Otis Chandler Monroe, III
Otis Chandler Monroe, III, is the founder and CEO of the Monroe Foundation, a 29 year-old community reinvestment and economic justice advocacy organization of over 100 nonprofit and faith-based organizations. Since 1991, the foundation has successfully facilitated over five million dollars in CRA investments, lending and investments benefitting African-American communities, and facilitated the redistribution of over one million in community development grants to grassroots community-based partners of affiliate groups of the initiative the P.A.C.T. Project (Partnership Assisting Community Transformation.) Those groups include: The Black Star Project, Genesis Housing Development Corporation, Center for Community Development, Teach Me How, The Englewood Food Network, Kingdom Community, Inc., North Lawndale Employment Network, and Agora Community Services Corporation, as core member-partners of the Monroe Foundation. Collectively, with these community partners through initiatives such as the F.LE.D. Project (Financial Literacy Equals Deposits) the Monroe Foundation has mobilized over 350 unbanked households to participate in “Second Chance Saturday” community banking programs with PNC Bank, resulting in over 250 accounts, totaling $100,000. Recently, the Monroe Foundation launched PACTing POWER YOUTHBIZ to provide entrepreneurship opportunities for youth and young adults ages 16-24 in Chicago’s Englewood community.
Mr. Monroe began engaging in community organizing work in the early 1970’s with his grandparents as part of Operation BREAD-BASKET (Rainbow/PUSH) and The Woodlawn Organization (TWO.) In the early 1980’s, Mr. Monroe Foundation worked for Chicago’s first Black Mayor Harold Washington as an appointee to the City Colleges of Chicago Foundation after the mayor observed Otis’ community advocacy work with young gang-involved youth in South Shore. Otis was also one of the first elected members as a community representative to the Local School Council, representing Parkside Elementary School in 1988. During this same time, he met a young community organizer named Barack Obama who was mobilizing a Voter Registration Campaign on the far Southside of Chicago, and he and the future President have remained in communication throughout the years.
In 1989, Otis became friends with the late Gale Cincotta, known as the “Mother of Community Reinvestment,” while working at Marquette Bank as a community organizer, fighting abuse FHA lending and steering. With Gale, Otis negotiated a one million dollar mortgage settlement between community groups and Fleet Mortgage Company, ending years of abusive lending and providing mortgage relief for borrowers.
Otis is a 1991 Roosevelt University Graduate Fellow in Nonprofit Management.