Today, The Chicago Community Trust announces its latest Centennial initiative, Stories of Philanthropy. In our Centennial year of 2015, the Trust wants to spark a movement that inspires Chicagoland to become the most generous and philanthropic region in the nation. To do that, we need you. We want to know about the people, the places and programs that improve our region and the lives of others.
If you participated in On the Table on May 12 this year, you know that the Trust is on a quest to reimagine philanthropy and reclaim its meaning. We all know how important the big-dollar donations are, and historically, that has been the face of philanthropy. As this region’s community foundation, however, the Trust recognizes the power of collective impact—it takes all of us, in every way, at every level to ensure our region is a place where everyone has the opportunity to thrive and live fully. That is philanthropy.
Our communities are filled with every day people committed to bringing a bit of good to the world. And those stories need to be heard.
You may wonder why we, a community foundation, are taking on storytelling. The answer is simple: what you do matters; and without you and the work you do, The Chicago Community Trust would not exist. We are honored and humbled by people’s commitment to this region and believe that your stories will be what inspires us all to care more, to do more. We want to express our gratitude by creating an opportunity to hear those stories and amplify them.
The Trust has enlisted some pretty amazing partners for our Stories of Philanthropy initiative, including StoryCorps, Vocalo, CHIRP (the Chicago Independent Radio Project), The Moth, and Free Spirit Media, among others.
Throughout the year, residents can visit the StoryCorps booth at the Chicago Cultural Center and record what philanthropy means to them, tell a loved one how their generosity has impacted them or talk about how they are working to make our community stronger. Every person that participates will receive a recording of their interview, and have an opportunity to archive it at the Library of Congress.
Vocalo, public radio for the next generation, is hosting a series of storytelling workshops throughout our Centennial year where participants will work with Vocalo professionals to produce their own audio pieces on philanthropy and how storytelling has the power to impact community.
For the Trust’s Centennial, CHIRP, a volunteer-driven radio station, will produce a series showcasing the many aspects of volunteerism in the Chicago region, illustrating the ways Chicagoans choose to give something back to their communities and the impact that volunteers have on others.
The Moth is an acclaimed nonprofit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. The Trust will partner with The Moth to host four StorySLAMs focused on themes of giving and receiving. These open-mic storytelling competitions will be open to anyone with a five-minute story to share.
Throughout the Trust’s Centennial year, Free Spirit Media will work with Chicago-area youth to film and produce their own stories of community and what philanthropy means to them.
Like On the Table, we are looking to you and other community partners to make Stories of Philanthropy a success. In planning our Centennial, we realized that the Trust “story” is not simply that Albert and Norman Harris rallied civic and business leaders of the day to maximize their charitable impact. Rather, our story is really about you—whether you’re a donor, nonprofit leader, volunteer, or someone in need of a helping hand. The Chicago Community Trust is proud to serve this region and we thank you for joining us on this Centennial journey.
Follow #Trust100 on social media to discover other stories of giving, generosity and philanthropy.