Tim Noonan has been a resident of the 19th ward for 25 years. In that time, he has become known as a person who steps up to solve problems for schools, veterans, and people in need.
Tim and his wife Laura are the parents of three children, all of whom attended Kellogg Elementary School in North Beverly, where Tim serves on the local school council (LSC).
His first experience in community leadership began in 2016 when Alderman Matt O’Shea worked with Mayor Rahm Emanuel to close or merge three Chicago public schools in the ward, including Kellogg, which would have had detrimental effects on children in the community and the quality of education in the ward.
As part of a group of parents affected by this scheme, Tim and others fought back against this plan during
community meetings and in the press, countering the false narratives put forth by Alderman O’Shea about Kellogg, which has a 91% Black and Latino enrollment.
In the years that followed, Tim’s efforts – as part of the LSC and as part of a vocal group of school parents – secured over $3.2 million in improvements to Kellogg. Today, it is a Level 1+ school and was ranked in Chicago Magazine as a Top 25 school. All three schools which would have been closed or merged by Alderman O’Shea are now thriving and have students on waiting lists to enroll.
Because of his activism at Kellogg, parents from the National Teachers Academy asked for help; NTA was also targeted for closing by its alderman. Tim and other parents testified to the Board of Education against the closing of the National Teachers Academy. Chicago Public Schools eventually dropped their plans to close NTA.
Tim’s next ward improvement project began after the publication of a news article about a long-forgotten monument to Gold Star Families in the Dan Ryan Woods. Gold Star Families are those who have lost a family member during active military duty. The monument had fallen into disrepair and neglect. Tim convened a meeting to begin restoring the monument and worked with the Beverly Area Planning Association (BAPA) and members of The Gold Star Families to raise funds for the project. The memorial was restored and rededicated as part of a two-year effort and it now sits next to the Dan Ryan Woods Visitors’ Center.
In recognition for his efforts to restore the memorial, Tim was chosen by BAPA to lead the neighborhood’s annual Memorial Day parade as grand marshal.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, the needs of the community were not being addressed and many people in the ward were left behind. With much of the community’s service worker population unemployed, their needs were not being met.
Tim realized he could help the community directly by creating a mutual aid organization: 19th Ward Mutual Aid. The organization, run by Tim as an all-volunteer effort, created a weekly food pantry that fed nearly 20,000 people over the next year.
The 19th Ward Mutual Aid group then pivoted to fighting book bans and helping marginalized people through the Maus Project, which brought the book “Maus” into schools to ensure youth learned the history of the Holocaust. The group also organized neighbors to build a fence and design a garden for a local shelter that cares for abused women and children.
In recent months, Tim has worked with the Ridge Historical Society on a preservation effort to save The Pike House, a historical home that sits along the border of the Dan Ryan Woods. Tim is also the president of the local division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the largest Irish-American organization in the United States. He developed a program called Hibernian Talks which hosted a local “Bloomsday” event in June with local residents reading portions of James Joyce’s “Ulysses.”
Tim has also raised thousands of dollars for the Connor Lowery Live Life Large project through Queen of Hearts events.
All of these projects started with an idea and zero dollars. But they were fueled by Tim’s passion for helping others and his ability to organize community members to help where help was needed.
Due to his community service and involvement, Tim is ready to take the next step and represent the 19th Ward in the Chicago City Council. Tim is someone who has proven that he can partner with others to get things done for the community. He listens to the community’s needs, rather than dictating to the community. Due to his grassroots organizing, Tim has built a reputation as someone who can do what’s needed when others won’t.
As alderman, Tim will foster deeper community relationships between different groups within the ward. He’ll make ward decisions based on what will improve our quality of life with an emphasis on strong public schools and solutions to public safety issues. Most of all, Tim knows that better solutions come from working together to make a better 19th Ward.