Northern Seminary Celebrates Sankofa Wellness Village as the Recipient of the $10 Million Pritzker Traubert Foundation Chicago Prize

Chicago IL, January 18, 2023 – Northern Seminary celebrates the announcement that the Sankofa Wellness Village in West Garfield Park is the 2022 recipient of the Pritzker Traubert Foundation’s $10 million Chicago Prize.

In 2019, Dr. Marshall Hatch Sr., Professor of Ministry at Northern Seminary, gathered with others from The Leaders Network, New Mount Pilgrim Church, Rush Medical Center, the MAAFA Redemption Project, West Side United, the YMCA, the Institute for Non-Violence, and Erie Family Health Centers to form The Garfield Park Rite to Wellness Collaborative to change the narrative of Garfield Park, which had, for the past 50 years, had very little capital investment. The lack of jobs and access to good healthcare and educational centers, coupled with an increase in violence, segregation, and racism, led to a 13-year life expectancy gap between the Chicago Loop and Garfield Park (which are separated by less than six miles). West Garfield Park is home to more than 17,000 people.

However, in 2019, that changed when the diverse groups formed with the purpose to create hope and victory for the community. Plans began for the Sankofa Wellness Village – which included a 50,000-square-foot wellness center with a health clinic, gym and exercise facility; early childhood programs; a community-owned credit union; support for small businesses; trauma-informed health care; and other services.

Receiving the $10 million grant will allow groundbreaking on the wellness center to commence later this year and for residents to have the foundational resources necessary to thrive.

“We envisioned Sankofa Wellness Village as an extension of the ministry of New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in West Garfield Park,” Hatch Sr. said. “Inspired by the intersections of first century church history, black church traditions, and the south-to-north Great Migration legacies of African Americans, our mission is to recreate the spirit of village in the heart of the city. We look forward to saving many souls as our community development ministry builds people and not just buildings. We praise God for winning the Chicago Prize!”

Dr. William Shiell, President of Northern Seminary, added, “We are thrilled to celebrate this good news with Dr. Hatch and all those who are part of Sankofa Wellness Village. We are grateful for a faculty that not only teach well but are also engaged in the work of congregational transformation in their neighborhoods. This is gospel-focused work in biblical justice. We pray that as resources are provided to help the people of West Garfield Park, that a spirit of hope would become the dominant narrative in this community.”

According to the Pritzker Traubert Foundation, “The Sankofa Wellness Village proposal reflects the highest aspirations of the Chicago Prize – an ambitious plan, a collaborative and capable team, and a thoughtful strategy to continue to build a strong West Garfield Park community. We are proud to partner with the Garfield Park Rite to Wellness Collaborative on this important undertaking in bridging the West Side of Chicago to a brighter future and invite others to do the same.

Read more about the Pritzker Traubert Foundation Chicago Prize here.

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