Thursday, January 29th

Last updateMon, 19 May 2014 4pm

 About the Project

The Mission: Accelerating Sustainable Initiatives in Chicago’s 77 Community Areas 

Community-based sustainability initiatives are taking place across the metropolitan area of Chicago. These, however, are often relatively isolated activities with limited interaction between them. Though many organizations, foundations, companies, and government agencies have programs and resources to assist local sustainability efforts, many communities are unaware of these opportunities or unfamiliar with ways to access them.

The Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) is the organizing sponsor of “accelerate 77” and created the program in order to increase the role and positive impact of local community actions. Our underlying strategy is to IDENTIFY current sustainability initiatives in all of Chicago’s 77 community areas; CONNECT them with one another to inspire new ideas, practices, self-consciousness and motivation through peer interchange; and COLLABORATE with residents in systematic learning, planning, and collective action.

It is anticipated that the project will thereby ACCELERATE sustainability in a bottom-up fashion driven by practical action, expanded imagination, and greater organizational capacities among local groups. A key part of the accelerate portion of the mission is the emerging Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network (CSLN) which is a diverse, intergenerational group working on a wide vareity of issues in communities across Chicago who are passionate about learning from one another and working across communities for widespread, lasting change.   


Save the Date: Next CSLN Meeting is FEB 11th


CSLN members have expressed the desire for a predictable cadence for the greater network meetings so that they can plan ahead to attend. We are announcing that 2015 meeting dates are every other month on the second Wednesday, 4:30-7:30, as always at different locations. Starting Feb. 11 the dates will be April 8th, June 10th, Aug 12th, Oct 14th and Dec 9th.

Agenda for Feb 11th 

City Roundtable planning mtg 4:30-5:30 

CSLN Meeting 5:30-7:30
 [Location TBD]



CSLN Matchmaking Gathering a Great Success!

Over 30 people attended the first Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network Matchmaking Gathering on January 13th, held at the Fair and Direct Trade community coffee shop Everybody's Coffee in Uptown. The goal of the gathering was to help people identify their kindred spirits and efforts they might like to learn from, contribute to, or collaborate on, welcoming both returning and new CSLN members. This was especially useful because in early February CSLN members will finalize their ioby campaigns to raise money for collaborative projects. 

Attendees gained a greater perspective on their fellow CSLN members through vibrant World Cafe and Open Space activities. Participants were able to share their various passions in focused discussion and later host small-groups to more deeply discuss the topics of most interest to them. In a final reflection with the full group, each small group shared their learnings and asked for potential organizations to connect with to build upon the energy of the event. As the event resulted in collaborations for ioby proposals and many more to materialize, CSLN facilitators were pleased that the event forwarded the spirit of the CSLN and are planning to organize similar networking events in the future.