Credit: David McDowell, Southwest Organizing Project

2609 W. 63rd

Since 1996, SWOP has been aiding residents of Chicago Lawn, an area of the southwest side that’s suffered from predatory lending and epidemic foreclosures. With SWOP’s assistance, 500 families have saved their homes, and a present campaign aspires to help people reclaim some of the neighborhood’s many vacant properties. The group also promotes parent engagement in schools and sponsors a CeaseFire program. In February, the MacArthur Foundation recognized SWOP’s work with an Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. SWOP’s office on 63rd Street is cramped—its staff has grown from two at its founding to 15 today—and the group will use some of the $750,000 MacArthur grant for a larger headquarters.