CHICAGO — An initiative that will transform and improve the lives of West Garfield Park residents is getting a 10-million-dollar grant.

The Garfield Park Rite to Wellness Collaborative received the grant through the Pritzker Traubert Foundation’s 2022 Chicago Prize Initiative, a program put together to invest in catalytic plans that jumpstart economic opportunities for South and West Side businesses and community leaders.

Ayesha Jaco, the executive director of West Side United, remembers Dr. martin Luther King Jr. for the advocacy he pushed for Chicago in 1966 and is eager to bring forward change with the new funding.

“In 1967 he talked about Chicago… he talked about how powerful that movement was because of its ability to bring jobs, community investment and we are picking up the torch 56 years later as a collaborative to replicate that,” Jaco said.

Jaco says the life expectancy of Chicago residents is the lowest on the West Side so the investment would help fund more healthcare options and facilities.

The new funds will allow for more access to necessities ranging from fresher produce to home ownership and better access to healthcare and the arts as well as support for small businesses and grocery stores.

“This is major and massive for fulfilling Dr. King’s dream for Chicago.”

Rush University Medical Center, Eerie Family Health and the YMCA have also come together to build a wellness center where community members can have a space for primary care and recreation.

The Wellness center will also include a credit union to help increase the number of banked residents.