A Conversation about Neighborhood Economic Development
Meghan Harte, Jeff Bartow, Perry Gunn, Carlos Nelson
Thursday, May 31, 2018
Meghan Harte serves as the executive director of the Chicago office of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). A national leader in comprehensive community development, LISC Chicago’s mission is to connect neighborhoods to the resources they need to become stronger and healthier.
Harte oversees a professional staff of 15, an active real estate loan portfolio, and an annual organizational budget of $8 million. Prior to joining LISC Chicago, Harte served as Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Deputy Chief of Staff. Previous to working in the Mayor’s office, Harte was Vice President at AECOM. She also served as the Managing Director of Resident Services for the Chicago Housing Authority. Harte served as a deputy chief of staff for Mayor Richard M. Daley and held positions surrounding the 1996 Democratic National Convention and the 2012 NATO Host Committee.
Harte holds a B.S. degree from Vanderbilt University and received her JD from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She serves on the Chicago Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, is on the board of Special Children's Charities Chicago and is a volunteer coach at ABC Pilsen.
Jeff Bartow has been organizing in the Chicago metropolitan area since 1989 after spending 10 years organizing in Fort Worth, Texas. Bartow has been a resident of Southwest Chicago since 1992. He joined the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) as Executive Director in September 2002. Prior to becoming the Executive Director of SWOP, he served as the executive director of the Interfaith Leadership Project of Cicero, Berwyn and Stickney for nearly a decade.
Perry L. Gunn has served as the Executive Director of Teamwork Englewood since July 2014. Teamwork Englewood (TWE) is a 15-year old community based organization that was created by LISC-Chicago under the New Communities Program to work with stakeholders to improve the quality of life in the community.
TWE provides a range of programs, including re-entry services for the ex-offender population, technology training for youth and families, mentoring and restorative justice, public safety and violence prevention activities. Prior to joining Teamwork Englewood, Gunn served was the Executive Director of North River Commission, Vice President of Operations at the YMCA of Chicago, Chief Operating Officer at Urban Gateways, Executive Director of Leap Learning Systems and Regional Executive Director with the Chicago Youth Centers.
Gunn holds a Master’s of Arts degree from Northeastern Illinois University and a Bachelor’s of Science degree from George Williams College. He is a Fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago, and serves as the Vice President of the National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI) Chicago Affiliate.
Carlos Nelson is the CEO/Executive Director of the Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation a position he has held since January 2003. Since then, Nelson has grown the organization from a one-person operation to a staff of nearly thirty full-time and part-time associates; with over 100 volunteers helping the organization carry out its mission of fostering and promoting the revitalization of all or parts of the underserved communities of Auburn Gresham, Englewood, Greater Grand Crossing, Washington Heights, and West Chatham on Chicago’s south side.
Nelson serves on several committees, advisory councils and boards including the Local School Council for Richard J. Oglesby Elementary School, Advisory Board of the Chicago Development Fund, board of directors for Chicagoland Habitat for Humanity, board of directors of MAPSCorps, Inc., and the board of directors for Greater Chatham Initiative. Nelson also co-chairs the 006th Police District’s Business Subcommittee. and is a recipient of the Norm Bobbins Emerging Leaders Award.
Nelson holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and since leaving corporate America in 2003 to lead the small, upstart not-for-profit he has used comprehensive community development strategies to impact and improve the quality of life of south side residents.