Saturday, October 10th

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 “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.   

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

Mark Your Calendar for 2015 CSLN Meetings! 
2015 meeting dates are every other month on the second Wednesday, 4:30-7:30, as always at different locations. Dates are April 8thJune 10thAug 12thOct 14th and Dec 9th.


August 25th Network Gathering Report


Last week, new and returning CSLN members met at Goodcity in Austin to mingle, plan ongoing projects, and engage in collaborative dialogue. Thank you to Amy Sparling and Goodcity for hosting the CSLN, and letting us know about their new workshops series on non profit fundamentals


Attendees gathered in Open Space format and discussed the following topics:

  • Faith and Sustainability Forum: This group discussed ways to engage a wide range of faith organizations that deliver sustainability-minded programming as well as organizations  that offer support for sustainable initiatives in faith-based communities in the October Faith and Sustainability Forum.  If you are interested in getting involved or learning more, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Hubs: This group talked about the current hub activity at ICA GreenRise and brainstormed other potential sites for hubs around the city. Members discussed the characteristics that make certain public spaces natural community hubs (libraries, parks, grade schools), how we can partner with those already offering sustainability related training's, and encourage those that aren't to consider offering them. If you would like to get more involved with creating a neighborhood hub, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • ISEIF: This group discussed the work to date for the ISEIF project with the new Neighborhood Housing Services partner and interested CLSN members. Moving forward with a proposal to extend the grant, the group aims to build on this year's exploration into community-specific approaches by developing a community engagement toolkit regarding energy education.
  • Energy Policy: This group explored policy options that would encourage the deployment and use of renewable energy at the federal, local, and state level. In true CSLN spirit, participants shared contacts to help each other's initiatives.
  • New to CSLN: New members are joining the CSLN all the time! When possible, we make sure that new attendees can plug right in to network activities by giving an informal orientation that allows them to understand the scope and hopes of the CSLN. At this meeting new attendees met and learned a great deal about each other and the CSLN!

Next Steps:

The next CSLN meeting will take place at CNT on Wednesday October 14th. Building off of our July roundtable with Karen Weigert, the meeting will include a 'consensus workshop' during which CSLN members will come together and discuss what we would like to see included in the city's sustainability plans post 2015. For more information or for questions about the next meeting, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Other events announced  at the CSLN meeting are listed below.


Join the kick-off Sustainable September Ride on September 2!

"Routes, Roots, & Wheels: Growing Englewood" 

in partnership with Grow Greater Englewood 

6pm Meet / 6:30pm Ride 

Start/End Point: 

DREAM Cafe & Grille 
748 W. 61st St., Chicago


Find a Sustainable September bike ride near you!

Routes, Roots, & Wheels: Growing Englewood

We Ride Juntos: Activism & Unity in Greater Lawndale

Riding to BUILD Chicago

Growing Food, Growing Justice, Growing Power

From Roots to Fruits: Exploring Gardens & Historic Landmarks in Uptown & Edgewater

Sustainable September is part of the Just Space series, in partnership with: