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$1.1 Million Gift Helps YWCA Open Tech Institute in North Lawndale

By Stephanie Lulay | December 11, 2015 8:39am | Updated on December 15, 2015 10:04am
 YWCA leaders and the Sarowitz family hosted a ribbon cutting at the new YWCA Julian Grace Innovation & Technology Institute Thursday in North Lawndale.
YWCA leaders and the Sarowitz family hosted a ribbon cutting at the new YWCA Julian Grace Innovation & Technology Institute Thursday in North Lawndale.
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Chris Dilts for YWCA

NORTH LAWNDALE — A $1.1 million gift from a suburban Highland Park business man will help bridge the digital divide in North Lawndale.

Steve Sarowitz, founder and chairman of Paylocity, made the donation to help the YWCA open the Julian Grace Innovation and Technology Institute in North Lawndale. The institute, housed in the Homan Square Park Community Center at 2517 W. Arthington St., will open to the public in January.

Named for Sarowitz's Julian Grace Foundation, the space has been transformed into a state-of-the-art technology facility focused on bringing innovative programs and services to the North Lawndale community, said Dorri McWhorter, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago CEO. The Institute will feature 24 collaboration areas for community classes and two hoteling work stations open to the public.

Steve Sarowitz, founder and chairman of Paylocity, donated $1.1 million to open the new YWCA Julian Grace Innovation & Technology Institute in North Lawndale. [Chris Dilts for YWCA]

At a dedication ceremony Thursday, Sarowitz said that he is proud to play a role in the YWCA's mission to bridge the digital divide in communities in need.

"We are committed to doing our part in supporting educational programs that have a positive impact on the health and vitality of our communities," Sarowitz said. "We also recognize that education is a critical part of the solution to curtailing violence in our city."

Designed by the Gensler design firm, the space was formerly occupied by the Homan Square Foundation.

The new institute is the YWCA's eighth community-based center, McWhorter said. The agency plans to expand into Englewood next.

YWCA leaders and the Sarowitz family hosted a ribbon cutting at the new YWCA Julian Grace Innovation & Technology Institute Thursday in North Lawndale. [Chris Dilts for YWCA]

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