Main Graphic.png

…for every member of the North Lawndale community

…for real alternatives to unemployment and incarceration

…for racial equity and economic opportunity

Main Graphic.png

Dear Neighbors,



Over the last 16 years, North Lawndale Employment Network (NLEN) placed nearly 2,700 low-income job seekers in employment and hired nearly 500 transitional workers through our social enterprise Sweet Beginnings, LLC. We are honored to help the most vulnerable residents gain skills and confidence to support their families and move towards economic prosperity. As we remain committed to our strategic goal to reduce the unemployment rate in North Lawndale by 10 percent in five years, we are pleased to share our vision to create a new campus for NLEN. We have launched The Campaign That Works to raise funds to purchase and redevelop the property at 1111 S. Homan Ave. in 2019-2020.




















Our plan is to bring together our employment training programs, financial opportunity center and Sweet Beginnings, LLC beelove® honey products business, which now operate at five different locations in our community and throughout Chicagoland, in one new campus. NLEN is committed to creating a campus that will be a welcoming and useful place for everyone in North Lawndale. Initial plans for the campus include dedicated spaces for NLEN’s programs and administration; training space for NLEN and other community organizations; a production space for Sweet Beginnings, LLC’s beelove® honey and honey-infused skin care products; a rooftop apiary for beekeeping; a new Worker Bee Cafe; space for pop-up stores for local entrepreneurs; a community bank with drive-thru service (in partnership with Wintrust); a community event space; a peace garden and fountain; and a large parking lot.

Cafe Rendering.JPG
Campus Second Floor.JPG
Campus First Floor.JPG
Campus Entry Rendering.JPG
Main Graphic.png
Main Graphic.png
Main Graphic.png

Giving Opportunities

Through the generous support of friends like you, North Lawndale Employment Network can make critical infrastructure investments, increase its impact, and create hope and opportunity for individuals seeking alternatives to unemployment and incarceration.



All donors to The Campaign That Works will be recognized on our website and a permanent donor recognition display at the new NLEN campus.

  • Any gift can be made as a memorial or honorary donation.

  • Campaign gifts may be made as outright gifts of cash or securities or as planned gifts, all of which must conform to NLEN’s gift acceptance policy. A supporter 65 years of age or older may receive credit for a confirmed bequest provision or a gift in the form of a life income trust.

  • A gift of real estate or personal tangible property will be credited at the appraised value of the gift at the time it is made.

  • Donors wishing to restrict their gifts to specific purposes should explain so in writing when the gift is made.


Cash – Most campaign gifts are paid through cash (i.e. by check, wire transfer or credit card). Cash gifts are typically the easiest gifts for supporters to make and for the organization to receive. Monthly bank draft through a bank account or debit card is also an option.


Securities – Appreciated assets such as stocks and bonds are a great way to give. Compared with donating cash, or selling your appreciated securities and contributing the after-tax proceeds, you may be able to automatically increase your gift and your tax deduction.


Other Types of Gifts – The following types of gifts will be considered, in accordance with our gift acceptance policy, and may offer tax advantages to the donor:

  • Real Estate

  • Tangible Personal Property

  • Life Insurance

  • Charitable Lead Trusts


Legacy Brick and Bench Program 

Launching August 1st, 2020

This program is designed to offer a lower cost and accessible means for individuals, community members, alumni, former board and staff members, organizations and stakeholders to have a lasting imprint on NLEN and Sweet Beginnings.

Donors will have the opportunity to invest in the capital campaign and new NLEN campus by purchasing: 

  • A standard brick for $150 or a paver brick at $300.00

  • Designer bench for $3,000 that will have the names of their family, members, loved one or a message engraved.

The bench will be functional art - NLEN will commission the School of the Art Institute to design and paint these benches for beautification and a comfortable place to sit in the Walled Peace Garden.

North Lawndale Employment Network (FEIN 36-4295189) is a tax-exempt charitable organization as described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.


Your contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.


To learn more about giving opportunities, please contact:


Brenda Palms Barber, President & CEO

(773) 638-1805


Dr. Michael McAfee, Board President

(312) 498-5443


Jessica Butler, Chief Development Officer

(630) 379-6907