Jim Capraro brings over 40 years of community organiziing and development experience to his work. In the early 1970's he worked as a community organizer pursuing the passage of the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA,) and the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA.)


Principal - Capraro Consulting:

Neighborhoods, governments, and philanthropies have engaged Jim. The subject matter has been wide and varied, ranging from: "comprehensive" community development, strategic planning, community organizing, collaboration/partnership, & non-profit management. Currently, Jim has been deployed by National LISC and several local LISC sites to assist in the roll out of its signature "Sustainable Communities" comprehensive community development approach.


Former Senior Fellow - Institute for Comprehensive Community Development (2010-2012):

On May 17, 2010 Jim Capraro received an appointment as "Senior Fellow" of The Institute for Comprehensive Community Development. The following is an excerpt from the letter of appointment:

"The task of the Senior Fellow is to provide advice and counsel to the staff and Board of the Institute with respect to the Institute's programs; to participate in those programs as a leader and mentor; and to interact directly with practitioners in the field who are served by the Institute's programs. 

You have been appointed to this position based on your long and successful career in community development, as well as the recognized leadership you bring to the field."


Former CEO - Greater Southwest Development Corporation (1976-2010):

Jim Capraro assumed his position as the founding Executive Director of the Greater Southwest Development Corp. (GSDC) in January of 1976, and retired as its Chief Executive Officer on July 2, 2010. During his 35 year tenure, GSDC has been designated by the National Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation as a national "model" for commercial revitalization, selected by the Chicago Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) as the recipient of the “Outstanding Community Development Organization” award & also selected by Bank of America as a winner of the prestigious Neighborhood Excellence - Community Builder Award. www.greatersouthwest.org

GSDC has achieved over $500 million in community development projects and created or retained over 6,000 jobs in its Southwest Chicago neighborhood, over the past 30 years. GSDC’s development projects range from small business to the creation of elderly housing, the siting major retailers, and the $300 million expansion of the worlds largest bakery, Nabisco.


Work History:

Capraro Consulting Principal, Jim Capraro possesses over forty-four years of experience in both the practice of Community Organizing and the practice of Community Development.  Here is a detailed outline of that experience:

  • 1971 – 1973 Community Organizer/Executive Director.  Served first as a Community Organizer and then as the Executive Director of the Southwest Community Congress, a community organization in southwest Chicago.
  • 1973 – 1976 Community Coalition Organizer, National Campaign Community Organizer.   Served as the Staff Coordinator of the Metropolitan area Housing Alliance, a citywide coalition of community organizations throughout Chicago working against racial block-busting by realtors, red-lining by financial institutions, and Federal FHA reform.  Simultaneously served as a Community Organizer on the staff of National People's Action working with Chairwoman Gale Cincotta on the National Organizing campaign to pass the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) and the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).
  • 1976 – 2010 Community Development Corporation Executive Director & CEO.  For thirty-five years served as the Executive Director / Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Southwest Development Corporation. While in this post accomplished:
          • $492 million in community development projects
          • A diversified portfolio of community development projects including:  
            • Commercial / Retail revitalization,
            • multi-unit affordable housing rehabilitation, and new construction developments
            • Industrial business attraction and retention, including the retention of Nabisco (the world's largest bakery) and the development of Gateway Industrial park.
            • Single-family housing rehabilitation for homeownership.
            • The establishment of a combination Center for Working Families / HUD-certified homeownership counseling center. (Center for Working Families is the forerunner to LISC's Financial Opportunities Centers).
            • New Construction of 248 units of low-income elderly housing, including 86 units of assisted living housing.
            • The establishment of Chicago Special Service Area Taxing District #3 (similar to a Business Improvement District).  Each year this district generates operating revenue for GSDC to operate its community revitalization programming. In 2010 it generated $710K.
            • Participated with Chicago LISC as a New Communities Program neighborhood Lead Agency.  In this role created a model for community engagement that has been replicated in scores of Sustainable Communities targeted neighborhoods in LISC sites throughout the United States.
          • Founding member of the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), serving as founding Board Chair.  SWOP is the recipient of the
            John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Creative and Effective Institutions award.
          • At the time of Jim’s retirement from GSDC (2010), the organization had a staff of 23 employees, a $2.5 million budget, and $3 million in reserves.
        • 1986  - Present Consultant.   In 1986 Jim Capraro reduced his employment to a part-time status as the Executive Director at Greater Southwest Development Corporation to simultaneously pursue a consulting practice.  In 2010 this status changed again when Jim Capraro retired completely from his post to pursue his consulting practice on a full-time basis. Neighborhood Organizations, Governments, Philanthropy, Intermediaries, and Private Sector Entities are all represented in the Capraro Consulting base of clients.  The largest volume of work has been performed in neighborhoods. Most recently, from the beginning of 2007, Jim Capraro has worked in seventy-five neighborhoods in 27 cities and 2 rural areas in the United States.
        • Additionally in November of 2011 the city of Munich Germany engaged him to conduct a three day training seminar on Community Engagement, in October of 2012 Jim was invited to work in neighborhoods in the cities of Milan & Bergamo Italy and in February of 2015, at the invitation of the University of Antioquia, he conducted a three day Seminar on "Relational Organizing" for Colombian Community Leaders in preparation for an impending peace settlement after fifty years of civil war between the FARC rebels and the Colombian government.


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