The public square is reborn.

On May 12, 10,000 neighbors throughout our region joined together in conversations about Chicago's challenges, its strengths, its identity. Its future.

The Chicago Community Trust marked our 99th anniversary with a community-wide conversation about our collective future. We invited you to join thousands of others to generate new ideas, spark partnerships and shape a public agenda to build and sustain strong, safe and dynamic communities.

So what's next? The ideas shared during On the Table will be gathered and taken to heart by the Trust as it prepares for a new century of grant making and community leadership.

•  The On the Table report. The Trust invited the University of Illinois at Chicago's (UIC) Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement (IPCE) to partner and assess the impact of On the Table: who participated, key discussion themes, outcomes and impacts on future civic engagement. Check out the digital report for the big ideas, and download the PDF while you're there for a more detailed picture.

•  Collaboratories at Chicago Ideas Week. An annual celebration of big plans, Chicago Ideas Week has committed to workshopping six promising ideas heard at On the Table on its main stage in October. With the help of Chicago-based innovation firms, the six working groups will develop a sustainable plan and begin to put their ideas into action.

Click here to explore: Collaboratories in more depth
The Trust received nearly 1,000 ideas from the day's participants. Trust staff and an external selection committee, including representatives from Chicago Ideas Week, the Starter League, Redbox, and other civic and business leaders, further evaluated these submissions to select six for further refinement and development.
During Chicago Ideas Week, these ideas will be refined during lab sessions led by Chicago-based innovation firms Doblin, Gravity Tank, Greater Good Studio and IDEO. Then over the course of the fall and winter, the Trust will continue to support the six collaboratory working groups as they develop a sustainable plan. In April 2015, each team will have the opportunity to pitch their proposals to a panel of potential investors and influencers in the hopes of securing support for implementation moving forward.
The six ideas are:
Asset Mapping. Asset Mapping aims to develop a digital platform that maps services across Chicagoland and connects high-needs areas to the resources they can most benefit from. The aim is to create a more interconnected Chicago by mapping out nonprofit and government services across the city.
The GenG Project. The Generation Green Project connects youth to opportunities within the growing fields of sustainability and the green industry. Chicago youth will be introduced to eco-friendly concepts through educational workshops and hands-on experiences.
Opportunity Hubs. Opportunity Hubs aim to help solve one of Chicago's most intractable problems and put abandoned building to good use. Revitalizing vacant properties to create innovation hubs in underserved communities promotes community change self-determined by local communities.
Parent Engagement Roadmap. Parent Engagement Roadmap aspires to empower parents to navigate and improve their local neighborhood school system.
Sister Neighborhoods. The Sister Neighborhoods working group hopes to organize and facilitate the exchange of cultural awareness, and create hospitality and openness, through activities across communities in the city and suburbs.
Where is your Bench? A campaign to encourage people to identify, establish and leverage safe spaces on their own blocks where people can gather—or already do—and get to know each other on a regular basis. This meeting spaces aim to help transform Chicago's neighborhoods into resilient, interconnected communities.


There's more to come. We will share updates about how the momentum keeps going on as new plans emerge, so please keep listening and sharing.


State of the Community: Trust president & CEO Terry Mazany delivered the annual State of the Community address on June 18, 2014 at the City Club of Chicago. His talk reflected on the region's priorities and ideas that surfaced during the community conversations of On the Table. Watch his address

Hear more about the event in this ABC7 interview with Terry Mazany.


News coverage from On the Table 2014:


Your voice. Our communities. We're putting it all On the Table.

Ways to stay involved: