American Planning Association - Illinois Chapter

Pro Bono Services Program

Mission Statement - History - Past Projects - Pro-Bono Services - Propose a Project
Volunteer - Talent Bank - Contact Us

April 16, 2014 APA-IL Pro Bono Committee Event
Laying the Groundwork for a Chicago Heights 3rd Ward Sub-Area Plan
Call for Volunteers Flyer  |  Volunteer Application
Applications are due no later than March 26th


Mission Statement

Provide pro-bono planning services and assistance to eligible non-profit organizations, community groups, service agencies and governmental units to initiate, organize and fine tune early stage planning projects.


The APA-IL’s Pro Bono Program was established to benefit both the communities/organizations we serve and to provide an outlet for creative community service activities of our membership. The program is the only one of its kind among APA Chapters and Sections in the country. It has been recognized as highly successful by the national organization, and in 2003 the APA-IL was recognized nationally with the AICP President’s Award in recognition of their work in the communities and in the area of professional development.

Also in 2003, the APA-IL was provided a grant from National APA organization to prepare a video about the program which is now used to train other chapters on how to conduct similar activities:

Past Pro Bono Projects

Since 1998, the Pro Bono Committee has undertaken a number of diverse projects. These include:

an open space/water retention project plan and preliminary retail development feasibility discussions for Ford Heights, IL
a Cal Sag waterfront plan and preliminary comprehensive plan discussion for Robbins, IL
a commercial development plan for a commercial strip along Irving Park Road in Chicago, IL
a residential density discussion for Chicago's Edison Park neighborhood
an organizational plan for downtown revitalization in Riverdale, IL
a transit oriented design plan for the Metra Robbins/Blue Island commuter train station
an action plan & agenda setting for a commercial TIF district in the Chicago's Mount Greenwood neighborhood
a downtown Minooka, IL strategic planning session focusing on marketing, organization, and design
a strategic planning session to start the framework for the new town of Homer Glen, IL
● organized local participation in the National Conference charrette in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood
● a planning session in Joliet, IL with a faith based organization to begin a comprehensive planning process
● a priority setting exercise for the Village of Harwood Heights, IL focusing on a variety of planning issues
● design charrette for the recovery efforts of Utica, IL after the tornado disaster of 2004
● a Northwest Highway commercial strip revitalization planning exercise for Chicago's Norwood Park neighborhood

What the Pro-Bono Service Program Provides

The Pro Bono Program, originated in 1998, is an outreach service offering initial planning services to:

● organizations
● community groups
● service agencies
● government entities

Pro Bono Committee’s involvement begins with organizing a planning session in conjunction with a local group or municipality. From that foundation we tap into the resources of APA-IL membership for talent, conduct the planning session on location, and work out an action agenda with the local entity. The local entity sponsoring the meeting is required to include a local, representative base of residents, merchants, political interests and other players that have a vested interest in the success of the project. The sessions have typically lasted half a day.

The APA-IL team usually consists of 5 to 15 planning professionals with expertise in the general area being explored. Typically the teams have been mixed groups ranging in experience from recent grads to veteran planners. To date all projects proved to be win - win in situations for both APA-IL and the sponsoring community.

The program is not intended to compete with private sector planning services which may be needed to perform and complete any of a full range of planning activities.

Propose a Project

The Pro Bono Program needs your help in identifying groups or communities that could use the Pro Bono services. Contact us for more information

Become a Member of the Pro Bono Committee

Regardless of how many years of experience you have or your current job's focus your help is needed. If you want to become a member of the Pro, you will need to fill out a Talent Bank Form identifying yourself and your professional talents. Once you have filled out the form, e-mail the form to . Your information will be placed in a "Talent Bank". Your information will remain private, for use by the Pro Bono Committee. When the Pro Bono Committee is going to organize a planning session with a group they will search through the talent bank for the professionals with talent most relevant to the project.

Do join us in a rewarding experience. Your input and talent will be appreciated and you'll have the opportunity to network with your peers and grow in a professionally.

For Those That Have Already Submitted a Talent Bank Form

If you have submitted a Talent Bank Form previously but have:

● changed jobs
● gained new experience
● developed new professional interest areas

Let us know so we can update our records! Fill out a form.
Don't remember the last time you updated your info?

For More Information

Amy Connolly, Co-Chair:
Lindy Wordlaw, AICP, Co-Chair:
John Paige, AICP, APA-IL Chapter Administrator: 

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