Sunday, May 1st

Last updateFri, 01 May 2015 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 “accelerate77” 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.   

Having your profile submitted is a requirement to participating in the city roundtable discussion!


Save the Date!

The next CSLN meeting will be held on:

Thursday, April 14th (5:30 - 7:30PM)
Windsor Park Lutheran Church
2619 E. 76th Street

Agenda will include:

  • Panel around different types of membership criteria and structures featuring Jen Daniels-Lake of the Chicago Literacy Alliance and Leroy Chalmers of the Greater Roseland West Pullman Food Network
  • Developing the plan for the the June Integrated Network for Social Sustainability (INSS) Conference 
  • Follow up to the Faith and Sustainability Forum 
  • CSLN Policy Team Updates
  • Your topics & more! 

Mark your Google calendar and RSVP here if you know you're available! 


CSLN Starts 2016 Strong with Shared Leadership & More!

Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network members gathered at the first network meeting of 2016 on February 29th at Openlands. Thanks to Openlands for graciously offering their space!


This meeting launched the 2016 year with great enthusiasm towards new initiatives. In keeping with the desire for CSLN to be a self-sustaining network, members welcomed the new shared leadership team members, Melanie Eckner (north), Simone Alexander (southwest), and Quilen Blackwell (south). The team is looking forward to continuing to build the CSLN as a strong voice representing communities across Chicago.


The rest of the meeting was spent dialoguing in a World Cafe about three topics for 2016: the Integrated Network for Social Sustainability (INSS) conference in June, the policy working group, and potential for collaborative projects. Each topic accounted for a different component of the CSLN's mission. Members see the  INSS conference as a vehicle to engage directly with residents who aren't traditionally involved in sustainability. The policy group's work reaches a different level by engaging with aldermen and policymakers to create more equitable and accessible structures. Collaborative events impact members own understanding of each other's work, as well as bringing new community members to the conversation.

Working groups will move forward with each area and report their progress by the next CSLN meeting in April. If you are interested in the policy group, INSS planning team, or have an idea of a theme for members to mobilize around, contact Samantha at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..




Get Involved in the CSLN Policy Group 

CSLN Policy Group is currently working on the following tasks for the first quarter of 2016:

  • Creating a document with sustainability contacts/point persons throughout city departments  (water, transit, water reclamation, etc) 
  • Creating a document that helps members have conversations with their alderman and local officials around sustainability planning and how it links to violence prevention, job creation, and health
  • Assessment of where we as a network see different City sustainability policies. Whats working well/what areas are not getting the required attention. We want to work on this before we begin to think about what policy's we may be able to help draft. 

If you're interested in working on any of these items or learning more about the policy group, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.