Member Spotlight: Northwest Center

Based in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, the Northwest Center is a community based non-profit organization that responds to the needs of the community through programs, services, and community organizing. They pride themselves in the many ways they engage, educate, and empower residents to make a difference in their community. Through housing counseling, financial literacy programs, and community activism, they’ve helped thousands of families on Chicago’s northwest side keep their homes, create financial opportunities, and grow as organizers and leaders.

In recent years, Northwest Center has expanded their youth programs, growing from serving 20 youth to nearly 300 actively engaged middle and high school students. The work addresses youth engagement and leadership in their community. An example of one of the youth programs is the Belmont Cragin Youth Leadership Council (BCYLC). This council meets for 15 hours per week to work on community organizing campaigns, tutoring, recreation, life skills, and social learning opportunities. Through issue framing and cutting to the issue, the council selected public transportation as the number one issue impacting their lives. They have identified interest in improving bicycle visibility and infrastructure, and increasing efficiency regarding the Chicago Transportation Authority buses servicing their community. 

One of the biggest youth organizing victories was the BCYLC’s campaign. It launched at the end of 2018 to bring affordable transportation to the community through advocating for bike lanes and Divvy low-cost rental bikes. The youth involved met with city Aldermen, Illinois legislators, and traveled to Washington D.C. to speak with Senator Richard Durbin, Congressman Danny Davis, and Senator Tammy Duckworth to discuss the campaign. Additionally, they participated in committees to discuss where potential Divvy stations should be placed, attended scooter pilot meetings, organized safety trainings on bikes and scooters, were interviewed by ABC-7 news about their transportation efforts, and won the 2019 Bright Promises Foundation ‘Elevating Youth Voices Fair’ competition granting $10,000 to purchase bus passes and new bicycles for low-income youth in the community. Since 2020, efforts from the BCYLC have supported the installation of a total of 15 miles of bike lanes and 13 Divvy stations in the community. 

When asked what they value about being a NABSA member, Northwest Center said, they value the relationships that they have been able to build through networking events and conferences along with the oasis of transportation resources that NABSA possesses and graciously shares.

To learn more about the Northwest Center, please visit