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Capraro assumed his position as the founding Executive Director of the Greater Southwest Development Corp. (GSDC) in January 1976, and continues as its Chief Executive Officer today. GSDC has been designated by the National Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation as a national model" for commercial revitalization, and was selected by the Chicago Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) as the recipient of the "Outstanding Community Development Organization" award.[not in citation given]
GSDC has achieved over $500 million in community development projects and has 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, siting major retailers, and the $300 million expansion of the world's largest bakery, Nabisco.
- Chicago LISC "Friend of the Neighborhoods" award, for lifetime achievement
- One of the 25 national community leaders to receive the special National LISC 25th anniversary "Mike Sviridoff Leadership Award"
- Federal National Mortgage Association Foundation "James A. Johnson Fellow"
- Chicago Magazine "Chicagoan of the Year", along with Oprah Winfrey, former Chicago Bears Linebacker Chris Zorich, and rock star Liz Phair
- Legendary Locals of Chicago Lawn and West Lawn
- Race, chapter "The Park", by Studs Terkel
- "Dealin' in the hood" by John McCarron, Chicago Tribune, June 26, 2001
- New Urban Leaders, by Joyce Ladner, The Brookings Institution, 2002
- "Community Organizing + Community Development = Community Transformation" by James F. Capraro, The Journal of Urban Affairs, Volume 26, Number 2, 2004
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