Aurie A. Pennick Papers

Dates: 1966-2016, bulk dates: 1982-2016
Size: 2 linear feet
Repository: Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, Special Collections, 400 S. State Street, Chicago, IL 60605
Collection Number: h00125
Provenance: Donated by Aurie A. Pennick, 2019 and 2020
Access: No restrictions. Please request materials at least 24-hours prior to your research visit.
Citation: When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is: Aurie A. Pennick Papers, [Box #, Folder #, Photograph#, Video#], Special Collections, Chicago Public Library
Processed by: Michelle McCoy, 2020

Biographical Note

Aurie A. Pennick, an attorney, retired in 2016 from the position of Executive Director and Treasurer of the Field Foundation of Illinois, Inc. where for over twelve years she was directly responsible for grant-making management and oversight for approximately sixty million dollars in foundation assets. From 1992 to 2002, Ms. Pennick was the President and CEO of the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities, the nation’s only fair housing organization founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr in 1966. From 1987 to 1992, Ms. Pennick was the Managing Attorney – Administration for the Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) Legal Department where among other administrative matters she oversaw Freedom of Information requests. Prior to joining the CTA’s Legal Department, Ms. Pennick was the Assistant Director for Special Grants with the MacArthur Foundation where she designed and implemented The Fund for Neighborhood Initiatives; a multi-million dollar grants program for small and emerging community organizations. Her work at the MacArthur Foundation is referenced in the book Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama by David Garrow. Ms. Pennick began her career in philanthropy at the Chicago Community Trust as the third Fellow and first female in the Trust’s Minority Fellowship Program and is referenced in the recently published book The Chicago Community Trust: A History of Its Development 1915-2015 by Frank Denman Loomis and Terry Mazany.

A native Chicagoan, Ms. Pennick received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in the Administration of Criminal Justice from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She later received her law degree from John Marshall Law School. Throughout her lengthy nonprofit career she has led several nonprofit organizations, including being the founding Executive Director of the Greenhouse Shelter, the city’s first battered women’s shelter. For almost twenty years, Ms. Pennick was an adjunct instructor at the then Spertus Institute: Masters of Human Services Administration where she taught courses on the laws impacting nonprofits; strategic planning and board development. Ms. Pennick also taught a Fair Housing course at DePaul University.

From her work in fair housing in 2005, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development invited Ms. Pennick to speak at their national conference held in Atlanta in observance of the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act. With regards to housing Ms. Pennick co-authored a chapter on affordable housing in the book, New Chicago, published by Temple Press in 2006.

Ms. Pennick has been the recipient of numerous awards and appointments which include the following:

  • 1984: appointed to the Chicago Police Board by Mayor Washington.
  • 1996: appointed by HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros to the Official U.S. Delegation for the Habitat II Global Conference on Cities in Istanbul, Turkey.
  • 2002: awarded Aspen Institute Fellowship.
  • 2003: received the Human Relations Award by the Chicago Commission on Human Relations.
  • 2006: received the Handy Lindsey Jr. Award and Lecture on Inclusiveness in Philanthropy by the Chicago African Americans in Philanthropy.
  • 2006-2008: appointed to the White House Fellowship Regional Selection Panel.
  • 2010: received the Civic Engagement and Community Service Award from UIC’s Gender and the Women’s Studies Program, as well as, the Jane Addams Women of Valor Award from the Jane Addams Hull House Association.
  • 2012: received the Chicago Women in Philanthropy; Making a Difference Award.
  • 2013: appointed Chair of the now dismantled Cook County Violence Prevention, Intervention and Reduction Advisory Committee, by Cook County Board President. In this position Ms. Pennick was responsible for the development and implementation of the process by which Cook County distributed funds to support community organizations addressing issues of violence.
  • 2016: awarded the Neighborhood Housing Services – Gale Cincotta Visionary Award; awarded the Studs Terkel Uplifting Voices by the Public Narratives and awarded the James Joseph National Award by the national Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE).

In 2010, Ms. Pennick was one of thirty judges and lawyers that participated in an historic trip to Cuba sponsored by the Chicago Bar Association. Ms. Pennick’s article entitled “Pride and Preservation” was published in the January, 2011 CBA Journal: Cuba at Crossroads – CBA Delegations Travels to Havana. Ms. Pennick’s efforts in the civil rights movement of Chicago have been highly regarded. She is referenced in the book, The Chicago Freedom Movement: Martin Luther King Jr. and Civil Rights Activism, published in 2015 by University Press of Kentucky and was also quoted by Chicago Sun-Times journalist, Mary Mitchell in an August 5, 2016 article “MLK in Chicago -50 Years Later” and featured in the NPR series on the 50th Anniversary of the Marquette Park march. Ms. Pennick’s oral history is documented in The HistoryMakers Collection which is a part of The Library of Congress.

Most recently, Ms. Pennick has become the consulting attorney with Chicago’s Get Clear Illinois initiative focused on expungements of minor criminal records primarily of African Americans in marginalized communities of the city. This past August, Ms. Pennick was one of four national panelists for the inaugural Race Today podcast (which may be found on their Facebook page) focused on Police Brutality and the upcoming March in Washington.

In addition, Ms. Pennick was a founding board member of the Lake County Community Foundation and has served on the boards of the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science and Housing Action Illinois. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Field Museum, the Rush Medical Center and the Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy. She is also a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago.

Biography written by Aurie A. Pennick, 2020

Scope and Content

The Aurie A. Pennick Papers include her involvement with Mayor Harold Washington’s Office of Women’s Affairs, her decade of executive stewardship at the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities and her ongoing engagement with housing and policing issues in Chicago. The collection contains a variety of articles, newsletters, programs, reports, studies and videos that Pennick authored, consulted in or contributed to in the course of her work from 1982 to 2016.


The collection is organized into 3 series:

Series 1: Mayor Harold Washington Administration, 1982-1987

Series 2: Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities, 1966-2006

Series 3: Subject Files, 1990-2016

Series 1: Mayor Harold Washington Administration, 1982-1987

In 1982-1983, Pennick was a participant in the Women’s Task Force created by the Committee to Elect Harold Washington. This working group generated a study that was incorporated into the Washington Transition Committee report and evolved into the Office of Women’s Affairs during Mayor Harold Washington’s administration. Mayor Washington appointed Pennick to the Chicago Police Board in 1983.

The folders in Series 1 are organized alphabetically by title or subject.

Series 2: Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities, 1966-2006

In 1966, the Chicago Freedom Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. secured a summit with the City of Chicago to discuss housing and other racial issues in Chicago. This meeting led to the creation of the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities. A transcription of the summit recording by John McKnight, is included in Series 2 (Box 2, Folder 5). The Leadership Council’s mission was to promote and establish an open housing market in Chicago. The organization focused on housing discrimination based on issues of race, national origin and familial status. Its programs included legal action, housing counseling, community relations and advocacy. Pennick joined the organization as President and CEO in 1992. She authored a report in 1995 called Reflections on South Africa and participated in numerous initiatives and programs including the Habitat II Conference.

The folders in Series 2 are organized alphabetically by title or subject. Articles and reports about housing after Pennick’s time at the Leadership Council from 2003 to 2016 have been retained in Series 3: Subject Files.

Series 3: Subject Files, 1990-2016

The Subject Files series gathers together Pennick’s research, writings and community service work. The reports and working papers in this series include committee work for Chicago’s 2016 Olympics bid, a typescript version of her book chapter, “The Affordable Housing Crisis in the Chicago Region,” and her ongoing engagement with housing and policing issues.

The folders in Series 3 are organized alphabetically by title or subject. Additional articles and reports on housing, race and segregation from 1992-2002 were part of Pennick’s research for the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities and can be found in Series 2.

Related Collections

Authority and Subject Terms

  • African Americans -- Segregation -- Illinois -- Chicago
  • Blacks -- Segregation -- Illinois -- Chicago
  • Discrimination in Housing -- Illinois -- Chicago Metropolitan Area
  • Gautreaux, Dorothy
  • Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities
  • Pennick, Aurie, 1947-
  • Public Housing -- Illinois -- Chicago
  • Public Housing -- Law and Legislation -- Illinois -- Chicago -- History
  • Segregation -- Illinois -- Chicago -- History -- 20th Century
  • Racism -- Illinois -- Chicago -- History
  • Washington, Harold, 1922-1987

Container List

Series 1: Mayor Harold Washington Administration, 1982-1987

Box 1 Folder 1 Chicago Police Board, meeting and planning materials, 1984, 1988
Box 4 2020.92 Commission on Women’s Affairs, Chicago, button, circa 1984
Box 1 Folder 2 Committee to Elect Harold Washington, election brochure, 1983
Box 1 Folder 3 Committee to Elect Harold Washington, The Washington Papers: A Commitment to Chicago, A Commitment to You, proposal, 1983
Box 1 Folder 4 Committee to Elect Harold Washington, Women’s Affairs Task Force and Office of Women’s Affairs, transition papers, 1983
Box 1 Folder 5 Correspondence, 1983-1984, 1986-1987
Box 4 2020.93 [Charles E.] Freeman, Elect to Supreme Court, button, undated
Box 1 Folder 6 Harold Washington’s death, news clippings, 1987
Box 1 Folder 7 Harold Washington’s legacy, news clippings and programs, 1987, 1991, 2003-2004, 2012
Box 4 2020.94 Task Force for Black Political Empowerment, Harold Washington election button, circa 1983
Box 1 Folder 8 Washington for Mayor Campaign, memo, 1982
Box 1 Folder 9 Washington Transition Committee, report, 1983 September
Box 4 2020.95 Women’s Network for Washington, button, circa 1983
Box 1 Folder 10 Women’s Network for Washington, election materials, 1982-1983
Box 1 Folder 11 Women’s Network for Washington, position paper, 1983

Series 2: Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities, 1966-2006

Box 1 Folder 12 30th Annual Luncheon, program, 1996
Box 1 Folder 13 36th Annual Luncheon, program, 2002
Box 1 Folder 14 39th Annual Reception, Achieving the Dream: Accessing Equal Housing Opportunity, with Barack Obama, program, 2005
Box 1 Folder 15 Addison, Ill. housing lawsuit, news clippings, 1997
Box 1 Folder 16 Annual reports, 1992-1994, 1998-2000
Box 1 Folder 17 Ashburn neighborhood lawsuit, news clippings, 1998
Box 1 Folder 18 Awards to Aurie A. Pennick, 1998, 2002-2003, 2016
Box 1 Folder 19 Black, White and Shades of Brown: Fair Housing and Economic Opportunity in the Chicago Region, report, 1998
Box 2 Folder 1 Brochures, circa 2002, undated
Box 2 Folder 2 Center for Urban Research and Policy, The Robert Taylor Homes Relocation Study, 2002
Box 2 Folder 3 Chicago Fair Housing Alliance, Putting the “Choice” in Housing Choice Vouchers, brief, 2001
Box 2 Folder 4 Chicago Freedom Movement, 40th anniversary commemoration and conference, 2006
Box 2 Folder 5 Chicago Freedom Movement summit, transcription of proceedings by John McKnight, 1966 August
Box 2 Folder 6 Clinton Administration, housing subsidy programs, 1992-1993, 1995
Box 2 Folder 7 Congregations Building CommUNITY Newsletter, 2000 Summer
Box 2 Folder 8 Correspondence and memos, 1992, 1994, 2002
Box 2 Folder 9 Dwell in My Love: A Pastoral Letter On Racism, by Francis Cardinal George, 2001
Box 2 Folder 10 Fundraising program, 1995
Box 2 Folder 11 The Future of the Chicago Region, address by Anthony Downs, 1994
Box 2 Folder 12 Gautreaux, history and lawsuit, 1981, 1991
Box 2 Folder 13 Gautreaux housing program, articles and reports, 1990, 2000
Box 2 Folder 14 Gautreaux II housing program, information sheet, 2002
Box 2 Folder 15 Gautreaux II housing program, reports, 2002-2003
Box 2 Folder 16 Habitat II Conference, 1996
Box 2 Folder 17 Housing, articles and news clippings, 1996-1998, 2001-2002
Box 2 Folder 18 Housing, Chicago public housing history, 1978, undated
Box 2 Folder 19 Housing, reports, 1994, 2001
Box 2 Folder 20 Housing Affordability in the Chicago Metropolitan Area: A Study of the Potential Supply of Fair Market Rent Units in Low Poverty Areas, by Paul B. Fischer, 1995
Box 2 Folder 21 Institute on Race & Poverty, An Examination of Chicago Metropolis 2020, report, 1999
Box 2 Folder 22 Leadership Council News, newsletter, 1993, 1995-1997, 1999-2002
Box 2 Folder 23 Pennick, Aurie A., news clippings, 1990, 1992, 1994, 2000-2002
Box 2 Folder 24 Photograph, Aurie A. Pennick, circa 1990s (2)
Box 2 Folder 25 Photograph, Elmer Johnson at the Leadership Council office, circa 1999
Box 2 Folder 26 Photograph, NAACP Religious Leadership Summit, 2003
Box 4 2020.91 Pin, Leadership Council, undated
Box 3 Folder 1 Racial Change and Segregation in the Chicago Metropolitan Area: 1990-2000, executive summary, circa 2000
Box 3 Folder 2 Racism and segregation, article and course syllabus, 1995, 1997
Box 3 Folder 3 Reflections on South Africa, report by Aurie A. Pennick and forum program, 1995
Box 3 Folder 4 Sprawl, Fragmentation and the Persistence of Racial Inequity: Limiting Civil Rights by Fragmenting Space, report, circa 2001
Box 3 Folder 5 Urban Institute, Housing Mobility: Realizing the Promise, report, 1998
Box 3 Folder 6 Urban Institute, Public Housing Relocatees and the Rental Market in the Chicago Region, report, 2001
Box 4 Video 1 Video, 60 Minutes, “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” VHS videocassette, 1993
Box 4 Video 2 Video, 60 Minutes, “Bellwood, Illinois,” VHS videocassette, 1988
Box 4 Video 3 Video, [ABC News], “True Colors,” VHS videocassette, circa 1992
Box 4 Video 4 Video, Chicago Matters, “Inside Housing: No Place to Live,” VHS videocassette, 2002
Box 4 Video 5 Video, Chicago Public Schools, “The Future is Clear,” VHS videocassette, 2000
Box 4 Video 6 Video, WTTW Journal, “Marquette Park: Not Just Black & White,” VHS videocassette, 1993
Box 3 Folder 7 Woods Fund of Chicago, Section 8 and the Public Housing Revolution: Where Will the Families Go? report, 2000
Box 3 Folder 8 Woodstock Institute, Unfinished Business: Increases in African-American Home Buying and Continuing Residential Segregation in the Chicago Region, report, 1999

Series 3: Subject Files, 1990-2016

Box 3 Folder 9 2016 Olympics, Civic Federation Olympic Advisory Committee, 2009
Box 3 Folder 10 2016 Olympics, research, 2007, 2009, 2011-2012
Box 3 Folder 11 Housing, “The Affordable Housing Crisis in the Chicago Region,” typescript chapter by Aurie A. Pennick, 2004
Box 3 Folder 12 Housing, articles and news clippings, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2011-2016
Box 3 Folder 13 Housing, Chicago Rehab Network, newsletter, 2008
Box 3 Folder 14 Housing, Institute of Government & Public Affairs, Racial Blind Spots: A Barrier to Integrated Communities in Chicago, 2008
Box 3 Folder 15 Housing, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, African Americans and Homeownership: Separate and Unequal, 1940 to 2006, 2007
Box 3 Folder 16 Housing, National Conference on Housing Mobility, program, 2015
Box 3 Folder 17 Housing, Roy Wilkins Center – HHH Institute, The Effects of Housing Market Discrimination on Earnings Inequality, summary, 2008
Box 3 Folder 18 Housing, Segregation by Choice, presentation by Aurie A. Pennick, circa 2007
Box 3 Folder 19 Police reform, Community Renewal Society report, 2016
Box 4 2020.96 Politics, Braun, Carol Moseley, Democrat U.S. Senate, magnet, 1992
Box 4 2020.97 Politics, Netsch, Dawn Clark, A Woman’s Place is in the [Governor’s] Mansion, button, 1994
Box 3 Folder 20 Single parents, letter to the editor by Aurie A. Pennick, 1990
Box 3 Folder 21 U.S. Department of Justice, Investigation of Recent Allegations Regarding the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 2000
Print this page