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History and Mission

LSNA sign

Founded in 1962, LSNA is a nonprofit, multi-issue, grassroots community organization serving the multi-ethnic communities of Logan Square and the Lathrop Homes area of Chicago.

Its mission is to convene networks of neighbors, schools, businesses, social service agencies, faith communities, and other organizations to collaborate for thriving communities in Logan Square, Avondale, and Lathrop Homes. LSNA is committed to empowering and maintaining these communities as diverse, safe, and affordable neighborhoods in which to live and work, learn and grow.

Collectively, LSNA represents thousands of residents. These neighbors also belong to LSNA member institutions that include churches, schools, block clubs, multi-unit buildings, and social service agencies. The members of LSNA are very diverse—men, women, young, and old, Latino, African-American, and White—with incomes ranging from moderate to very low. For the most part they speak one or both of two languages—Spanish and English.

Within this context, LSNA develops local leadership to identify, strategize, and organize around significant community issues that impact their lives such as affordable housing, school reform, living-wage jobs, land-use and zoning, economic development, health care, and neighborhood safety.

Since 1994, LSNA's work has been directed by its Holistic Plan. This plan is revised each year by the community and contains 8 strategies on the community's key concerns: building organizational capacity; affordable housing and foreclosure prevention; health, wellness, and open space; education and community schools; industrial retention and jobs; youth and restorative justice; safety; and immigrants rights.

Recent national recognition includes:

A Cord of Three Strands: A New Approach to Parent Engagement in Schools, a highly positive ethnography of LSNA’s parent engagement work by Wellesley Professor Soo Hong, was published March 2011 by Harvard Education Press.

Also published March 2011, Grow Your Own Teachers:  Grassroots Change for Teacher Education is an analysis of the development of LSNA’s Grow Your Own (GYO) program and its transformation into a state-wide and state-funded initiative with 16 sites and 500 teacher candidates. 

In February 2010, the Illinois House of Representatives passed House Resolution No. 925 to “honor Nancy Aardema, Executive Director of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA) in Chicago, for her twenty years of service to LSNA.” 

In 2010-2011, LSNA’s housing work generated coverage in the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, The Huffington Post, La Raza, and on Chicago Public Radio.

 LSNA’s Active Living Logan Square Partnership was covered by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (December 2009). 

In December 2009, Annenberg listed LSNA as one of 12 examples of “Communities Building Smart Education Systems.”

In October 2009, LSNA’s Monroe Community Learning Center won the Dimon Distinguished Community Schools Award.