Michael Bennett lives in Chicago and hails from Sandusky, Ohio, where he began his social justice and community organizing activities. He has been a community organizer, a banker, a teacher and researcher in the fields of urban and rural community organizing and economic development. Prior to moving to Chicago in 1970, he served as youth organizer and subsequently as executive director of the Community Action Council of Portage County in Ohio. Even before he had the terminology to describe it, the ABCD approach informed his thinking and work. Now, he provides ABDC training to youth workers and a range of community development practitioners throughout the United States. At DePaul University, Michael served as executive director of the Monsignor John J. Egan Urban Center (EUC) from 1997-2008. Currently, he is a faculty in DePaul’s Department of Sociology where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses that focus on urban planning, community development, economic and social policy, and issues of race and ethnicity. He has degrees from Kent State University (BA 1968), and the University of Chicago (AM 1972 and PhD 1988).
Before joining DePaul, Michael taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago under a joint appointment to the Jane Addams College of Social Work and the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs. He also has taught in the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, at Columbia College in Chicago and at The University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Over a 23-year period, he held several positions with the Shorebank Corporation in Chicago and Arkansas: president of The Neighborhood Institute, a non-profit community development corporation affiliated with ShoreBank in Chicago; vice-president of South Shore Bank; and vice-president of the holding company, ShoreBank Corp. For 18 years, Michael served on the board of Shared Interest, an international guaranty fund that along with its Johannesburg affiliate, the Thembani International Guaranty Fund, provides financing and technical assistance to micro and small indigenous enterprises in South Africa.
Michael conducts research and is active in the field of community economic development, internationally. Among his publications are “The Political and Civic Implications of Chicago’s Unsuccessful Bid to Host the 2016 Olympic Games,” Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Volume 37, Issue 4, November 2013, pages 364–83 (with L. Bennett, S. Alexander, and J. Persky); “Community Empowerment” and “Harold Washington: Chicago Mayor 1983-1987” in Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Society (2008), Sage Publications, Richard T. Schaefer (ed.), 2008; Economic Development in American Cities: The Pursuit of An Equity Agenda (co-edited with Robert Giloth), State University of New York Press 2007; and The New Chicago: A Social and Cultural Analysis (co-edited with John Koval, et.al), Temple University Press, 2006.