Saturday, October 20th

Last updateTue, 16 Oct 2018 4pm

 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.



Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network
Next Meeting
Nov 1 logo.compressed

November 1st at the Literacenter
641 w Lake Street, Suite 200
Working groups have been busy moving initiatives along and we will have time to reconnect as a whole network and learn about what folks have been doing!


July 2018 Meeting Report




On Wednesday, July 18th, Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network members and newcomers gathered at Lurie Garden, an urban oasis in the heart of Millennium Park. After a tour of the Garden, participants learned about Network milestones and broke into groups based on their interests.


Read about the breakout group conversations and upcoming events below.


Thank you to our host Yaritza Guillen and the staff at Lurie Garden!


Breakout Group Conversations



How to Engage with CSLN


Newcomers learned how to engage with CSLN initiatives:

·     The Policy working group creates an "in-between space" between City and grassroots leaders.

·     The Collaborative Events group is currently curating Nourish (comm)Unity.

·     The Publications group is exploring ways to share Network stories and assets.

CSLN Initiatives


Returning CSLN members met to drive forward current initiatives:

·     The Policy working group will meet with the new Chief Sustainability Officer with introduction from the previous CSO.

·     Nourish (comm)Unity's Intergenerational event is scheduled for August 4th.

·     Fifth Year Anniversary celebration is slated for October 2018!

How to Market Events


This group shared wisdom about how to best market events:

·     Try to speak directly to your specific audience.

·     Encourage ways to sign up and take action.

·     Have a comprehensive communications strategy rather than scattershot outreach attempts.


Reuse and Tool Library


Two groups merged around a theme of sharing materials:

·     Chicago Creative Reuse Exchange, Community Glue, and Rebuilding Exchange all offer reuse workshops.

·     The upcoming Chicago Tool Library will supply low-cost tool lending. Visit their website for updates and to complete an interest survey.

Native Bees


Native bees and pesticide policy action converged in this group:

·     An idea emerged to approach the Chicago Park District for a collaboration on how pesticide impacts bees.

·     The group will continue planning through fall and winter for the 2019 growing season. To get involved, contact West Side Bee Boyz.

Recycling in Chicago


A group met to share knowledge and questions about recycling:

·     The film Wasted profiles food waste solutions.

·     The group thought of solutions to take to high rise property managers.

·     Chicago Recycling Coalition and Chicago Conservation Corps were identified as sources of information and other resources.


Working Group Updates


CSLN gathers as a full group every other month with collaborative working groups meeting in the interim. No need to wait until May—you're invited to connect with a working group on current initiatives! See detail below:


Nourish (comm)Unity

Collaborative Projects Group

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Goal: Engage residents in holistic sustainability and grow peer-to-peer relationships through collaboration.

Discussion: The group finalized details of the upcoming Uptown coastal event, set the intergenerational connectivity event for May, and began planning outreach for the upcoming biking event. Also in the works is a civic tech event in October with Windsor Park Lutheran Church.

Next Steps: Update the outreach email for partners, share facilitator guides, and reach out to contacts on the West Side and bike-related organizations.

Get Involved: If you are interested in partnering on the upcoming events, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." target="_blank">Samantha.



CSLN Storytelling

Collaborative Publications Group

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Goal: Showcase member sustainability work and resources and articulate the impact of CSLN as a network.

Discussion: The group agreed to focus on member-to-member connections with an asset-based lens, seeking what members need and have to share. The goal is to create a nimble database and timely connections.

Next Steps: The group will test current format and begin collecting stories, assets, needs, and more.

Get Involved: If you are interested in telling the story of your individual passion, organization, or CSLN collaboration, please submit your story today via our online form or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



In-Between Space

Policy Group

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Goal: Nurture the "in-between space" of collaborative governance where community initiatives intersect with municipal efforts for change.

Discussion: The group reviewed the agenda for the March 22nd Roundtable with City of Chicago representatives and discussed themes emerging from CSLN initiatives as models for community engagement.

Next Steps: The group will set the next quarterly Roundtable and explore areas of alignment between the City's plans and CSLN priority policy areas.

Get Involved: If you are interested in the policy group and would like to know more, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



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.