The long-term wellbeing of the Chicago region depends heavily on the focused, sustained efforts of passionate citizens doing good work on behalf of their families, neighbors, friends and colleagues.
In that vein, the Chicago Community Trust’s upcoming On the Table (OTT) initiative will provide a unique opportunity to foster collaboration between residents who are eager to make a difference in their communities.
Scheduled to take place on Tuesday, May 12, the event will bring together thousands of citizens for facilitated lunchtime conversations about ways in which they can work together to make the region stronger, safer and more dynamic.
This year’s event will mark the beginning of a yearlong campaign to celebrate the Chicago Community Trust’s 100th anniversary. In the spirt of the organization’s century of giving, the 2015 edition of OTT aims to celebrate philanthropy and inspire even more Chicagoans to engage with efforts aimed at creating a better future for our city, state, region and country.
Last year’s inaugural OTT rallied nearly 11,500 residents to engage in conversations about how they might further the reach of their collective resources—time, talent and treasure. Participants called for more collaboration and civic engagement as some of the best ways to confront the challenges we face and collectively improve the region.
In much the same way, this year’s mealtime conversations will be designed to spark a movement that inspires even more people to become involved in envisioning and preparing for a stronger Chicagoland area.
Residents can get involved by hosting — or simply attending — a lunchtime conversation on May 12. These small group dialogues will focus on various topics, such as ending homelessness, improving local schools and reducing crime. The topics will be driven by participants’ interests, perspectives and concerns. Dialogues will take place in homes, backyards, local restaurants, schools, community centers, places of worship and a variety of other locations that foster dialogue among citizens.
Researchers from the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement at the University of Illinois at Chicago will then work alongside the Chicago Community Trust to draft a report based on the insights generated in these conversations.
In addition to allowing for this detailed articulation of residents’ concerns and ideas, OTT organizers hope to forge connections between participants that will lead to tangible good in communities throughout the region.
Last year’s On the Table impact report can be viewed here.
Learn more about the project at onthetable.com.