President Preckwinkle Announces Partnership with United Way of Metro Chicago on $15 Million ‘Transforming Places’ Pilot Program

Erin Matthew

Cook County’s investment is the first outcome of the Cook County Equity Fund’s recommendation to pursue place-based, community-driven and sustainable economic development.

COOK COUNTY — (June 22, 2022) Last week, the Cook County Board of Commissioners approved a partnership with United Way of Metro Chicago to support a place-based investment strategy – the Transforming Places Pilot Program. The pilot will be funded by a $15 million investment from the Cook County Equity Fund and will also be supported by $500,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding. Cook County’s investment, the first outcome of the Cook County Equity Fund Report released in April, will support United Way’s Neighborhood Network Initiative, a community- and resident-driven place-based approach to neighborhood transformation.

“This first investment through the Equity Fund demonstrates our commitment to create more inclusive, sustainable, responsive and vital communities,” said President Preckwinkle. “Building up communities that have been historically left behind will require sustained, catalytic investments in people, businesses and the built environment. The Transforming Places Pilot represents our comprehensive, equitable approach to investment in underserved Cook County communities.”

The County’s investment significantly bolsters United Way’s Neighborhood Network Initiative by coordinating resources and programs in support of each neighborhood’s local plan. Each Neighborhood Network is led by a “community quarterback,” an established agency that brings together a coalition of organizations, local leaders and resources to develop a community vision and execute plans related to affordable housing, cradle-to-career education, family wrap-around services, economic development, business ownership, arts and culture. These place-based strategies leverage public, nonprofit and private funding and resources to implement locally driven change.

“We are thrilled to expand our reach and impact across the region in partnership with Cook County,” said Sean Garrett, President and CEO of United Way of Metro Chicago. “Broadening our Neighborhood Network Initiative in additional suburban Cook County communities strengthens our commitment to building a more equitable Chicago region and, together, with our community partners, helping all neighborhoods and families thrive.”

United Way’s Neighborhood Networks currently include Auburn Gresham, Austin, Blue Island/Robbins, Brighton Park, Bronzeville, Cicero, Englewood, Evanston, Far South, Garfield Park, Little Village, South Chicago and West Chicago. To learn more about United Way’s neighborhood work, visit

Through programs like the Transforming Places Pilot, the Cook County Equity Fund and Equity Fund Taskforce aim to reimagine and transform systems around justice, public safety, health, housing, economic opportunity, community development and social services to benefit Black and brown communities and proactively invest resources in solutions to achieve equitable outcomes.

Under the guidance of nearly 90 community partners, the inaugural Cook County Equity Fund Report highlights the Equity Fund’s goals, vision and purpose. The report outlines and memorializes the County’s financial equity commitments and includes the Equity Fund Taskforce’s recommendations on actions Cook County government should take to address structural barriers and support the advancement of equity across Cook County.

To view the Equity Fund Report in Spanish, click here.


News Rooms

Press Room

Media Contact