For immediate release

Sept. 22, 2021
11 a.m. CDT

Kim McCullough

Veronica Resa 



Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network, Malcolm X College announce new Chatham community development project  

Revitalization of former Independence Bank/Urban Partnership Bank building to provide healthcare training program, allied health services and community services by fall 2022 

CHICAGO — Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network and Malcolm X College today announced a new community development project at the site of Chicago’s historic Independence Bank in Chatham. The center, at 7936 S. Cottage Grove Avenue in Chicago, will house Gift of Hope operations and community outreach as well as a new healthcare and skills training program through Malcolm X College (MXC). 

Purchased by Gift of Hope for $1.25 million in 2019, the building holds historic significance for Chatham and Chicago. In 1981, the site was home to Independence Bank, the nation’s largest Black-owned bank, and later housed Urban Partnership Bank.  

The building’s $10.9 million renovation is moving forward with a state of Illinois appropriation of $3 million and a $5 million CARES Act grant through the City of Chicago, with $1.5 million of the funding earmarked for the MXC healthcare training program at the site. Construction is scheduled to begin by October 1, and completion is expected by fall 2022. DL3 Realty is development consultant; Bailey Edward is architect for the project. 

“Our vision for Gift of Hope’s center in Chatham is to create opportunities that change lives,” said Harry Wilkins, MD, Gift of Hope President/CEO. “We are proud that Malcolm X College has partnered with us in that vision, through its work to help Chatham students access education and training for healthcare careers that will in turn change more lives. We are committed to creating a positive impact, and this project is an exciting new chapter in this site’s important history of investment and service to the people of Chatham and surrounding Chicago communities.” 

“Healthcare careers are fulfilling and in high demand,” said David Sanders, President of Malcolm X College. “No matter what type of medical career pathway you choose, you will know that you have impacted the lives of those you serve. We are grateful to Gift of Hope for a facility to serve those living in our most under-resourced communities. Access to education is vital, and leads to lives transformed. We are so proud to join forces and offer our academic excellence.”  

Confirmed development for the 48,000 square-foot building includes: 

  • The new allied healthcare training program for recent high school graduates and second career seekers. Malcolm X College has leased 6,188 square feet of first-floor space and 9,834 square feet on the lower level, and will offer Community Health Worker, Emergency Medical Technician, Medical Assistant and Personal Fitness Trainer certificate programming, as well as general education and continuing community education courses. The College will also provide community physical therapy services and personal training fitness services to the community in its physical therapy clinic and sports performance lab.  
  • Movement, a program offering entrepreneurial training and support for teens with support from Chicago’s Third Horizon Strategies. Movement will occupy the second floor’s entire 12,000 square feet.  
  • Gift of Hope community outreach, business offices and a backup call center, to occupy the entire third floor. The location will provide a base for Gift of Hope’s Chicago-based community outreach and volunteer services and serve as the organization’s disaster recovery site and backup call center for uninterrupted coordination of critical organ and tissue donation in any emergency that affects operations at its Itasca headquarters.  

About Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network 

Gift of Hope is the not-for-profit organ procurement organization (OPO) that coordinates organ and tissue donation and provides public education on donation in Illinois and northwest Indiana. As one of 57 OPOs that make up the nation’s donation system, we work with 180 hospitals and serve 12 million people in our donation service area. Since 1986, our work has saved the lives of more than 23,000 organ transplant recipients and improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of tissue transplant recipients. For more information, visit 

About Malcolm X College 

Malcolm X College is the healthcare hub of City Colleges of Chicago and offers a variety of health sciences programs that prepare students to pursue a four-year degree or advance in a career. City Colleges of Chicago gives students access to a quality education and ensures their success by providing them with the support to complete their program and move on to further education or a career. City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) aims to put every student on the path to upward mobility. It is the largest community colleges system in Illinois and one of the largest in the nation, with seven colleges and five satellite sites. For more than one hundred years, City Colleges has transformed the lives of more than one million students through education.