The area known to compilers of demographic data on Chicago as the "Near West Side" is roughly coterminous with the area in which the West Side Organization (WSO) has developed. The black fraction of the Near West Side population increased from 17 per cent in 1930 to more than 50 per cent in 1960. Building on the increasing commitment of the growing body of participants in WSO, the organization began to take shape and to develop a program out of needs that its members perceived as the needs of the Near West Side. The work that led to the establishment of the WSO was initiated by people from outside the community. The beginning efforts were conceived, financed, and carried out by Protestant clergymen. In addition to the Reverend Robert Strom, the Reverend Donald Keating, and several other clergymen, four men from the neighborhood were employed as full-time workers.