A South Side pastor camps anew to continue the fundraising of his planned 89,000 square-foot community resource center.
WGNTV reported that New Beginnings Church Senior Pastor Corey Brooks of Chicago, Illinois is now setting his eyes to raise $35 million for his Leadership Economic Opportunity Center, which is located in Cooks County. The center will be operated by his organization Project Helping Others Obtain Destiny (H.O.O.D.) Communities Development Corporation. Brooks returned to his camping site on Easter Sunday with hopes that funding will continuously come in.
"I envision the students and going to the courts shooting hoops with the kids, that keeps me going. I can only imagine the day we finally cut the tape and everyone can walk in and see this facility on the South Side of Chicago. It's going to be amazing," Brooks told WGNTV.
As previously reported, Brooks camped atop shipping containers from November 20, 2021 to February 28 in protest of the rising gun violence in the city. The Project H.O.O.D. founder and CEO's sacrifice of enduring 100 days under the cold weather enabled him to raise more than $11 million for his center. The pastor's camping was slightly interrupted when his mother died.
The Leadership Economic Opportunity Center intends to counteract the negative situation of the community it belongs, which is one of violence, drugs, and prostitution. The center aims to make the neighborhood a safe place for everyone by providing trauma services, a children's shelter, and teen programming. It also will be equipped with a schoolroom and sports facilities.
According to a video from a pinned post on Brooks' Twitter account, the center will allow Project H.O.O.D. to expand its work, particularly its construction and hospitality work. Brooks explained they need a place where they can teach entrepreneurship, where they can provide trauma counseling to victims of violence and criminal acts, and an office for their violence prevention team. He stressed that the center would be a place where children can be free just to be children. The center is "going to be an exciting place to transform the community."
Brooks, who calls himself the RoofTopPastor on social media, announced on Twitter on Monday that he is on Day 148 of being back in his tent on the rooftop. He urged the public to help him raise the lacking $24 million of his targetted amount for the center. The post included a link to a statement that explains his personal motives for pursuing the fundraiser.
"I returned to the roof yesterday after the Easter service because my mother told me to finish what we started. I hope you will help us increase awareness about the violence on Chicago's south side. Together, we can change this reality for so many young people by building the Project H.O.O.D. Leadership and Economic Opportunity Center. These young people are not lost or forgotten," Brooks disclosed.
Brooks also revealed that an anonymous Michigan business owner has offered a $250,000 gift match for the center. The pastor said the matching challenge will run for 30 days. Brooks highlighted the help they need from the public for the challenge and for them to finish what they started.
Project H.O.O.D. was established a decade ago to break the cycle of violence, poverty, and incarceration in Chicago. It has served more than 2,500 adults and 1,500 at-risk youth in Englewood, Woodland, and nearby areas through 15 different programs focused on community and individual transformation.