Sustainable development is commonly defined as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs." (Source: Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future: PDF) Whether for policy or in practice, sustainable development considers economic prosperity, environmental integrity and social equity as equal and fundamental components to the healthy functioning of a place, be it a building, neighborhood, municipality or region. Sustainable development takes a systems approach to resource coordination, considering all elements of community life and the relationship those elements have with one another and their collective impact on the community as a whole. For a comprehensive set of elements that contribute to overall community sustainability (going beyond the traditional economic, environmental and social sustainable development framework), see the STAR Communities Rating System.
Sustainable development and The Chicago Community Trust
The Chicago Community Trust asserts that sustainable development can help manage investments, local and shared, by upholding the three interrelated sustainable development values: economic prosperity, environmental integrity and social equity. When these values operate in harmony, our communities have the resources needed to continually flourish. Sacrifice any one of them, and our communities are set on a course to deterioration.
Grant making strategy
The Chicago Community Trust funds two complementary types of sustainable development projects: systemic change and community-based.
Systemic change. These are macro-level initiatives, typically from regional organizations and institutions that engage particular government, market or cultural levers to affect change for large numbers of people and geographies. Systemic change projects typically pursue at least one of the following outcomes:
- A connected, cohesive landscape: Initiatives that replace the sprawling, fragmented development patterns with more walkable, transit-friendly alternatives that conserve open space and connect employment centers to the workforce that serves them.
- A conservation-oriented built environment: Buildings and infrastructure that reduce carbon emissions minimize consumption of scarce natural resources and yield financial savings for private households and public taxpayers.
- Green market development: Market innovations, from energy supply to waste management to food systems, that unleash new opportunities for economic development while preserving the environment and providing key resources to communities hampered by disinvestment.
Community-based practice. These are initiatives that are locally driven and implemented, typically by municipalities, community-based organizations and nonprofits with local technical assistance programs that result in tangible sustainable development outcomes in a community or neighborhood. Community-based projects typically pursue at least one of the following outcomes:
- Well-planned places: Policy plans, development provisions and design guidelines that connect and integrate a street, neighborhood or community rather than isolate, sever, congest and pollute them.
- Informed and engaged stakeholders: Initiatives that engage and educate diverse local stakeholders, allowing for an inclusive, transparent planning and development process.
- Impactful programs: Local program implementation that reflects the sustainable development goals of the community or region.
The RFP for community-based projects is released every November, with a grant award decision in May. Preview a sample RFP for community-based projects
The Trust releases a request for proposals (RFP) for systemic change projects every March, with a grant award decision in September. Preview a sample RFP for systemic change grants
|Sustainable Development Grants: Year at a glance|
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|Developing sustainability policies & practices||none||Supporting community-based development|