Leadership Development
January 24, 2024

Behind the Organizing - Harry Meyer

Harry Meyer is a remarkable individual whose lifelong dedication to community development has left an indelible mark on the Chicago non-profit sector. Born and raised in the very community where he currently works with the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), Meyer's commitment to preserving the charm and character of his neighborhood is unwavering.

Meyer's journey in community development has witnessed significant milestones, including his presence during Martin Luther King's historic march through the community, where he and others stood against racist counter-protesters. This early exposure to the power of collective action left a lasting impression on him.

Throughout his career, Meyer has been involved in various roles and organizations that have contributed to the betterment of his community. His roles have included being a President of Artisans 21 Gallery, a membership-based artisan cooperative, and a Deputy Director of Development and Property Management at Greater Southwest Development Corporation. At the latter organization, he managed senior housing units, operated with a $1.2 million budget, and coordinated significant facility operations, all of which significantly impacted the community. He has been a business liaison, a property manager, and has even delved into staff management. His extensive background demonstrates a deep understanding of the intricacies involved in community development and the importance of maintaining the unique character of properties.

One key role Harry plays at SWOP was maximizing the benefit of the building code changes that took effect in 2020. The code aimed to significantly lower the cost of home construction and renovation, aligning perfectly with SWOP's mission to preserve property character. Meyer, as the Director of Vacant Property Reactivation, ensures that SWOP achieves its goal of “Rebuilding, Reclaiming and Repopulating the City of Chicago for and with everyday working people and working-class families. Harry led SWOP in renovating over several dozen vacant lots and rehab properties.

In addition to his property management endeavors, Meyer is known for his proactive approach to community engagement. He actively participates in initiatives that aim to empower and uplift the community. His commitment to making resources accessible and promoting community awareness is evident in his tireless work.

In addition to his professional work, Harry is the Owner/Operator of Harry Meyer Photo Graphyx. He has been a creative professional for over 16 years, and his artistic sensibility is reflected in his dedication to community development.

In conclusion, Harry Meyer's journey in community development is a testament to his unwavering dedication to preserving the charm and character of his community. His extensive experience, proactive approach, and commitment to community engagement make him an exemplary leader in the field. Harry Meyer's role as Director of Vacant Property Reactivation at SWOP is more critical than ever, and his passion for maintaining affordable homes and community character shines brightly.

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