What Happens to Your 529 Funds if Your Child Skips College?

We thank Herman Davis, Regional Vice President for Liberty Bank, for sharing content from The Liberty Line, a publication of Liberty Bank.

It’s a question that bothers many parents who have opened 529 college savings funds for their kids, or are considering doing so: What happens to my money if my child doesn’t go to college? Fortunately, 529 funds aren’t a “use-it-or-lose-it” proposition. Even if your child decides not to attend college, you have more options for your 529 savings funds than you might expect.

Benefits of a 529 Savings Fund

A 529 fund is a tax-advantaged account you can establish to invest money for your child’s (or other relative’s) college education. You can open 529 accounts at many banks and investment firms, and have numerous options for investing your money.

Some states offer state tax deductions for 529 account deposits. And in most cases, you won’t owe state taxes on your account withdrawals and investment earnings, either. However, the main benefit of such plans is that withdrawals and earnings are exempt from federal taxes — so long as the money is used to pay for what the IRS considers “qualified” college expenses.

“Qualified” college expenses typically include tuition, mandatory fees, books, supplies, computers, and room and board up to the amount the college lists in its “cost of attendance” list.

5 Other Ways to Use 529 Savings Funds

If you’re worried that your child may follow a path that doesn’t include college, here are several options for the money in your 529 account:

1. Let another college-bound relative use it. This entails changing your plan’s beneficiary — the person who will use the money to pay education expenses — to another family member. This could be another child (such as your niece or grandson) or a close adult relative, or his or her spouse (such as your sister or brother-in-law).

2. Use the money yourself. Have you or your spouse considered returning to college or getting an advanced degree? If you name yourself or your spouse as the new 529 fund beneficiary, you can use the money for qualified higher-education expenses.

3. Be patient. Your child may still decide to go to college after first spending some time in the workforce. Unless your plan restricts how long the account may remain open, you typically can leave the funds invested for years. They’ll be ready to use if your child has a change of heart later on.

4. Think outside the box. Higher education includes more than traditional colleges and universities. Your child can also use 529 funds to pay for technical and other qualifying professional schools — as long as the institution participates in financial aid programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. You may be surprised to learn that professional golf academies and other unusual programs sometimes qualify!

5. Withdraw the money — at a price. You’re always allowed to take out the money and close your 529 account. The catch is that you’ll pay federal and state taxes on any account contributions, plus a 10% tax penalty on any earnings. (The penalty is for not using the money for higher education.)

If withdrawal is your only viable option, consider removing the money in a year when you’re in a lower tax bracket (such as during retirement). In the unfortunate event that your beneficiary dies or becomes disabled and can’t use the funds for college, you can withdraw the money without paying the extra 10% penalty. However, you’ll still owe taxes on contributions and earnings.

As you can see, 529 plan account holders never “lose” money because their child decides against college. Ask your banker or a college financial aid representative if you have more questions about 529 college savings funds.

Looking for Developers With Experience Working With Community Benefits Agreements in Low Income Minority Communities

Do you know developers in Chicago who have a demonstrated track record working with low income minority communities who have entered into legally binding community benefits agreements? If so, please share their names and contact information. NLCCC will be hosting a panel discussion on community benefits agreements, featuring an attorney, developer and community activists who have successfully worked on community benefits agreements in Chicago. I will share their information with the committee working on the program.

Thanks in advance.

Valerie F. Leonard

Building Community Through Voter Registration

If you are interested in having your organization participate in voter registration, please email Valerie F. Leonard at consulting@valeriefleonard.com.  NLCCC has 500 motor voter cards and 250 absentee ballots. We also have a few signs you may post in your office or place of business.

Also, Michael Halbert, who is coordinating a registration drive throughout the community, is going door to door for voter registration starting next Saturday.  We will also be distributing NLCCC brochures in the process.  Michael will be working with Sheila McNary’s son to conduct classes for deputy registrars if there is an interest. If you are interested in participating, please let us know if you are interested in participating, and at what level.
Level 1. Becoming a deputy registrar
Level 2. Distributing Motor Voter cards at your front desk
Level 3. Going door to door for a couple hours on Saturdays

Chicago Department of Planning and Development Staff Report Regarding Roosevelt and Kostner

Clarius Partners proposes to purchase the Roosevelt and Kostner site from the City of Chicago, in the event there is no responsive alternative bidder.  A public meeting was held by the Community Development Commission on Tuesday, August 9, 2016. Embedded below are a copy of the Power Point presentation and the response to our FOIA request.

North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council Accomplishments and Work in Progress

The North Lawndale Coordinating Council  (NLCCC) is a group of North Lawndale stakeholders, including community-based organizations, business owners, elected officials and individuals, that guide comprehensive planning and implementation in North Lawndale. We started in April, 2015, with a goal of developing an authentic community-driven process that engages stakeholders “early and often”. As we prepare to take our efforts to the next level, we thought that we would take stock of what we have been able to accomplish to date. We thank everyone who has had anything to do with our success. This includes working on a committee, participating in events, making cash and in-kind donations, spreading the word about us, et cetera.

To date, we have achieved, or are currently working on the following:

  1. Developed a successful application for CMAP technical assistance resulting in an award valued in excess of $100,000
  2. Initiated relationships with Cinespace, Sinai Health System and Top Box
  3. Held NLCCC kickoff event that attracted over 150 people when we’d hoped to get 50
  4. Increased membership from 50 people in October, 2015  to 265 in August 2016
  5. Developed website, Twitter page, Facebook page and private Facebook group with over 4,200 views, over 1,700 visits and over 50 followers within 5 months of being launched in March, 2016
  6. Developed an occasional newsletter whose circulation has increased from about 143 to 268 between October, 2015 and July 1, 2016
  7. Held the first annual community development conference, which attracted over 300 people
  8. Developed 9 preliminary program logic models that will be used to inform our agenda and increase the capacity of North Lawndale residents, businesses and institutions to take advantage of the opportunities the planning process will bring
  9. Participated in several On the Table conversations in North Lawndale and with LISC to discuss ways of bringing about commuity unity
  10. Completed a preliminary North Lawndale Snapshot Survey to begin to assess the capacity of our member organizations individually and collectively
  11. Held an informational meeting with the Chicago Community Trust to get an overview of their programs as well as the Benefit Chicago Initiative.
  12. Applied for LISC Quality of Life Funding and hosted a very successful site visit and tour for LISC representatives
  13. Initiated relationship with the North Lawndale Kinship Initiative to foster job creation, economic development and capacity buildingWill be hosting the first annual North Lawndale Arts Festival in August
  14. Assessed potential for creating employment pathways leading to industry recognized credentials
  15. Hosted a transportation town hall meeting
  16. Attracted over $15,000 to this work. Proceeds were used for the conference, arts festival, copies and collateral materials. The vast majority of the funds came from our members and North Lawndale based organizations
  17. Will be hosting a town hall meeting on the health status of North Lawndale this fall
  18. Will be hosting a TIF town hall meeting in September
  19. In the process of replicating the Promise Neighborhoods model in North Lawndale Hosted a transportation town hall meeting
  20. Will be hosting a town hall meeting on Alderman Scott’s proposal for a music venue in Douglas Park on August 23, 2016
  21. Will be hosting a two-part workshop on Robert’s Rules of Order in October
  22. In the process of developing programs to improve local business and customer service, including a local flash mob to descend upon selected North Lawndale businesses, targeted for November or December

We will keep you posted on our progress from time to time.

Funeral Arrangements for Laura Lode

We regret to inform you of the sudden passing of Laura Lode (nee Ackerman). Her obituary appears in the Chicago Tribune as follows.

Beloved wife of Lawrence Lode. Cherished sister of Robert G. (Cindy) Ackerman, and Linda Data. Devoted daughter of the late Robert and Joan Ackerman. Loving daughter-in-law of Cornelius and the late Mary Lode. Beloved sister-in-law, aunt and great-aunt of many. Dedicated her life to the people of the Homan Square community. Visitation Sunday 2-8 p.m. Funeral Monday 9:15 a.m. from the Robert J. Sheehy & Sons Funeral Home, 9000 W. 151st Street, Orland Park, IL to St. Stephen Deacon & Martyr Church, 17500 S. 84th Ave., Tinley Park, Mass 10:00 a.m. Entombment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Foundation for Homan Square, 3517 W. Arthington Street, Chicago, IL 60624 would be appreciated. http://www.sheehyfh.com 708-857-7878 – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/chicagotribune/obituary.aspx?n=laura-lode&pid=180441889&fhid=2156#sthash.uHz5qNRP.VAGR6V9T.dpuf

What Can We Do to Reduce Crime and Violence in North Lawndale?

There are 77 community areas in Chicago. According to the Chicago Tribune Crime in Chicagoland page, as of June 13, 2016, North Lawndale ranked #7 in violent crime,  #29 in property crime and #4 in quality of life crime, according to the Chicago Tribune Crime in Chicago page.

What strategies do you know of that have been proven to reduce crime and violence? Can any of those strategies be replicated in North Lawndale?  We posted these questions on Facebook, and got the following responses so far.

“I don’t know if it’s been proven but giving people in the community jobs, that benefit the community. For instance, jobs that clean up the vacant lots, by build playgrounds and gardens; or opening more centers for the kids to play and provide young adults/teenagers with jobs. Having accessible mental health facilities, to break the stigma and help people cope with the community violence.”

“For as much as I’m not a fan of Pastor Corey Brooks, I admire how he has brought the rival gangs together and called a truce. We need our churches to become more involved, get out in the community and befriend the gangbanger. In the neighborhoods, there is a church on almost every corner. I think it’s time the pastors to start getting together stratigizing. It’s time for the churches to give back to the communities by showing they care. It might take bringing in others like the Alderman and talking to the police chief but it has to start somewhere.”

Some people shared links to useful articles.

Police spend £5,000 on flowers to deter criminals

The display in Bristol, used as a deterrent to miscreants and petty criminals, is believed to be the first time flowers have been used to combat crime.


Flower Power Thwarts Burglars in Japan

Healthy Communities May Make Safe Communities: Public Health Approaches to Violence Prevention


What say you?  Feel free to post in the comment section.  We would love to hear from you.

NLCCC in the News

We thank the Austin Weekly News for their continued coverage of the NLCCC Comprehensive Community planning process. The following articles have recently run in the newspaper.

CTA’s Blue Line plans include new West Side stations

The proposal, still in the preliminary phase, will be open to public scrutiny at June 29 meeting

By Robert Felton

The Chicago Transit Authority is working on a plan to renovate Blue Line train tracks and stations between the Forest Park and Clinton stops, and is seeking feedback from residents of the North Lawndale community on the details of the ambitious proposal. More

North Lawndale seeking artists, artisans for August festival

The North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council sets July 22 date for participants to register for Aug. 6 event

By Igor Studenov

Over the past few years, Douglas Park has hosted numerous events devoted to music. Each year, the West Side Music Festival takes up the southern half of the park and last year Riot Fest moved there from Humboldt Park. But there was never anything devoted primarily to art — until now. More

N. Lawndale’s grand plan rolls on

A comprehensive plan, formed from the grassroots up, is still in motion for the community

By Igor Studenov

Earlier this year, a group of North Lawndale residents, businesses, community organizations and elected officials united to create a detailed plan to improve their entire community. More

Don’t Miss These Upcoming NLCCC Partner Meetings

Good evening. We just wanted to share upcoming NLCCC partner meetings. Please, come out and support our members.

K-TOWN Historic District Association Meeting

Many things have been and are happening in North Lawndale; the District should be and can be a part of it. Governmental and philanthropic organizations know of us now.
We have owner-occupied buildings without the resources for needed repairs, and new building owners displaying no interest in actually living here.
Are there grants to help with those repairs? Is there money available to attract new owner-occupancy with buyer incentives? KTHDA is a non-profit organization, which makes us eligible for grants that may help.
Tell your neighbors and friends. and join us this Thursday, June 23rd, 6:30 pm at Greater St. Paul AME Church, 4236 W Cermak Rd. Let’s explore our possibilities.

Paul Norrington, Founder, Vice-President
K-Town Historic District Association
“Celebrating History and Cultivating the Future”
P.O. Box 24072 Chicago, Il 60624
ktowndistrict@yahoo.com facebook.com/KTHDAssociation

Former Cook County Board President Bobbie Steele Requests the Honor of NLCCC Members’ Presence

United Baptist Church
4242 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL 60624
Office: (773) 722-4357 Fax: 773-722-8001
Rev. Dr. Wilson Daniels, Pastor
Deacon Lamar Coleman, Anniversary Chairman
Tinki Robinson, Anniversary Co-Chairwoman



JUNE 17, 2016 Email: tinkirobinson@gmail.com

Phone: 773-406-6512


WHO: Roughly 200 members, friends, clergy and dignitaries including: Mayor Rahm Emanuel, 24th Ward Alderman Michael Scott Jr., Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele, Congressman Danny K. Davis, Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown, Former President of the Cook County Board Bobbi Steele, Former Alderman Ed Smith, North Lawndale Employment Network Director, Brenda Palms-Barber.

WHAT: 50TH Year Banner Dedication and Prayer Gathering (Outdoor Event)

WHERE: United Baptist Church 4242 West Roosevelt Road, Chicago, Illinois 60624

WHEN: Saturday, June 25, 2016 at 11:00 AM – 12:30pm

For Further information about the 50th anniversary events and church history, contact Tinki Robinson 773-406-6512 or Email: tinkirobinson@gmail.com.

Rev. Dr. Wilson Daniels, Pastor
United Baptist Church
4242 W. Roosevelt Road
Chicago, IL 60624


CTA Blue Line Vision Study

Submit project comments electronically to blueweststudy@transitchicago.com

Join the CTA at an open house for the
CTA Blue Line (Forest Park Branch)
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
WHEN 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Altgeld Park Field House
515 S. Washtenaw Ave
Chicago, IL 60612
WHY Do you use any of the CTA Blue Line stations
between UIC-Halsted and Austin?

The CTA is engaging stakeholders on the Forest Park Branch of
the Blue Line and we need your input! Join us at this open house
to give feedback on CTA station concepts and modernization
plans for the Blue Line.

At the meeting, you will be able to view a brief presentation and
exhibits on station improvement concepts, talk with CTA team
members about the project, as well as give us your input on the
preliminary plans.

Can’t make it on the 29th? NO PROBLEM!
We want to hear from you!
Submit project comments electronically to
> How do you access these stations?
> How can we improve your customer experience?
> Tell us which station improvement concept you prefer!
Learn more about the Forest Park Branch Vision Study at http://www.transitchicago.com/blueweststudy

We thank the Austin Weekly News for covering the NLCCC Transportation Subcommittee meeting, in which the proposed expansion project was discussed. http://www.austinweeklynews.com/News/Articles/6-17-2016/CTA’s-Blue-Line-plans-include-new-West-Side-stations-/

Cook County Commissioner Steele 2nd District Presents
Cook County Land Bank Series

Date: Thursday June 30, 2016
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m
Location: Malcolm X College
1900 W. Jackson Chicago, IL 60612
(Room 1104 Conf. Hall B)

What is the Cook County Land Bank?
How can the Cook County Land Bank help you promote
development in your community?
How to engage the Cook County Lank Bank.

Cook County
Cook County Land Bank
New Covenant Community Coordinating Council
North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council
Washington Park Chamber of Commerce
Phoenix Association