The Chicago Community Trust Announces ‘Acting Up’ Award Recipients

Following On the Table, more than 60 Chicagoland residents receive
$1,000 to implement creative, actionable ideas

Media Contact: Katelyn Yoshimoto

CHICAGO – July 21, 2016 – Today, The Chicago Community Trust and Goodcity Chicago announced the 64 recipients of the inaugural Acting Up awards that will receive $1,000 prizes to help Chicago-area residents take action on their creative ideas to make their communities safer, stronger and more dynamic. Over the course of three weeks following On the Table 2016 on May 10, nearly 400 videos were submitted for consideration by community members across the city and suburbs.

In 2016, more than 55,000 Chicagoland residents participated in On the Table—a single day in May dedicated to sparking conversation about the future of our region. Every year, participants come out of On The Table excited and passionate about their conversations, armed with fresh ideas about how to collectively improve the neighborhoods and communities we call home. In an effort to help some of those ideas come to fruition, this year the Trust, in partnership with Goodcity, invited On the Table participants to submit videos outlining ideas for positive community impact, naming the new program Acting Up.

“The Acting Up awards allow us to invest in actionable, grassroots ideas that will make a significant difference in communities across the city and suburbs,” said Terry Mazany, president and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust. “We were so impressed by the overwhelming number of passionate and creative responses, and are looking forward to seeing these ideas come to fruition and their impact in communities, and on lives, throughout Chicago.”

Acting Up winners come from across the city and suburbs with plans focused on a wide range of issues–health care, gun violence, open spaces, arts and culture and more. The applicant pool was made up of diverse individuals from across the Chicagoland region–young, old and everything in between. Some applicants are working independently or partnering with neighbors, family or friends, while others represent a wide range of nonprofit or community organizations. Winning idea videos can be viewed on the Acting Up playlist.

The winning entries:

1. A Portable Word of Hope & Encouragement: Provide equipment and tools necessary to complete a “street ministry” in Greater Grand Crossing – an empty lot transformed into a space to host activities for community members.

2. Addressing Youth Violence in Our Schools: Address youth violence in our city and propose possible solutions to the problem by hosting a series of mealtime talks with those at the center of the issue – Chicago’s youth.

3. All About Your First Paycheck: Create an informational/instructional video to be distributed citywide that would increase financial literacy, explaining where the money in your first paycheck goes.

4. BACKBONES Dance Revolution: Host a workshop for people of all abilities–those with and without disabilities–to help address stereotypes and breakdown barriers in the community.

5. Backpacks 4 Kids: To supply backpacks full of school supplies to children in Humboldt Park prior to the start of the new school year.

6. Black Entrepreneurial Experience: Develop a program for 30 Chicago Public School students, empowering them to see themselves as job creators instead of just employees by visiting black-owned businesses in Englewood and work together to develop business plans of their own.

7. Black Girls Lead TedX Conference: To host a TedX conference that will inspire the next generation of African American women leaders.

8. Breakin’ It Down: Host a conference dedicated to discussing diversity in the nonprofit sector.

9. Chicago Film Screening to End Sexual Harassment: Host a Chicago premiere of “The People’s Girls,” a documentary film detailing the prevalence of sexual harassment today and how to change it.

10. Colores Project/Projecto Colores: Community members will come together in Little Village to paint street murals at intersections hardest hit by violence.

11. CommunINCubator SouthEast: Develop a workroom for members of the south side to collaborate on new, innovative ways to improve the place they call home.

12. Conversation Starters in Albany Park: Host two workshops that bring together neighbors of different cultures to design public spaces that demonstrate the diversity of the neighborhood..

13. DIVAS In The City: Create opportunities for girls to form bonds of sisterhood while experiencing their hometown and digitally documenting it all.

14. Eat Healthy, Be HEALTHY: Teach teenage girls to shop for and cook healthy meals.

15. Edgewater Youth Little Free Library Initiative: Host workshops about how to learn, build and keep little libraries.

16. El Paseo Community Garden Bench Murals: Transform a community garden by displaying new benches exhibiting murals on topics of Mexican culture, health and nature.

17. Enrich Evanston through the Arts: Host a community workshop for all arts groups and artists in Evanston, to learn what has divided our communities historically and how the arts can bring them together today.

18. Expanding Horizons for Southside Youth: Four south side youth-serving organizations will come together to arrange field trips to expose their program participants to one-another’s services.

19. Family Craftivism, Unity Banner: Use crafting as a catalyst for family conversations around social issues.

20. Feeding the Soul, Feeding the Body: Host monthly meditation circles to address violence in the community.

21. Free Little Library 5th Ward: Build free little libraries throughout the 5th Ward in Evanston.

22. Galewood’s Little Libraries: Build little libraries that have a large impact on community.

23. GED Drop In, Preparation and Instruction: Provide free GED classes to create a pathway to higher education.

24. Healing Courts: To provide equipment, t-shirts and refreshments for a weekly, nighttime basketball tournament in Woodlawn, aimed to keep kids off the streets.

25. Hermosa Works!: Bring books and green space to Hermosa.

26. Honest, Open, Proud: Expand mental health program to help reach more individuals living with mental illnesses, especially those in the most disadvantaged parts of the city.

27. Humboldt Park Peace Rally: Plan a rally for residents to come together to change the narrative of violence in their neighborhood.

28. Importance of Interaction, Parent Night: Help parents better connect with their children and understand the importance of quality time through workshops and family days at the Children’s Museum.

29. Improv 4 Everyone: Will create the first intergenerational improv troupe based in the South Shore.

30. Indigenous Peoples’ Day Celebration: Host two educational programs for the public to raise awareness of Native American heritage.

31. LA BROCHA, The Paintbrush: To offer art classes for Latinos with Alzheimers and their families as a form of seeking refuge and optimism in Little Village/Pilsen neighborhoods.

32. Liberating Youth Through Entertainment Summer Program: Inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs through a summer program that teaches high school students necessary life skills and the value of creativity.

33. Light Up the Night, London Towne Houses Co-Op: To promote safety by keeping the porch lights on at night for over 800 low-income townhomes of the London Towne Houses Co-Op, located on Chicago’s far east side.

34. Livin’ Large Lots for Youth: Generations will come together to create thousands of community gardens in vacant lots, improving communities around Chicago.

35. Mothers In The Workplace: The YWCA will host quarterly empowerment meetings for young working moms, hoping to eradicate discrimination of women in the workplace.

36. Never Go Without, Pad Pop-Ups: Will provide women throughout Chicago with basic feminine care needs.

37. New Progressive, St. James MBC Church Community Day: Will provide healthcare and other resources for its community.

38. North Lawndale Youth Summit: Host a leadership summit for youth in the Lawndale community to discuss ways to improve their neighborhood.

39. One Stock One Future: Program will teach students ages 8-18 the value of investing and more, turning them into public company shareholders.

40. Programming for Reparations Won Community Center: To provide diverse programming at a new community center opening in 2017 that serves survivors of police violence.

41. Project Talk of the Town: Will help to raise awareness of a community mental health provider to their neighbors.

42. Queer Heritage Exchange: Queer Heritage Exchange program will hold workshops geared toward youth engagement.

43. Raby Food Pantry: Provide additional resources to the high school’s food pantry, providing students and Garfield Park residents with the food they need.

44. Ready, Willing and Able* to Work: Break the silence around high unemployment rates for people with disabilities.

45. Redefining Beauty Through Art: A collective effort by high-school students to address trauma through the arts.

46. ScreenABLE Saturday: Host Screenable Saturdays allow for accessible cancer screenings for women with disabilities.

47. Sexual Assault Survivor Coloring Books: Students at Village Leadership Academy will create coloring books that help deal with survivors of sexual assault.

48. Sound Art in Amundsen High School: High school students will partner with a local nonprofit recording studio to create sound art.

49. Student Community Summer Project: Start an after school club helps students develop teamwork and leadership skills.

50. Students Run Chi: Provide supplies for this youth mentorship program that trains students to participate in the Chicago Marathon.

51. Summer Business Program 2016: Host an event for students on the Southwest Side that will teach website development basics. In turn, these students will help to develop websites for local businesses in the community.

52. Support the Continuation of Mental Health Training: Provide more tools and knowledge around mental health to the communities in the Southwest Side of Chicago.

53. Surviving the Mic: Create a safe and affirming space for survivors of trauma to tell their stories.

54. The Couch Tour: Host an event for homeless youth in Chicago to discuss issues around homelessness.

55. The Healing Corner: Expand an outreach program that places volunteers on the corners of shootings and drug dealings to provide snacks, hugs and other resources the community might need.

56. The TrendSetters Program: Implement a program that, through teachings of confidence, empowers youth in Avalon to be positive leaders for the community.

57. Uber Rides For Veterans: Get veterans in need from point A to point B by providing Uber rides.

58. United For a New Playground: Will feed volunteers working together to build a playground at a Hermosa neighborhood school.

59. Urban Gardens + Bicycling = Healthy Living!!!: Maintain community gardens to produce fresh goods.

60. Virtual Manufacturing Career Fair: Expose young people to manufacturing opportunities through a virtual career fair.

61. Why Not Local? Manufacturing Career Paths: Connect Chicago students to design and manufacturing jobs by hosting a version of their signature program in schools.

62. Working Bikes Cycle of Peace 500 Bike Giveaway: Give people the gear they need to pursue active transportation on the south and west sides.

63. Your Place at the Table: Hamilton Park Cultural Center will connect professional artists to collaborate with Englewood residents.

64. YOUTHink Politics-Chicago: Will host political engagement workshops for high school students, inspiring youth across Illinois to engage in politics.

“Goodcity is committed to identifying, starting and growing social entrepreneurs who are making a difference in communities across Chicago and is honored to partner with the Trust on this important project,” said Jimmy Lee, president of Goodcity Chicago, which partnered with the Trust to coordinate the Acting Up awards. “We are inspired by the creativity and passion shown by individuals and organizations alike in these videos, and look forward to seeing the ideas become reality.”

On the Table participants submitted their ideas online through brief two-minute videos. In June, a team of 30 judges representing a variety of community backgrounds and expertise spent a day at the Trust viewing and evaluating these video entries and selecting winners.

To learn more about On the Table, visit