The North Austin Center is a first-of-its-kind nonprofit campus for sports, education and wellness on Chicago’s West Side. Anchored by three 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, the 10-acre campus, situated at 1841 North Laramie Avenue, enables equitable access to education, sports and holistic wellness services. The North Austin Center serves 25,000 individuals annually and provides more than 100 hours each week for members of the community to participate in sports, classes and other activities.
- The Chicago Fire Turf Field House: Chicago’s largest indoor turf field
- Jason Heyward Baseball Academy
- The Chicago Fire P.L.A.Y.S. Program
- Intentional Sports Youth Academies and community-based sports activities
- GAP Revive Center providing wraparound services including weekly food pantry
- By The Hand Club For Kids after-school programs
- Drop-in community activities
- Open gym
- Space available for professional and community use
For more information, contact The North Austin Community Center at firstname.lastname@example.org
North Austin Center Board of Directors:
Brian played football for the Northwestern Wildcats and was a member of the 1995 and 1996 Big Ten Championship teams. Since graduating Northwestern, Brian dreamed of bringing a facility with excellent sports opportunities to youth who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity. After serving on the Board of By The Hand Club For Kids for years and hearing the vision for the North Austin Center from Donnita Travis and Pastor John Zayas, Brian was able to help make the vision a reality by introducing the team to his longtime friend and sports expert, Andy McDermott. Andy joined the team in 2020 to run all the sports programming at the center. Brian is a founder and managing partner of Promus Holdings, and holds a B.A. in organizational studies from Northwestern. He lives in Wheaton, Illinois with his wife and their three children.
Pastor John Zayas
Pastor John Zayas is the founder and Senior Pastor of Grace and Peace Church, Co-Founder of The GAP Community Center and CEO of the Revive Center. Pastor John’s vision is to build individuals, families and communities by strengthening and developing their capacity to thrive. Serving in Austin for over 20 years, Pastor John is committed to the idea of the Church and Community serving as one for our city and neighborhoods. In 2009, Pastor John led the Grace and Peace congregation to move to the former Glidden Paint Factory. For over a decade Pastor John has worked with the community to rehab the 80,000 sq. ft. facility and transform it into a comprehensive hub to serve families in the community. Pastor John has built extensive partnerships and brought much-needed services to the neighborhood including operating one of the largest food pantries in the city of Chicago, bringing 100 jobs to the Revive Center and being a catalyst for the development of the North Austin Center.
Twenty years ago, Donnita Travis saw kids in Cabrini-Green who were failing in school, getting in trouble and literally had no place to go after school, the most dangerous time of their day. Feeling called to do something about it, she quit her job as president of a successful advertising agency and started By The Hand Club For Kids, giving 16 of those children a place to go. Today, By The Hand Club serves 1,800 children in four neighborhoods and plans to accommodate more than twice that in the next decade. In addition to 18 years in advertising, Donnita received her MBA from Northwestern University and was named the 2010 Kellogg School of Management Social Entrepreneur of the Year. Chicago Magazine named her Chicagoan of the Year in 2012. Donnita serves as executive director and a full-time volunteer at By The Hand Club For Kids, which has an annual budget of $17 million.