Thursday, October 17th

Last updateWed, 29 May 2019 2pm

About the Project

In 2011, the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) launched a citywide project called accelerate77, aimed at accelerating grassroots sustainability initiatives throughout Chicago’s 77 community areas. The project did this by identifying the initiatives and connecting them to one another, resource providers, and policy makers in a city-wide Sharing Approaches that Work Conference. The accelerate77 project has led to the formation of the Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network (CSLN). As the organizing sponsor of the network, ICA is currently engaging members of the CSLN, a network of local activists and community organizations/organizers throughout Chicago, in collaborative change making efforts.


Meeting Recap Coming Soon!





Network Updates


CSLN Meeting Explores the Landscape of Chicago Networking




On July 18th, 50 people gathered downtown for the CSLN at Openlands, one of the oldest metropolitan conservation organizations in the nation. Over the course of its history, Openlands has helped to protect more than 55,000 acres of land for public parks and forest preserves, wildlife refuges, land and water greenway corridors, urban farms, and community gardens. READ MORE


Memo to the Mayor
This year, Chicago Community Trust's On the Table event encouraged participants to draft a memo to recently inaugurated Mayor Lori Lightfoot. This opportunity is a natural extension of recent work by the CSLN policy team, which seeks to nurture equitable and impactful relationships with policymakers through community-led recommendations, roundtables, and collaborative initiatives.
At our May 16th network meeting, participants were invited to add their thoughts and input around the language of the CSLN memo and suggestions for the Mayor's first 100 days in office. The completed memo, which you can read through the link below, was submitted to Chicago Community Trust this week.

Working Group Updates


CSLN gathers as a full group every other month with collaborative working groups meeting in the interim. No need to wait until May—you're invited to connect with a working group on current initiatives! See detail below:


Collaborative Projects Group



Goal: Engage residents in holistic sustainability and grow peer-to-peer relationships through collaboration.

Discussion: The group is working on developing ideas for an intergenerational event series as a follow up to last year's Nourish (comm)Unity series.

Get Involved: If you are interested in partnering on the upcoming events, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.a.



Collaborative Publications Group



Goal: Showcase member sustainability work and resources and articulate the impact of CSLN as a network.

Discussion: The group agreed to focus on member-to-member connections with an asset-based lens, seeking what members need and have to share. The goal is to create a nimble database and timely connections.

Get Involved: If you are interested in telling the story of your individual passion, organization, or CSLN collaboration, please submit your story today via our online form or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Policy Group



Goal: Nurture the "in-between space" of collaborative governance where community initiatives intersect with municipal efforts for change.

Discussion: The group is identifying strategies for engaging with an incoming mayoral administration, as well as with aldermen at the ward-level.

Get Involved: If you are interested in the policy group and would like to know more, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



CSLN Business Cards are Here!
Members at the meeting suggested that it would be beneficial to outreach on behalf of CSLN at community events. We created CSLN business cards to help with this exact situation! If you are hosting an event, networking, or talking to members of your community, we encourage you to use these printable business cards to invite others to learn more about and join the CSLN.