Sunday, September 24th

Last updateTue, 21 Mar 2017 2pm

 About the Project

In 2011, the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) launched a citywide project called accelerate77, aimed at accelerating grassroots sustainability initiatives throughout Chicago’s 77 community areas. The project did this by identifying the initiatives and connecting them to one another, resource providers, and policy makers in a city-wide Sharing Approaches that Work Conference. The accelerate77 project has led to the formation of the Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network (CSLN). As the organizing sponsor of the network, ICA is currently engaging members of the CSLN, a network of local activists and community organizations/organizers throughout Chicago, in collaborative change making efforts.



July 20th Meeting Recap
The CSLN gathered on July 20th at Faith in Place to connect and delve into exciting collaborations within the network. Special thanks to Lorena Lopez for hosting us in this beautiful space! We were thrilled to see a mix of familiar and fresh faces in attendance. 
Click photo to see the full size image!
One focus of the meeting was continuing to explore opportunities to collaborate as a network. Members mapped previous CSLN programming as well as their own community events and programs onto the Permaculture flower framework. The resulting image, shown to the right, provided insight into where members' energy was most focused. While the map shows a few very concentrated arenas, the group reflected that much community and CSLN work represents an intersection that wasn't fully depicted graphically. Members continued the conversation about collaborative projects in a small group.
Members spent time in small groups using Open Space format to discuss the following topics: New to CSLN for first-time attendees, Policy Group, Collaborative Publication, and Collaborative Event Series. The following chart provides detail on the discussions that took place, as well as next steps to get involved in!
Name of Group and Contact
Topics Discussed
Policy Group
To get involved, contact 
Seva Gandhi at 

The policy group reviewed CSLN priorities/values and their recent recycling work. The main arenas of action moving forward were following up on the recycling partnership, revisiting regular meetings with sustainability officials, and exploring the possibility of renewable energy as a second content focus area.


One key next step is a follow up meeting with the City and Chris Wheat.

Collaborative Publication
To get involved, contact
Caitlin Sarro at 

This group explored the possibility of creating a publication to showcase innovative sustainability programming in Chicago, starting with CSLN members. They discussed potential benefits for the network, opportunities to collaborate with other institutions, and content organization.


Next steps for this group are looking at funding opportunities and creating and piloting a reporting format for members to share their stories.

Collaborative Event Series

To get involved and join the August team meeting, contact Samantha Sainsbury at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This group continued the conversation sparked by the permaculture flower. Their goal is to coordinate a series of events to spark dialogue, culminating in a final celebration. Several topic areas were introduced, including awareness of sustainability assets, non-violence, and connecting people to nature.


A key next step for this group is clarifying the theme, timeline, and potential partners. 



CSLN Business Cards are Here!
Members at the meeting suggested that it would be beneficial to outreach on behalf of CSLN at community events. We created CSLN business cards to help with this exact situation! If you are hosting an event, networking, or talking to members of your community, we encourage you to use these printable business cards to invite others to learn more about and join the CSLN.