From: Linda Bendixen
Date: January 31
Subject: Steans Center Newsletter - January 2023

January 2023

News from the Steans CenterEgan Office, and ABCD Institute at DePaul University.

Upcoming Events

Thursday, February 2, 10 a.m. - Noon
Faculty Workshop - Diversified Approaches to Reflection

Thursday, February 9, 10 a.m. - Noon 
Faculty Workshop - Negotiating Identity in the Classroom and the Community

Friday, February 10, noon
Community Partner Orientation via Zoom

Friday, February 24, noon
Community Partner Orientation via Zoom

Click on the links below for information on upcoming events at Member Organizations

Celebrate 125 Years of Community Engagement in Collaboratory

During this celebratory year as DePaul commemorates 125 years of service to community, explore how faculty, staff and students are engaging in service with 300+ community partners captured in Collaboratory.  Collaboratory is a powerful tool for demonstrating our continuing commitment to DePaul’s Vincentian mission, allowing us to document and research our community engagement through teaching, research and service.  Search the community engagement and public service work occurring with these community partners and organizations located in Chicago, the United States and internationally, as well as the focus areas and populations being impacted. Log on today using your campus connect password and add your engagement activities.   Click here to read the full article on Collaboratory at the Steans Center website.  If you have any questions, please contact Collaboratory Administrator Barbara Smith at

Bidding farewell to our beloved co-founder, Jody Kretzmann

It is with a heavy heart that we share that our beloved co-founder and mentor to so many, Jody Kretzmann has passed away. Jody snuck in one more holiday season before departing. In his final days, Jody was surrounded by family, absorbing their love, prayers and comforting presence.

Jody Kretzmann and John McKnight started the ABCD Institute in the early 1990's after four years of research that culminated in the publication of their best selling community development book, Building Communities from the Inside Out. Over many years Jody traveled the globe introducing ABCD concepts and fueling the spread of the ABCD movement worldwide. As vice president of the ABCD Board in  2016, Jody was integral in the transition of the Institute into a non-profit organization and its move to its current home at DePaul University in Chicago. 

Beyond his ABCD work, and the many who came to know and love him through that work, Jody will also be remembered as a gifted teacher by his Northwestern students, a talented writer, a community organizer and community development leader in Chicago and most of all as a loving father, husband, brother and brother-in-law. 

Jody's ability to see the gifts in individuals even when they couldn't themselves, to identify and value the assets that exist in all communities along with his welcoming, warm spirit was a gift to this world. 

We are sure Jody has touched many of your lives, and invite you to share a memory or story about Jody here.  The ABCD Institute exists, and we are all able to be connected to one another in our life's work due to the dedication and tenacity of John and Jody. You can find a note from John on Jody's passing here

Service Learning Coordinator Wanted

Our team is in the process of hiring a Service Learning Coordinator (SLC). The SLC supports the logistics of service-learning students enrolled in Community-based service learning courses and serves as a liaison between the Steans Center and service-learning students. They collaborate with faculty and the Academic Service Leaning department staff.  Click here to see the full job posting.  Please contact David Pintor if you have any questions.

Course Spotlight:  HST 244 - Community Engagement and Chicago Histories

In HST 244, his course connected with the history of DePaul University, Dr. Aaron Lefkovitz of the Department of History partnered with the Back of the Yards College Preparatory High School to share political, cultural, and economic lessons with students and information with the Packingtown Museum. 
Students in Lefkovitz’s pilot course, HST 244: Community Engagement and Chicago Histories: Back of the Yards, met with Back of the Yards College Preparatory High School students every Friday, listening to speakers from the neighborhood and engaging in meaningful conversations while learning more about Back of the Yards historical and present economic, political, and cultural dynamics. The Back of the Yards neighborhood used to be home to Chicago’s union stockyards and  meatpacking factories. It was and is also a politically active area due to its blend of working class residents and progressive activists who are working to build on the assets of the community, hearkening back to the work of organizers Saul Alinksy and DePaul's own Father Jack Egan. 
At the conclusion of the course, DePaul students and Back of the Yards College Preparatory High School students collaborated with the neighborhood’s Packingtown Museum to contribute to its historical timeline and to identify ways that local, state, and federal governments impact Back of the Yards. 

If you would like to know more about this course, or how to include community engagement with your courses, contact Helen Damon-Moore at

Join a Spring Community of Practice

Communities of Practice (CoPs) provide a unique opportunity for Campus Compact members to join peers across the country to dig deeper into specific areas of engagement practice. Through discussions, joint activities, resource sharing, and relationship building, participants develop a repertoire of resources, skills, and knowledge to use in their practice. Above all, the CoPs provide a great space to communicate and share strategies with like-minded individuals from all across the country!

Future-Proofing the Food System

The Chicago Food Policy Action Council (CFPAC) is hosting the 18th Annual Chicago Food Justice Summit in partnership with Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events (DCASE). The summit will be hosted virtually on February 8-9, and in-person February 10.  Register here!

This event is free. Spanish translation, American Sign Language interpretation, and accessible accommodations will be provided. All sessions will be recorded.

This year’s summit will feature: 

  • Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) farmers, organizations, and leaders who are fighting for an equitable transition to a radically-reimagined food system
  • Three days of curated panels, workshops, video roundtables, and interactive sessions from food justice leaders based in the Midwest 
  • A virtual expo featuring local businesses and organizations dedicated to building a more resilient food system in Illinois
  • A raffle featuring prizes from local farms and food businesses to generate excitement about Chicagoland’s local food system 

Click here for more details.

Contact Us

Have comments or questions? Please email Executive Director Howard Rosing.
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