C3EN Members West Side United and Rush University Medical Center Part of Collaborative Leading Village Development

By Irene Hsiao

This January, the Pritzker Traubert Foundation awarded Sankofa Wellness Village in West Garfield Park the 2022 Chicago Prize. Sankofa Wellness Village, a collaborative community-led initiative in West Garfield Park, is the second recipient of the Chicago Prize of $10 million over 5 years to invest in community leadership and community-led plans to create economic opportunities on Chicago’s South and West sides. Sankofa is an ancient Ghanaian Akan concept that means “to move forward, we must first go back and recover the valuable things we lost.

Central to the plan is the development of the Sankofa Village Wellness Center, which will provide health care and wellness programs and before- and after-school care to residents of West Garfield Park. Sankofa Wellness Village will also include a new credit union, the MAAFA Center for Arts and Activism, a facility for entrepreneurial support called the K, and a community grocer initiative to provide pop-up grocery markets for fresh, healthy food.

“In choosing this remarkable project, we were struck by the enormous disparity between life expectancies in West Garfield Park compared to other parts of our city,” said Bryan Traubert, co-founder and trustee of the Pritzker Traubert Foundation.

The average life expectancy of the 17,433 residents of West Garfield Park is 69 years–one of the lowest in the city, according to Dr. David Ansell, C3EN Community Engagement Core co-director and senior vice president of community health equity at Rush University Medical Center. In contrast, residents of the Loop live an average of 85 years.

Congratulations to C3EN Community Based Research Network partner West Side United and Rush University Medical Center, members of the Garfield Park Rite to Wellness Collaborative (GPRWC), a group of residents, faith-based and health care institutions, nonprofits and other stakeholders that will lead the plan to develop Sankofa Wellness Village!