video courtesy of open the circle

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Helping to Expand the Arts

In April 2018, Partner Gail Morse successfully received tax exemption for Open the Circle (OTC), a grassroots creative project created to ensure that underserved communities receive financial resources to sustain their works in art, dance, filmmaking and social entrepreneurship.

With an initial focus on African American dance and youth engagement on the South Side of Chicago, OTC’s tax-exempt status opens the possibility of establishing partnerships with civic institutions, such as the Chicago Park District, and allows OTC to expand its good work by providing more opportunities to offer positive, safe outlets for Chicago youth. Watch the video above to learn more about OTC and its accomplishments.


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Securing a Residence for Fourth Presbyterian’s Pastor

Jenner & Block assisted the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago with the acquisition of a condominium in Chicago, which will serve as the residence, or manse, for the church’s senior pastor.   

The firm also prepared the occupancy agreement between the church and the senior pastor, which governs the terms pursuant to which the senior pastor will occupy the manse during her tenure, expected to be 20 years or more. We are also performing additional work relating to the ownership of the manse by FPC and occupancy of the manse by the senior pastor during her tenure with the church. Partners Donald Horvath and Gail Morse are working on these matters for the church.

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Video courtesy of ABC7 News

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Helping to Save a Local Landmark

Since the spring of 2018, Jenner & Block has represented Evanston Lakehouse & Gardens, a non-profit group interested in hosting educational and community programs for Evanston residents at the 91-year-old Harley Clarke Mansion.

Initially, the organization planned on entering into a lease for the building, but then the city of Evanston began the process of demolishing the landmark, located at 2603 Sheridan Road. As a result, the team expanded its role, performing a variety of legal tasks and coordinating with other regional preservation groups in the attempt to save this historic structure. As a part of these efforts, Jenner & Block also began representing Landmarks Illinois in a collaborative effort to preserve the treasured community building.

In October, the team won a victory when the Evanston Preservation Commission unanimously agreed with the team’s arguments and voted to reject the application to demolish the mansion. The commission embraced the findings presented by supporters of preservation and refuted much of the evidence presented by the city manager. In December, Evanston aldermen voted unanimously to preserve the building from demolition.

The team representing Evanston Lakehouse & Gardens includes Partners Anthony BorichJoseph Gromacki and Michael Wolf and Associates Andrew Carlins and Reanne Zheng.  

Tom Hodgman, president of Evanston Lakehouse & Gardens, said the organization is “extremely grateful” for the team’s support. He noted that the Evanston community has repeatedly expressed support for saving the landmark, including in a November 2018 referendum. “Jenner & Block has been an integral part of the team to help us analyze local ordinances, understand legal procedures, organize information on the building’s condition and significance, and present this information to the City of Evanston and the public,” Mr. Hodgman said. “But their efforts have gone beyond the standard legal work. Jenner & Block has been a trusted advisor helping with strategy and navigating complex political and public relations issues. There is a very real possibility that without Jenner & Block’s generous support, the Harley Clarke Mansion would have already been demolished, and along with it a piece of Evanston's cultural heritage and the myriad opportunities for adaptive re-use to provide equitable access to the Lakefront and our cultural resources.”


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Helping Catholic Charities Acquire Land for Community Center

We are representing Catholic Charities in its acquisition of an approximately three-acre vacant parcel in Round Lake, Illinois, which will be used to develop a community center adjacent to St. Joseph’s Parish. 

The acquisition is contingent upon the completion of a subdivision and satisfaction of conditions imposed upon Catholic Charities in connection with the subdivision approval. Such conditions include the negotiation of an easement between Catholic Charities and the Archdiocese of Chicago to address the maintenance and use of parking spaces and a shared driveway, as well as some remediation of drainage issues at the property. Partner Michelle McAtee and Department Counsel Sheila Kailus represent Catholic Charities.