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Loyola launches Lake Shore Community Partners

Loyola launches Lake Shore Community Partners

Loyola has been working for years with area schools, including Nicholas Senn High School (above). “The University’s presence can be felt throughout our school building,” said Mary Beck, interim principal at Senn, “and our community is stronger for it.” (Photo: Natalie Battaglia)

Loyola on Monday announced the launch of Lake Shore Community Partners, an innovative program that builds on the University’s existing relationships within Rogers Park and Edgewater. The initiative will focus on four priorities—health, business, education, and safety—and work to improve the quality of life for area residents through economic and social efforts.


Loyola’s Plan 2020 is a five-year roadmap to guide the University and promote social justice. This story falls into several of the strategic priorities outlined in the plan. Learn more here.

The program is a key part of Loyola’s Plan 2020, a five-year roadmap that promotes social justice and aims to build a more just, humane, and sustainable world.

“Plan 2020 is rooted in our commitment to address complex societal problems locally and globally,” said John P. Pelissero, PhD, interim president of Loyola University Chicago. “With the creation of Lake Shore Community Partners, we have a clear opportunity to leverage our resources and join with community leaders to implement innovative ideas and strategies, while embracing and sustaining the cultural and economic diversity of our neighborhoods.”

Leaders from Loyola and the community, including neighborhood aldermen Joe Moore (49th Ward) and Harry Osterman (48th Ward), will work together on the initiative. Below are highlights from each of the four priorities.

Partners for Health

The Loyola Community and Family Services clinic is the anchor project for Partners for Health. The clinic, which will provide low-cost mental health services to families in Rogers Park and Edgewater, is housed in the University’s Granada Center on Sheridan Road. It was developed by a number of Loyola partners, including the School of Social Work and the School of Education.

“There is a great need for mental health services across our city, but it is especially needed on the far north side,” said Richard Renfro, PhD, director of the new clinic. “Very few mental health clinics cater to marginalized families and children. My hope is that this clinic sends a strong and positive message that Loyola is committed to the needs and well-being of all our community members.”

In addition to helping neighborhood families and children, the clinic also will be a training facility for graduate students within the School of Education and the School of Social Work. Starting in the fall, student externs will spend half of their time at the clinic and the other half working at schools in the area, such as Nicholas Senn High School, the clinic’s first school partner.

The clinic will open to the public later this month and be fully operational in fall 2016. Community partners and the public are invited to join Loyolans for a tour of the facility and a staff meet and greet on Thursday, April 7, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Learn more about the clinic at LUC.edu/lcfs.

Partners for Business

Loyola’s Department of Community Relations will work with neighborhood leaders to spur economic development around the University. One key component of the plan is to help develop and promote “RogersEdge,” the retail district near Devon Avenue, Sheridan Road, and Broadway that bridges Rogers Park and Edgewater.

“I am passionate about economic development that respects the historic culture of our Rogers Park and Edgewater communities, while balancing incoming development into RogersEdge,” said Jennifer Clark, associate vice president of campus and community planning at Loyola. “I look forward to kicking off a local branding and marketing effort with both neighborhoods that will help put in place an economic infrastructure to serve future generations.”

The University also will offer short-term leases to help local businesses open “tiny shops” in the Granada Center. The first small shops are Third Coast Comics and Local Goods Chicago; both businesses will share retail space at 6443 N. Sheridan Road. Third Coast Comics opened in early March, and Local Goods Chicago will open in April. A grand opening celebration will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, April 8.

“Loyola has been exceedingly supportive in aiding our mission to cultivate and sustain a vibrant community in Rogers Park,” said Sandi Price, executive director of the Rogers Park Business Alliance. “We anticipate the continued development and promotion of RogersEdge to be an inventive way to increase retail options in our neighborhood.”

Partners for Education

Loyola has deep relationships in dozens of K-12 schools across Chicago, including more than 50 current initiatives in Rogers Park and Edgewater schools. To kick off the Partners for Education program, the University will invite local principals and community organizations to discuss needs and develop new initiatives that can broaden Loyola’s involvement in these schools.

“As an educational institution ourselves, Loyola is committed to utilizing our relationships and leveraging our resources to support the children located in our backyard,” said Terri Pigott, PhD, dean of Loyola’s School of Education. “We have hundreds of students, faculty, and staff working and volunteering in classrooms across the city, and we will continue to support the efforts of local K-12 teachers and administrators while identifying new ways we can all be more effective.”

One example of how Loyola can lend its resources to the community is the work that has occurred at Nicholas Senn High School for the last four years.

“We consider our relationship with Loyola to be a true partnership,” said Mary Beck, interim principal at Senn. “Our students are learning from Loyola students, Loyola students are learning from our teachers, and our teachers are learning from Loyola faculty members. The University’s presence can be felt throughout our school building, and our community is stronger for it.”

Partners for Safety

The fourth part of the community partnership, Partners for Safety, began earlier this year with a State of the Neighborhood Forum. Members of Loyola’s Campus Safety department joined Alderman Moore and representatives from the Chicago Police Department and Chicago Transit Authority to discuss existing safety initiatives in the area and to address questions from the audience. Moving forward, Loyola will work with these groups and others on more safety programs for the neighborhood.


Loyola and community leaders expect additional initiatives and projects to grow under the Lake Shore Community Partners umbrella. The local community will have a number of opportunities to work with the program, which will offer a formal request-for-proposals process in the future.

For now, anyone interested in getting involved with the program can contact Jennifer Clark, associate vice president of campus and community planning, at jclark7@luc.edu. You can learn more about the program at LUC.edu/lscp.