Metropolitan Area Group for Igniting Civilization, Inc. (MAGIC)
950 East 61st Street
Chicago, IL  60637-2623
(773) 290-2313
(773) 290-2373
Executive Director:
Mr. Bryan K Echols
Web Site:

Joseph Strickland and a collective of his fellow students from the University of Chicago School of Social Service administration and Woodlawn residents founded MAGIC in 2001. MAGIC began to build something that had never existed before: a haven of safety and hope developed in partnership with low-income youth and their families. Over the years the organization has spent the majority of time preparing youth to be change agents. Our focus is training, advocacy and activism around youth health and wellness, economic development and wealth building and education. Since 2001, MAGIC has enjoyed six years of uninterrupted and unparalleled service to Chicagos Woodlawn community. Expert at youth development, organizing and mobilizing community residents for change, MAGIC has worked tirelessly as an advocate for structured youth programming, teen employment, increased investment in teen health care and a stable playing field for young black males to prepare for adulthood. MAGIC has been a partner in community collaborations, civic initiatives and has worked in law enforcement, churches, schools, business owners, institutions, the University of Chicago and Woodlawn residents to ensure that a spirit of self-determination and self-reliance permeates throughout the social and spiritual fabric of Woodlawns intangible soul. In 2001, when community residents saw the need for a community credit union, MAGIC was quick to respond by helping to get the necessary pledges and recruit residents to sign on to be part of the organizing committee. Also, in 2001 when the organizing members of MAGIC saw that there was disconnects between human service providers, MAGIC spearheaded the development of the Woodlawn Social Service Network so that collaboration and cooperation became a more natural process. As a result of mothers from our young womens leadership development program informing us that they could not afford to attend the high end women conferences but that they needed the information, MAGIC organized the My Money, My Body, and My Mind free conference for women in 2002 to provide women with lower incomes an upscale conference without an entry fee. From 2003 to present, MAGIC has worked with other youth organizations on the issues of teen employment, schoolhouse to jailhouse track and issues facing Black men and Black boys. Also, within this same time frame we have launched solo campaigns and initiatives to reduce teen dating violence, to address the needs of gun shot victims who become paralyzed and to increase the testing of teens for HIV/AIDS and other diseases that affect Black people disproportionately.

Mission Statement:
Unlike many traditional nonprofits that focus their work in one category service provision or community organizing, MAGIC believes that in order to create real and lasting change in our communities, we must simultaneously address multiple aspects of the issues that youth and their families are facing by building power and delivering an innovative program that meets the needs of the community MAGIC's mission is to organize residents of Woodlawn and the surrounding areas to stimulate social change. MAGIC works primarily with youth from Woodlawn, but also serves youth from Washington Park, Kenwood, Oakland and Englewood. These are some of Chicago's most severely under-resourced neighborhoods. The youth we work with in our programs are: 100% are low-income 20% have had involvement with the juvenile justice system 100% are African-American and we will work with the young man who has been kicked out of every other program if he demonstrates initiative. We will work with young women who do not have a home telephone, a parent at home or is not in school, if she shows a desire to attain self-sufficiency. We have chosen to work with this demographic because this is our community, and many organizations do not serve this demographic without associated stigmas. We will work with youth who are not in school, homeless or fresh out of jail, if they show a desire to attain self-sufficiency. For many, MAGIC is the only place that is willing to offer them an opportunity to grow and achieve their potential. MAGIC youth are the ones who will be able to conceptualize a vision of change for they are the ones who have lived through all that needs to be changed. We are proud to provide that opportunity to these strong, young people who truly do have the power within them to envision and create a more just society.

Current Program:
MAGIC provides youth empowerment programs such as leadership development, youth organizing training and a mural arts program as an initial lead-in to youth organizing. These programs allow for youth to openly discuss issues and formulate consensus issues. The youth are then guided through training and activities on how to convey their concerns to community leaders and government. In addition, MAGIC actively participates in coalitions and collaborations that directly deal with the issues that face youth. As of October, 2009, MAGIC has established Teen Reach, an after-school program serving youth from ages 6-17 with a portfolio of programs including media arts and documentary filmmaking. In November, 2009, we instituted a new outreach and service program aimed at survivors of violently acquired spinal cord injuries.

Grants Since 2007:
YearProgram AreaAmount
2010Community Development$40,000.00
2009Community Development$40,000.00
2008Community Development$25,000.00
2008Community Development$6,300.00
2007Community Development$25,000.00
2007Community Development$15,000.00