Community Renewal Society

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April 16, 2013: Members of the Community Renewal Society from Chicago participate in a 'die-in' protest to stop gun violence and support legislation to stop illegal gun trafficking and stronger laws for gun registration, in front of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s office at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, via NEWSONE

As a Chicago-based "progressive, faith-based organization that works to eliminate race and class barriers," Community Renewal Society informs, organizes and trains both communities and individuals to advocate for social and economic justice."[1]

Founded in 1882 as the Chicago City Missionary Society, the organization evolved to what is today referred to as the Community Renewal Society, (CRS) "a faith-based organization that works with people and communities to address racism and poverty" and "transforms society towards greater justice and compassion."[2]


The Community Renewal Society is a progressive advocacy group that works with faith-based organizations to push their big government agenda.

Currently, the Community Renewal Society is promoting the following initiatives:

  • "Raise the individual income tax rate to 4.5%,"[3]
  • Pass four pieces of legislation that would removing barriers to employment in parks, schools and healthcare facilities for those with criminal records,[4]
  • Believes that police officers murder black Americans indiscriminately and without accountability and therefore supports legislation that would bring a "comprehensive solution to police accountability that includes changes to police oversight policies at the city and state level,"[5]
  • Oppose "mandatory minimum prison sentences or enhancements to Illinois’ harsh sentencing policies,"[6]
  • Support massive new investment in public housing using specific developing project proposals, the Gateway Development Project and the Cook County Hospital Market Rate Redevelopment projects,[7] and
  • Through the Reclaim Campaign, take public funds away from "Cook County criminal justice systems" and redirect them to vague "community-based Restorative Justice Peace Hubs, mental health and substance abuse alternatives."[8]


Catalyst launched in 1990 as a project of the Community Renewal Society and "covers issues of school reform". According to their website, Catalyst is an "independent news organization that serves as a watchdog and resource for school improvement in Chicago. We publish Catalyst In Depth, our quarterly, flagship newsmagazine; Catalyst In the Know, an occasional newsletter for parents; and breaking news and analysis on our website."[9]

The Chicago Reporter

A publication of the Community Renewal Society, The Chicago Reporter was "founded by civil rights activist John McDermott in 1972 to measure the city's progress toward racial equality." The Chicago Reporter is "a nonprofit investigative news organization that focuses on race, poverty and income inequality."[10]

Organizing Department

The Organizing Department of Community Renewal Society "uses the tools of congregational organizing to strengthen congregations, develop leaders and identify key issues affecting our community. CRS Organizers bring churches together in powerful actions and campaigns to affect change."[11]


Community Renewal Society believes "every resident in our region has the right to:"

  • Affordable housing
  • A high-quality education
  • Jobs that pay a living wage
  • A fair criminal justice system
  • Safe, vibrant neighborhoods
  • Redeem themselves in the public eye once they've paid their debt to society

To achieve our goal of a region that is free of race and class barriers, we:

  • Work purposefully on multiple issues, principally housing, jobs, education and criminal justice, because they are often intertwined
  • Work with a wide cross section of communities and leaders, engaging them in these critical issues
  • Examine and suggest improvements in current public practices
  • Expose the direct relationship between reducing social inequities and the long-term economic health of our region
  • Hold government accountable for its role in breaking down race and class barriers and making the region work for all of its residents[12]

Board of Directors

  • Jaquie Algee, Director of External Relations, Service Employees International Union Healthcare Illinois/Indiana/Missouri/Kansas (SEIU HCIIMK), Trinity UCC
  • Eddie Bocanegra, Co-Executive Director, YMCA, Youth and Safety Violence Prevention Program
  • Rev. Barbara Bolsen, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, The Night Ministry of Chicago, Epiphany UCC
  • Rev. Danielle Buhuro, Senior Pastor, Lincoln Memorial Congregational UCC
  • Rev. Bonnie Condon, Vice President, Faith Outreach Advocate Health Care, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
  • Rev. Jason Coulter, Pastor, Ravenswood United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Robbie Craig, Director of Kingdom Financial Principles, New Faith Baptist Church International, Matteson
  • Rev. George W. Daniels, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Congregational Church of Chicago
  • Dr. Sammie Dortch, Ed.D., Licensed Clinical Social Worker, University Church
  • Rev. Walstone Francis, Pastor, Shiloh Baptist Church
  • Rev. Dr. Larry Greenfield, Executive Minister, American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago
  • Minister Ronald Howell, Youth Minister, Metropolitan Community Church
  • Rev. Eddie Knox, Jr., D. Min., Pastor, Pullman Presbyterian Church
  • Rev. Jesse Knox, III, Senior Minister, Church of The Good Shepherd UCC
  • Alton Miller, Associate Professor of Public Relations Studies, Columbia College Chicago
  • Rev. Dr. Jorge Morales, Conference Minister, Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Liz Munoz, Vicar, Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de las Americas, Chicago
  • Richard Peterson, General Counsel, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, St. Pauls UCC
  • Rev. Vertie Powers, Associate Conference Minister, Chicago Metropolitan Association, Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ
  • Christina Rice, Lead Teller, Chase Bank North Riverside, Kingdom Baptist Church
  • Teleza Rodgers, Leader, FORCE, Way of Life Church International
  • Rev. Barbara Taylor, Pastor Emeritus, Glencoe Union Church
  • Melvin Thompson, Executive Director, The Endeleo Institute, Trinity United Church of Christ

CRS event

In 1999 the Chicago Community Renewal Society organized a CATALYST 10th Anniversary Prom, for Saturday, February 12, 2000, Grand Ballroom, Navy Pier;

Honorary Committee

Planning Committee

  • John Ayers, executive director Leadership for Quality Education
  • James Deanes, director CPS Office of School and Community Relations