reduce violence, and helping neighborhoods create their own "blueprints for the future" through quality-of-life planning.

Chico has served in many past public service roles, including as chair of the Illinois State Board of Education, board chairman for City Colleges of Chicago, board president of the Chicago Park District, president of the Chicago Board of Education and chief of staff to Mayor Richard M. Daley. He is also an attorney and partner at his law firm, Chico & Nunes, P.C.

More information about the Chicago LISC is available on its website at www.lisc.org/chicago. The organization can be contacted by emailing LISC-Chicago@lisc.org or calling (312) 422-9550.

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