Corridor Ambassador program
The Department of Planning and Development’s Corridor Ambassador program is enabling community-based organizations to enhance their support for commercial corridors across Chicago.
The program involves partnership with organizations that will work with the City to hire and train community members to serve as ambassadors, creating a visible, welcoming presence at neighborhood commercial centers for residents and visitors.
In the course of their work, ambassadors are expected to:
- Actively engage pedestrians by greeting people, sharing directions and providing escorts.
- Discuss and address public safety priorities.
- Share information on upcoming programming and activities.
- Connect with public safety resources, including the Chicago Police Department, on security and safety needs.
In February 2023, DPD issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking additional organizations interested in participating in the Corridor Ambassador program. Awards were anticipated up to $235,000 per commercial corridor. Contracts with selected organizations were expected to be signed by May 2023, allowing for ambassador recruiting and training prior to ambassadors being active on the corridor by June 2023. The expected contract end date is December 31, 2023.
Participating organizations and service areas
In May 2022, the City announced ten initial organizations participating in the corridor ambassador program:
- Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council — Ashland Avenue and 47th Street
- Bright Star Community Outreach — 35th Street and King Drive
- Centers for New Horizons — 63rd and Halsted streets
- Greater Chatham Initiative — East 79th Street
- Magnificent Mile Association — Magnificent Mile and River North; Central Loop
- Northwest Side Housing Center — Belmont, Diversey, Fullerton and Grand avenues
- Puerto Rican Cultural Center — North Avenue
- St. Sabina — West 79th Street
- Uptown United — Broadway, Sheridan Road and Argyle Street
- Westside Health Authority — Madison Street and Pulaski Road; Chicago Avenue
Grants will total up to $5 million budgeted citywide for the program’s initial year. The ambassadors began their work in June 2022.
To maximize their impact, ambassadors will coordinate with Chicago Public School’s Safe Passage program, which provides a trusted adult presence for students traveling to and from schools, and refer to local service providers as needed. They will also work with their local Chicago Police Department district, as well as Chambers of Commerce, Special Service Area managers, and other entities that are supporting Mayor Lightfoot’s INVEST South/West community revitalization initiative and community safety initiatives.
Participating organizations were selected through a DPD Request for Proposals (RFP) issued in March 2022. To qualify for the program, corridors were required to be located in low- or moderate-income community areas or community areas that experienced a 15% or greater decline in activity following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Corridor Ambassador program is part of the Chicago Recovery Plan’s ambitious $1.2 billion strategy for equitable economic recovery and support for thriving and safe communities.