"Welcome 2 Chicago" and Rebuild the Dream: Day 1 Recap

Thousands of concertgoers attended the launch of the Rebuild the Dream Village at Prince's "Welcome 2 Chicago" concerts in Chicago on Monday.

Rebuild the Dream, along with dozens of local Chicago organizations, urged attendees to take action and help their local partners and neighbors build sustainable communities, find sustainable economy solutions, create a sustainable planet, and learn about sustainable food.

Local music and art filled the United Center concourse with the sounds of the James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils and displays by local artists.

Check out the amazing photos from the first day:


Rebuild the Dream Quiz Answers

For the next three days, visitors to the Rebuild the Dream Village at Prince's Welcome 2 Chicago Residency can be quizzed on their knowledge about sustainable food, sustainable economy, sustainable planet, and sustainable communities.

Here's the quiz with the answers and sources.


  1. What does it mean for a household to be “food insecure”?

A. Access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources.
B. Access to a wide range of food -- produce, dairy, meat, and grain -- is difficult.
C. Families are unsure how to cook and prepare adequate meals.

Answer: A.

2. What percentage of U.S. families were food insecure in 2011?

A. 8.1%
B. 19.3%
C. 14.9%

Answer: C. 14.9% That’s 17.9 million households without regular access to adequate food!
Source: USDA, http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/err-economic-research-report/err141.aspx

3. Fill in the blank: In 2011, children went hungry in ____ percent of U.S. households with children.   

A. 5%
B. 10%
C. 15%

Answer: B. According to the USDA, millions of children went hungry last year alone.
Source: USDA Household Food Security in the United States report, 2011

4. A common problem in the U.S., a food _____ is a low-income area where a substantial number of residents don't have adequate access to food.

A. Desert
B. Tundra
C. Barren

Answer: A. Desert. Despite the name, “food deserts” are not natural occurrences -- we can fix them!
Source: USDA, http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-desert-locator/about-the-locator.aspx#Defined

5. Globally, has the price of food increased, decreased, or stayed the same in the past 10 years?

A. Stayed the same.
B. Decreased.
C. Increased.

Answer: C. The price of food has increased globally thanks to a combination of factors including more severe weather, and it’s leading to increased hunger and malnutrition for hundreds of millions.
Source: (Food & Agriculture Organization of the UN, 2011 report)

6. In 2011, how much money did the USDA give to factory farms in subsidies?

A. $15 trillion
B. $5 trillion
C. $25 trillion

Answer: A. $15 trillion that helps big agribusiness profits, not family farms that grow healthy food!
Source: http://farm.ewg.org/regionsummary.php?fips=00000

7. ____ is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations.

A. Vegan food
B. Organic food
C. Neither 

Answer: B. It’s better for the earth, safer and healthier for humans to produce and consume -- and great for building community.

Source: http://organic.org/home/faq

8. What does the term “CSA” refer to?

A. Community student association
B. Community subsidized architecture
C. Community supported agriculture

Answer: C.

9. Which best describes what a CSA does?

A. A farmer offers plots of land to community members for a small yearly fee.
B. A farmer teaches school children how to plant and grow food.
C. A farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public, who receive a box of seasonal produce weekly in return.

Answer: C. CSAs support small farms and small business, provide healthy, local food, and build community.

10. How many million people went hungry worldwide last year?

A. 300 million
B. 674 million
C. 925 million

Answer: C. That’s one-seventh of the world’s population.

11. That number includes __% of U.S. children.

A. 5%
B. 10%
C. 15%

Answer: B. Any percentage of children going hungry is inexcusable -- why are big businesses thriving in the U.S., while children go hungry? 


  1. True or false: Financially, low-­wage workers are better off now than low-­wage workers in the 1960s.

Answer: False: If America’s minimum wage had kept up with inflation, today’s low-­wage workers would make $10.38 an hour, or over $21,500 annually for full-­time work. Instead they earn just $7.25, or $15,000 a year!
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

2. How much money could the average American save by ride-sharing or carpooling?

A. $100 - $200 per year
B. $200 - $500 per year
C. $500 - $1,000 per year

Answer: C. Ride-sharing or carpooling isn’t just good for the environment, it’s a great way to save money.
Source: http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/latest/carpool-saving-money-tip#slide-2

3. Some politicians say we can't afford to create jobs because America is broke. True or false: America is broke.

Answer: False! Our economy is still bigger than Europe and China, and Wall Street is doing better than ever, but through tax loopholes, low rates, and more, the worst of the 1% aren't paying their fair share, while demanding that the government subsidize banks, oil companies, and more.
Source: http://www.rebuildthedream.com/pdfs/annotated-launch-script.pdf

4. What is the “jobs cliff” or “fiscal cliff”?

A. Another name for the 2008 economic crash
B. Automatic cuts in government spending that will take place on January 1
C. When half or more of a company’s employees are laid off simultaneously

Answer: B. Automatic cuts in spending coming in January, including for healthcare and education, would badly damage our fragile economy.
Source: http://www.epi.org/blog/sequestration-slows-recovery-job-growth/

5. How much money have the Bush-era tax cuts cost us in revenue since 2001?

A. $1 billion
B. $2.5 trillion
C. $5 trillion

Answer: B. Worse, most of it went to the top 2% of Americans. Imagine the investments in education or jobs we could have made instead!
Source: www.ctj.org/pdf/bushtaxcutsvshealthcare.pdf

6. How much have the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq cost our nation?

A. $440 billion
B. $1.4 trillion
C. $4.4 trillion

Answer: C. At a total cost to date of $4.4 trillion, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are a huge reason we have a federal budget deficit.
Source: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0611/58002.html

7. Triple-bottom-line accounting is a business framework that incorporates three dimensions of performance. What are they?

A. Revenue, Expenses, Investments
B. People, Planet, Profit.
C. Long-term costs, short-term costs, and revenue

Answer: B. Triple-bottom-line businesses are sustainable, community-oriented, and still profitable!
Source: http://www.ibrc.indiana.edu/ibr/2011/spring/article2.html

8. How much is a living wage?

A. $9.00/hour
B. $9,000/year
C. $9,000 per family member
D. It depends on where you live

Answer: C. A living wage is the minimum amount necessary for a worker to meet his or her basic needs. It changes according to standard of living -- but almost nowhere is federal minimum wage enough!
Source: http://livingwage.mit.edu/

9. Which of these statements describe “worker co-ops” -- companies owned by workers?

A. Offer better pay benefits
B. Are less destructive to communities
C. Are just as if not more productive
D. All of the above

Answer: D. All of the above. Worker co-ops are just one example of a new, more sustainable and prosperous economic future.
Source: http://usworker.coop/aboutworkercoops

10. True or false: tax cuts create more jobs than direct government spending.

Answer: False! Despite what you may hear, direct spending usually boosts the economy more, because extra money from tax cuts is often saved instead of spent on goods and services that create jobs.

Source: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/04/spending-versus-tax-cuts/

11. True or false: 47% of Americans do not pay federal taxes.

Answer: False. While they may not pay income tax, almost all Americans pay a payroll tax. Those who don’t include seniors on Social Security, troops serving overseas, or the working poor.
Source: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/09/the-47-who-they-are-where-they-live-how-they-vote-and-why-they-matter/262506/ 


1. What is a “green job”?

A. Work that contributes to preserving or restoring environmental quality.
B. A job in a new, developing field.
C. Farming.

Answer: A. Specifically: work in agricultural, manufacturing, research and development (R&D), administrative, and service activities that contribute substantially to preserving or restoring environmental quality.
Source: United Nations Environment Program

2. If we doubled the recycling rate in the U.S., about how many green-collar jobs would it create?

A. 500,000
B. 700,000
C. 1 million

Answer: C. Imagine how many more jobs we could create by also retrofitting homes and buildings with more energy-efficient materials, started composting programs in communities, boosted production of electric cars... the possibilities are endless!

Source: http://www.no-burn.org/article.php?id=732

3. True or false: Coal is the most common fuel for generating electricity in the U.S.

Answer: True -- and mining coal is both highly dangerous for workers, and extremely harmful to the environment.
Source: http://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/index.cfm?page=electricity_in_the_united_states

4. Each year, Americans use about ___ plastic shopping bags.

A. 1 billion
B. 500 million
C. 75 million

Answer: A. One billion plastic trash bags created over 300,000 tons of landfill waste.
Source: http://www.cleanair.org/Waste/wasteFacts.html

5. Each day, the average American produce about ___ pounds of trash.

A. 1.7
B. 4.6
C. 7.5

Answer: B. 4.6 pounds for each of the more than 311 million of us!

Source: http://www.cleanair.org/Waste/wasteFacts.html

6. Each year, how much do our tax dollars subsidize just oil companies?

A. $1 billion
B. $4 billion
C. $6 billion

Answer: B. How much are you paying for gas?
Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/02/us/politics/obama-calls-for-an-end-to-subsidies-for-oil-and-gas-companies.html

7. What is the total cost to taxpayers for subsidies to the oil, gas, and coal industries each year?

A. $100 million
B. $1 billion
C. Over $10 billion

Answer: C. Imagine if this money was going toward alternative forms of energy -- not something that is causing irreparable damage to our planet!
Source: http://priceofoil.org/fossil-fuel-subsidies/

8. The earth’s average surface temperature will rise between 2 and __ degrees over the next 90 years.

A. 5.5
B. 9.5
C. 11.5

Answer: C. And we’re already seeing the effect in rising seas, droughts, severe weather, and famine!
Source: Clean Air Council, Health Effects of Global Warming

9. Some say preventing climate change will cost too much. But how much will it cost to build sea walls, relocate cities and towns, and deal with the consequences?

A. 5% of the world’s total yearly economic output
B. 10% of the world’s total yearly economic output
C. 20% of the world’s total yearly economic output

Answer: C. We are going to end up paying big-time for destruction caused by global warming.
Source: http://www.ecogeek.org/ecogeeks/2525 


 1. What is the biggest contributor to the current federal deficit?

A. Public education
B. Bush-era tax cuts
C. Medicaid

Answer: B. Bush-era tax cuts, the bulk of which benefited the 2% of Americans making more than $250,000 a year.
Source: http://www.offthechartsblog.org/what%E2%80%99s-driving-projected-debt/

2. Credit unions are..

.A. Just as predatory as big banks, but just as safe
B. Not predatory like big banks, but risky
C. Non-predatory and safe!

Answer: C.

3. About how many people moved their money from big banks to credit unions last fall?

A. No more or less than usual.
B. Over 650,000 -- more people than in all of 2010.
C. Unknown.

Answer: B. Credit unions are more democratic and aren’t predatory like big banks -- they truly are “people helping people.” Unlike banks, credit unions return surplus income to their members in the form of dividends.
Source: http://thinkprogress.org/special/2011/11/03/360804/650000-americans-credit-unions/http://www.mycreditunion.gov/about-credit-unions/Pages/How-is-a-Credit-Union-Different-than-a-Bank.aspx

4. A tiny fee of a twentieth of 1% on each Wall Street trade would:

A. Raise tens of billions of dollars that could be spent on Main Street
B. Reduce speculation and risky trades
C. Have little to no impact on investment
D. All of the above.

Answer: D.  It’s called a Wall Street Speculation Tax, and it’s one of 10 items in Rebuild’s Contract for the American Dream.

5. How much could we raise from a tiny, 1/20 of 1% tax on Wall Street speculation in the first 9 years?

A. Over $150 billion
B. Over $250 billion
C. Over $350 billion

Answer: C.
Source: http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/cepr-blog/wall-street-tax-eclipses-other-deficit-reduction-options

6. True or false: the word “underwater” now has a new meaning.

Answer: True. "Underwater: having, relating to, or being a mortgage loan for which more is owed than the property securing the loan is worth."Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/underwater

7. 5 years after banks crashed the housing market, how many homeowners still owe those banks more than their homes are worth?

A. 1 in 3
B. 1 in 5
C. 1 in 10

Answer: A. Underwater homes are a huge drain on our economy. But there’s hope for these homeowners through principal reduction/modifying the home’s loan so it reflects fair market value -- and it’s a proven solution.Source: http://investors.zillow.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=702014

8. What is the average American household income?

A. $37,000
B. $72,000
C. $50,000

Answer: C.
Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/20/us-usa-economy-states-idUSBRE88J05720120920

9. What is the U.S. poverty rate?

A. 9%
B. 13%
C. 15%

Answer: C. America isn’t broke -- so why is such a huge percentage of our country impoverished?
Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/20/us-usa-economy-states-idUSBRE88J05720120920

10. How much student debt is there?

A. $50 million -- $100 million
B. $200 billion -- $500 billion
C. Over $1 trillion

Answer: C. The amount of student debt in America is larger than credit card debt -- and rising. From rapidly rising tuition to high-interest loans from banks, college is becoming less affordable -- and becoming more necessary at the same time.
Source: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/too-big-to-fail-student-debt-hits-a-trillion/

11. Most funding for public education come from the ____ level.

A. State and local level
B. Federal

Answer: B.
Source: http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/fed/role.html

Sustainable Planet at the Rebuild the Dream Village

green for all chicagoland citizens climate lobby little village environmental justice organization green corps

The word sustainability is usually associated with the planet and environmentalism. Prince is partnering with Rebuild the Dream to highlight organizations promoting ideas to increase green practices.

The following organizations will be participating at the Rebuild the Dream Village:

Green for All works with business, government, labor and grassroots communities to create and increase quality jobs in the green economy. Founded by Rebuild the Dream's co-founder Van Jones, Green for All is working to create green jobs to lift communities out of poverty.

Chicagoland Citizens Climate Lobby is a fast-growing, non-partisan group advocating for good policy in the important area of climate change.Blacks in Green promotes sustainable economic development in black communities in Chicago by weatherizing and improving the cultural heritage and stewardship of the community.

Little Village Environmental Justice Organization works with families, coworkers, and neighbors to speak up for the environment where they live.

GreenCorps Chicago is the City of Chicago’s green job training program and provides career paths to hard-to-employ Chicagoans with skills for the green economy.

Neighbor Space supports community-based ownership and management of small parks throughout Chicago, in order to create and protect green open spaces where community groups start create gardens.

Sustainable Economy at Rebuild the Dream Village

sweet beginnings chicago green economy

Sweet Beginnings offers a second chance for formerly-incarcerated citizens to find jobs in the green economy.

What do bees, computer code, and factories have in common?

They are all tools used by our sustainable economy partners to create a shareable, collaborative and local economy. At the Rebuild the Dream Village at Welcome 2 Chicago, we will be featuring these organizations using innovative growth models to create a new economy from the community up.

Code for America is a "Peace Corps for Geeks." Code for America connects developers and designers with city governments to change the way cities work through technology and public service. Volunteers from the Code for America Brigade in Chicago will be demonstrating the Open311 service.

Sweet Beginnings creates two things: all-natural honey products and second chances. Sweet Beginnings extracts their honey from urban beehives in Chicago and provides transitional job opportunities in the green economy to formerly-incarcerated citizens.

New Era Windows is a new worker-owned cooperative company that made national headlines in 2008 after responding to a shutdown of then-Republic Windows and Doors by occupying it.

Seaway Bank is a bank founded to counter discriminatory lending practices in Chicago's southside with a commitment to the community that continues to the present day.

Center for Neighborhood Technology promotes urban sustainability to create solutions for transportation and community development, energy, water, and climate change.

Sustainable Communities at the Rebuild the Dream Village

Sustainability goes beyond what you eat. Rebuild the Dream Village is also featuring organizations promoting solutions for sustainable communities, to lift up the voices of everyday people through empowerment and education.

Find out more about these organizations empowering their communities:

SOUL (Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation) empowers residents living in the Southside and Chicago's southern suburbs to address concerns within their communities.

Lakeview Action Coalition is a community group comprised of 49 religious congregations, non-profits, banks & credit unions, business groups, and senior citizen organizations. Together, they advocate for the communities of Lakeview, Lincoln Park and North Center.

STOP (Southside Together Organizing For Power) is a community organization empowering the residents of the Southside of Chicago through organizing, education and leadership development.

Chicago Freedom School educates young people on the history of past movements, deepens their understanding of current social problems, and helps young people lead social change movements with the assistance of adult allies. Think of them as a university for social justice.

Chicago Votes is not your average voter registration organization. They have three goals: training leaders, mobilizing millennial volunteers, and having fun.

Fiesta Del Sol/Latino Progress Institute - Fiesta Del Sol is the Midwest's largest festival celebrating Latino culture, and the Latino Progress Institute is an educational center helping over 14,000 participants with basic academic skills, a high school diploma or GED, U.S. citizenship exams, and job skills and opportunities.

Sustainable Food at Rebuild the Dream Village

Next week, Rebuild the Dream will be partnering with Prince to lift up solutions for an economy that works for everyone.  When Prince explained his collaboration with Rebuild the Dream, he said, "It's not political... we're at a place now in this country where we're going to have to work together and stop looking at each other's affiliation and start taking care of each other."In cities across the United States, organizations are working to create a more sustainable society. The goal of the Rebuild the Dream Village is to lift up organizations in four areas:

  • Sustainable Communities
  • Sustainable Economy
  • Sustainable Planet
  • Sustainable Food

These are four organizations working to make food accessible, healthy, and sustainable to all citizens of Chicago.

urban ponics

UrbanPonics produces fresh foods year round in the urban neighborhoods using hydroponics -- an agricultural technique allowing crops to be grown without soil.


growing home

Growing Home provides transitional employment and training in organic agriculture to formerly homeless or incarcerated Chicagoans who face obstacles finding a job.


fresh moves

Fresh Moves is tackling food deserts — communities with limited access to fresh food and vegetables needed to maintain a healthy diet — with a mobile farmers market that provides those things.


growing power

Growing Power provides training, outreach, and technical assistance to create Community Food Centers. Growing Power aims to grow food, grow minds, and grow community.

Why Prince Is Partnering With Rebuild The Dream

Prince is performing a series of concerts next week in Chicago. Rebuild the Dream will be there to support and lift up local community organizations working towards a new economy (Find out more about our partnership here.)

Ever wonder how this all came to be? Watch Prince explain to the ladies of The View why the partnership with Rebuild the Dream was a perfect fit.

Prince, Van Jones And Rosario Dawson On The View

This morning, Rebuild The Dream President Van Jones joined Prince and Rosario Dawson on The View to explain the collaboration between Rebuild the Dream and Prince on the "Welcome 2 Chicago" concerts next week in Chicago."

In Chicago, you have people with real solutions, and they are coming together at this concert. It's not just about the music. It's about the solutions and people being neighbors with each other," Van Jones stated.

Find out more about Rebuild The Dream and Prince's collaboration at "Welcome 2 Chicago" here.


Foreclosure Fail: Study Pins Blame on Big Banks

foreclosure propublica big banks

Over the past several years, we've reported extensively on the big banks' foreclosure failings. As a result of banks' disorganization and understaffing — particularly at the peak of the crisis in 2009 and 2010 — homeowners were often forced to run a gauntlet of confusion, delays, and errors when seeking a mortgage modification.

But while evidence of these problems was pervasive, it was always hard to quantify the damage. Just how many more people could have qualified under the administration's mortgage modification program if the banks had done a better job? In other words, how many people have been pushed toward foreclosure unnecessarily?

A thorough study released last week provides one number, and it's a big one: about 800,000 homeowners.

The study's authors — from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the government's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Ohio State University, Columbia Business School, and the University of Chicago — arrived at this conclusion by analyzing a vast data set available to the OCC. They wanted to measure the impact of HAMP, the government's main foreclosure prevention program.

What they found was that certain banks were far better at modifying loans than others. The reasons for the difference, they established, were pretty predictable: The banks that were better at helping homeowners avoid foreclosure had staff who were both more numerous and better trained.

Unfortunately for homeowners, most mortgages are handled by banks that haven't been properly staffed and thus have modified far fewer loans. If these worse-performing banks had simply modified loans at the same pace as their better performing peers, then HAMP would have produced about 800,000 more modifications. Instead of about 1.2 million modifications by the end of this year, HAMP would have resulted in about 2 million.

That's still well short of the 3-4 million modifications President Obama promised when he announced the program back in early 2009. But it's a big difference, and a reasonable, basic benchmark against which to compare the program's failings.

The report does not identify these poor performing banks, but it's not hard to ID them. A "few large servicers [have offered] modifications at half the rate of others," the authors say. The largest mortgage servicers are Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citi.

Bank of America in particular (the largest of all the servicers when HAMP launched) has been far slower to modify loans than even the other large servicers, as other analyses we've cited have shown.

Rick Simon, a spokesman for Bank of America, said the banks' "home retention results are significant and in line with our industry peers to date."

The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) paid subsidies to mortgage servicers on the theory that doing so would convince them to embrace modifications. The authors say that voluntary approach apparently didn't have much effect with the biggest servicers. They weren't very good at modifying loans before HAMP was launched and weren't much better after it launched.

The authors wrote that while they can't be sure why these banks underperformed, they "may not have responded to the program since doing so would involve changing their business focus from processing and channeling payments to actively renegotiating loans. In addition, this may have involved significantly altering their organizational capabilities, such as building appropriate infrastructure and hiring and training servicing staff."

That echoes on our reporting on how ill-suited the big banks were when it came to modifying loans. The result inside the banks has sometimes been chaos. As one Bank of America employee complained, "The whole documentation collection thing has got to be purposely not funded. Like, I can't get a fax. I work for a huge bank that has tons of money, and you're telling me that I can't get a fax?"

Since HAMP's oversight has been lax — the Treasury Department, which runs the program, has responded indulgently to mortgage servicers breaking HAMP's rules — banks haven't had to worry much about their low modification rates. (You can see this explained with a song. It's also a big part of our book on the foreclosure crisis.)

A Treasury spokeswoman, responding to the new report, said HAMP had resulted in "one of the most comprehensive compliance reviews of mortgage servicing operations in the country. Servicers in the Making Home Affordable Program are subject to an unprecedented level of compliance oversight."

The report did have some positive findings concerning HAMP. As we've reported, modifications in the program have been more generous to homeowners than modifications done outside HAMP. The authors also found that the program did boost the number of modifications — i.e. it caused modifications that likely would not have happened if not for the program.

The authors also say that HAMP might have induced more modifications if the program had not required such extensive screening of homeowners seeking a modification. From the program's launch, the administration emphasized that the program wouldn't help the wrong sort of "irresponsible" homeowner. That emphasis led to requirements that homeowners send in lots of paperwork to prove their income, which in turn further taxed the big servicers' inadequate systems.

Despite the recent stabilization in home prices and a drop in the rate of homeowners falling behind on their payments, HAMP's limited impact remains a very relevant issue. Even in the sixth year of the foreclosure crisis, the country remains saddled with an extraordinarily high number of loans in foreclosure — about 2 million. That backlog hasn't improved much in the last couple years, meaning it's still hard to forecast when the foreclosure rate will return to a normal level.


This article has been republished from ProPublica, an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.

Get your Deep Patriot shirt today

"Deep patriots don't just sing the song, 'America the Beautiful' and then go home. We actually stick around to defend America’s beauty -- from the oil spillers, the clear-cutters and the mountaintop removers. Deep patriots don't just visit the Statue of Liberty and send a postcard home to grandma. We defend the principles upon which that great monument was founded -- 'give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.'"-Van JonesI'm the graphic designer here at Rebuild. I loved that quote so much, I decided to put it on a shirt... and so far, it's a hit! I've got mine, do you want one?

This is the kind of patriotism our country needs right now more than ever. With a big election coming up in just a few months, this is the perfect time to get this message on a shirt for Rebuild members to proudly wear.You can order yours today by clicking here.