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Gale Cincotta collection

Identifier: MSS0090

Scope and Contents

The Gale Cincotta collection was created by Michael Westgate and Ann Vick-Westgate during their eight years of research for the book Gale Force: Gale Cincotta and the Fight for Community Reinvestment (2011). This collection includes the authors’ notes, research files, various publications collected during their research, and transcripts of interviews conducted for the book. Westgate met Cincotta in 1973 while working at the Federal Home Loan and Bank Board. After Cincotta’s death in 2001, Westgate’s admiration for her work inspired the book project Gale Force. The authors had three goals for this book. The first was to memorialize Cincotta for her work. Secondly, the book aims to inspire people to make a difference in their communities and realize that this does not require a degreed education or a great deal of money. Finally, it asks what it takes to make a city vibrant and affordable for everyone who wants to live there.


  • 1957-2011
  • Majority of material found within 2002-2005

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Biographical / Historical

Gale Cincotta was born on December 28th, 1929. She was a resident of the Austin neighborhood of Chicago and became a community organizer and activist in the 1970s. As a mother of six boys, she wanted to improve her children’s overcrowded schools. She learned that the quality of the public schools was closely tied to the value of the neighborhood real estate. This meant that a deteriorating neighborhood would have deteriorating schools. Moreover, the various organizations that gave loans and insured property redlined or refused to provide services to these areas based on ethnic makeup and lower income. In reaction to these practices, Cincotta co-founded the National Training and Information Center (NTIC) with Shel Trapp and Anne-Marie Douglas in 1972 in Chicago. The group was established to provide technical assistance and training for community organizers and neighborhood leaders. NTIC’s primary objective was to help community residents build grassroots leadership in order to strengthen communities. In the same year, Cincotta also created National People’s Action (NPA), a coalition of grassroots neighborhood organizations founded to represent neighborhood interests with federal banking and housing agencies. Through her work at the NPA, Cincotta attacked the government’s role as a “lender of last resort” and organized groups against redlining based on racial and economic makeup. One of Cincotta’s most notable achievements was her support for the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977 of which won her the name, Mother of the CRA. The CRA helped low-income Americans access decent affordable housing. Cincotta received several awards throughout her 30-year career as a community organizer and activist. She received the Chicago Commission on Human Rights Award in 1985, the Ms. Foundation Woman of the Year Award in 1986, and the first Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago Neighborhood Partnership Award. Cincotta was active in community work until her death on August 15, 2001.


5 Linear Feet (6 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is organized into 5 series: 1. Biographical Information; 2. The National Training and Information Center (NTIC); 3. Book Project Files; 4. Research Files; 5. Interview Files. With a few exceptions, the original file folders used and maintained by the Westgates were kept intact by the processor. The overall arrangement also reflects the order of the files used by the Westgates. The majority of the files are arranged chronologically.

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession 2011.35

Processing Information

K. Gosa 2012

Guide to Gale Cincotta collection
K. Gosa 2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the DePaul Special Collections and Archives Repository

John T. Richardson Library
2350 N. Kenmore Ave.
Room 314
Chicago Illinois 60614