Pastor of Woodlawn church raises $10M living on rooftop, staying to raise $25M more

Chicago fundraiser is for new Woodlawn community center

John Garcia Image
Monday, February 28, 2022
Chicago pastor says he'll stay on rooftop until he raises $35M
Corey Brooks, pastor of New Beginnings Church in Chicago's Woodlawn neighborhood, said he will stay on a rooftop to raise more money.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Pastor Corey Brooks is marking 100 days of living outside on a rooftop as he tries to raise millions of dollars to build a new community center in Woodlawn.

A small space on the top of four shipping containers has been home for Brooks for the last 100 days. The containers sit right across the street from the New Beginnings Church, where he is the pastor.

Since mid-November, he has been living on what they call a rooftop, raising money to build a community center on the property.

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He has been there through the bitter cold temperatures of winter and the holidays, including Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Last night, Brooks said he heard about 30 gunshots fired down the street - and that's why he's here.

"So much violence happens, we become desensitized, it becomes normalized," Brooks said. "We don't want it to become normal."

Brooks originally planned to stay on the rooftop for 100 days, hoping to raise $35 million to build a community center that would provide safety and opportunity to people living in this community. So far he has raised $10 million. It's an amazing accomplishment, he says, but not enough.

"My goal was to come down today but since we have not raised the money we need, I'm not gonna leave," he said.

Brooks has had lots of company on the rooftop, including CEOs and other influential people, hoping to get his message out to as many as possible.

Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts spent a night on the roof. So did former Bulls star Joakim Noah, among many others. Brooks said once people spend time here, they better understand the violence and chaos those who live here deal with every day. And he says his work is not yet done.

"All I know is, my job is to stay here, keep bringing attention to it, keep praying about it," he said.

Pastor Brooks said he has no idea how long it will take to raise the $25 million he needs to reach his goal, but he says if it's a week, a month, or a year, he's committed.