Sunday, May 27th

Last updateTue, 21 Mar 2017 2pm

CSLN Members

This is a list of our current members. To learn more about what membership entails and/or declare your membership, please visit our membership page.



Richard Alton

Interfaith Green Network/Green Community Connections

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (773) 344-7172

Been part of the Green Movement for the last 5 years; before was involved outside the USA in community development and supporting local NGOs. Presently have a lot of passion around the One Earth Film Festival and its expansion to Chicago communities as a lever for strengthening communities through networking and collaborative efforts. To learn more visit:



Simone Alexander
Enlace Chicago
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Simone is currently the Community Development Director at Enlace Chicago in Little Village, where she has been working since July 2005. She is passionate about working with community leaders and stakeholders to create strong, sustainable communities through community-driven planning and development.
To learn more visit:  




Susan Ask

Animalia Project
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Susan Ask is an ecologist and educator—and founder of Animalia Project. She appreciates the holistic view of sustainability that is embraced by this network. She has migrated between research and education-- working as a conservation land manager, field ecologist and university Extension agent -- since receiving an M.E.S. in ecosystem science and management from Yale University. Susan founded Animalia Project, a new endeavor that bridges science, action and education to create a better environment for all of us in the animal kingdom, with a focus on climate change and urban habitats.
To learn more visit:




Terry Bergdall

Faculty Member of the ABCD Institute

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Terry Bergdall first worked with ICA as a university intern and returned in 2009 with extensive international experience in community development, organizational change, project design and evaluation. He lived and worked in Africa for 18 years where his focus was village development. This included a period as the coordinator of an action-research project in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe while employed by the Swedish Cooperative Center. He is pleased to be a part of CSLN because of its emphasis on community initiatives and ways that bottom-up development can creatively interact with, and influence, top-down planning and programming.

To learn more visit:


Quilen Blackwell


Quilen Blackwell
Chicago Eco House

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 1-773-358-4227 ext. 700
As President of the Chicago Eco House, Quilen brings experience and immense passion in both community development and renewable energy. He served in the United States Peace Corps as a community development volunteer in Thailand where he helped to form an organic fertilizer co-op for farmer. Upon returning from the Peace Corps, he worked as a community organizer for Community Action Coalition of Southeastern Wisconsin where he helped to expand affordable housing in suburban Milwaukee.

Quilen later transitioned to the business world where he worked in the biofuels industry. He secured biodiesel feedstock such as yellow grease for Fusion Renewables based in Milwaukee. He then ventured out as an entrepreneur as he formed his own business marketing and selling biofuels where he worked on multimillion dollar projects. He earned his bachelor's of arts in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with comprehensive honors and completed his honors thesis on the historical relationship between community organizing and business. His academic excellence and community work earned him recognition as a prestigious John Kenneth Galbraith Scholar by Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. Quilen also holds a business certificate in entrepreneurship from the Joseph Business School in Forest Park, IL, and a certificate in ministry from Living Word Christian Center also located in Forest Park. He is currently working on his master's in environmental policy and sustainability with a focus on renewable energy at the University of Denver.

To learn more visit:



Diane Burnham, MNA

South East Chicago Commission

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As the Program Manager of Community Development, Diane focuses her efforts on Sustainability initiatives, such as the Green Healthy Neighborhoods in Action (GHNA) project, and Arts & Culture Initiatives on the Southside serving five neighborhoods of Hyde Park, Woodlawn, Washington Park, Kenwood and Oakland. Specialization areas include: capacity building, community development, community engagement, and program management.

To learn more visit:




Matt Cardoni

Matt Cardoni aims to bring environmental awareness & activism to a wider audience. He is particularly interested in the intersection of art & environmentalism and bringing an optimistic and engaging message to the green movement for broader appeal. He has helped many environmental nonprofit organizations, most notably Climate Cycle, where he volunteered for 4&1/2 years and served as a board member for two of these years. He specializes in digital marketing and activism & fundraising through events. 



Romina N. Castillo

Romina primarily works with Openlands and Slow Roll Chicago. She graduated from UIC Master of Urban Planning and Policy. Her goal as a planner and organizer is to contribute to the planning, design and development of healthy, sustainable and resilient communities through the implementation of asset-based community-driven initiatives, best practices, and through efficient public and private funding leverage strategies. Romina loves being a member of a network with individuals so passionate and committed to improving our communities through collaboration and active participation. She has also worked with Enlace Chicago and Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children.




Richard Dobbins Jr.

Entrepreneur, Landscape/Horticulture Industry

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (312) 485 - 0315

Passionate about horticulture and its relationship to urban communities. Very interested in “sustainability” its “conversation,” numerous facets and most of all “inclusiveness” and its value added significance.



Terry Edlin June 2014 cropped
LinkedIn profile: Terry Edlin
New Community Vision:


Terry Edlin
New Community Vision
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Safe, secure, affordable housing is ground zero for sustainability. No one can do their important work unless they are securely housed.

Terry Edlin’s passion for joyful community living and shared housing has evolved since 2008 when she founded New Community Vision’s ( website and blog.

The concept has gelled into FACILITATING HOME SHARING WITH PEOPLE WHO LIKE EACH OTHER. Our strategy is to partner with congregations and community groups to create frequent occasions for their members to gather socially. Those gatherings are fertile ground for establishing healthy relationships that could lead to harmonious home sharing. If people are interested in sharing a home, we will stand by with services and support. No one should feel unsupported in a shared home environment.

She has been involved in the National Association of Housing Cooperatives, the National Housing Conference, the Center for Cooperative Housing Development, the Chicago Fair Housing Alliance, the Chicago Sustainability Leadership Network, and other groups. She graduated from the GoodCity Chicago Fall 2015 cohort. She has BBA in Economics from Loyola University of Chicago. Terry moved to Chicago when she was 19 and has always loved this city. She lives in Buena Park.



Steve Ediger
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Steve Ediger, a veteran of sustainability efforts since the first Earth Day in 1972, has expanded his concepts of the word to encompass personal, community, and economic aspects and understands that sustainability cannot exist without justice for race, gender, ethnicity and culture. He utilizes a variety of skills in information technology, communications, facilitation and organizing across many local and global communities to promote these concepts. Steve lives in the ICA Greenrise Intentional Community.



Timothy Heppner

Ecotelligent Design

(319) 321 - 7572 or

Timothy Heppner is the Executive Director of Ecotelligent Design where he expands knowledge, develops skills, changes attitudes and transforms habits which inspire people to become more sustainable. He is an international consultant specializing in sustainable performance metrics that identify opportunities for capturing and reducing energy, purifying and managing water, cleaning and improving air plus enriching and sustaining land. Tim is the designer, builder and curator of Charles Heppner Artist Studio, one of the most environmentally friendly homes in Chicago.



Larry Jackson

Chicago Eco House

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 1-773-358-4227;701

Larry D. Jackson is Vice President of the Chicago Eco House. Larry has been with the Eco House project since its inception in February 2014. He brings a wealth of knowledge in leadership and service from his 8 years in the U.S. Navy. Larry will be enrolling in the Chicago Botanic Garden's training program to advance his skill set in traditional farming, hydrophonic farming and acquaponics in order to better serve Chicago communities, like Englewood, through his involvement with the Chicago Eco House.

To learn more visit: and





Grant Kessler

Chicago Market - A Community Co-op

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Grant Kessler is a Steering Committee member at Chicago Market, an organizing food co-op on Chicago's north side. Grant is a strong believer that change in our food system toward local and regional networks with an emphasis on diversified, sustainable farming methods can make a large impact on both human and environmental health. Grant is also a freelance food photographer and the marketing and outreach manager for FamilyFarmed and their Good Food Festival & Conference. To learn more visit:


Bio Pic - Ben Lau - 2014

Ben Lau

Chinese American Service League

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (312) 791-0418 

Ben Lau is the Program Manager of Housing and Financial Education Department at Chinese American Service League (CASL), a nonprofit community-based and most comprehensive social service agency in the Midwest dedicated to serving the needs of people of all ages and backgrounds of the Chinese community in the greater Chicago area. He oversees all the housing programs which include housing counseling, Small Accessible Repairs for Senior, home weatherization, energy assistance as well as financial literacy education.


CASL became a member of the Chicago Energy Action Network (EAN) in 2009. Ben employed a number of creative and culturally competent approaches to promote energy efficiency, energy conservation and ways to tackle climate change, and helped CASl become a Local Climate Hero that was recognized by Chicago Climate Action Plan team in 2010. He is dedicated to raise the awareness of energy saving and climate action in the Chinese community, and proud to be an ally of CSLN.




LinkedIn Profile:
Company Website:  
Twitter: @CittaPartners 

Belinda Li
CiTTA Partnership
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 312-870-0822
Belinda Li is Founder & CEO of CiTTA Partnership, a Chicago-based firm that helps socially-minded companies and organizations become more sustainable and create even greater social impact by improving their business models and practices. Belinda founded CiTTA with the vision that, collectively, we can create a smarter world in which we can thrive economically while also achieving positive environmental and social impact. To her, this holistic approach represents what "sustainability" truly means and needs, and she is passionate in contributing towards the realization of this vision.

Belinda is thrilled to be a member of the CSLN, to help create a powerful platform that allows collaborations and best practice sharing between communities, because working together we can achieve more in advancing sustainability than if we work alone.

Before founding CiTTA Partnership, Belinda was the Program Manager of the Chicago Climate Action Plan, and before that, she was a management consultant with McKinsey & Co. Belinda currently serves on the Board of Directors of both the Illinois Environmental Council and the Social Enterprise Alliance - Chicago Chapter



Deloris Lucas
Developing Communities Project (DCP); Safety & Transit Action Council (STAC); Golden Gate Homeowners Association (GGHA); Altgeld Riverdale Consortium (ARC); C3 Leader (Chicago Conservation Corps); Earth Tone Environmental Group (ETEG)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 773-468-7941 (home #)
Deloris is a Community Organizer for Community 54--Riverdale; which includes neighborhoods: Altgeld, Golden Gate, Concordia & Riverside Village. "Sustainability, to me, means lasting forever or as long as it's feasible. And as you know, things change and I believe change is good! You just have to adapt to change...and adaptability complements sustainability!"

At age 58, Deloris is passionate about her "Quality of Life" & "Living Healthier". She is in the CSLN because she practices what she preaches and believes in the "If you something" approach. Deloris wants to make a difference in her community, therefore she helps to educate the community, as a whole, to make better life choices, especially the youngsters. Many of those same choices were not taught to her. Deloris believes that "Nowadays, we've got to change things up a little, to reach out & give a helping hand; because that same hand may be my caregiver, in the future."

To learn more visit:
Note: To send complementary tickets for Field Trips for Seniors and Youth Groups, use the Mailing address:
13134 S. Vernon, Chicago, IL 60827


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Bill Morrisett
GROW - Garden Resources of Woodlawn
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Bill is a retired IT worker. Active in community gardening since 2009. U of I Extension master gardener. Helped start Chicago Demonstration Gardens which you can read about at Much thanks to CSLN for helping to make this happen. Active in GROW. We have 14-plus community gardens in Woodlawn. There are many, many vacant lots here. There is much opportunity for more eco-diversity, beautification, new community gardens, and urban ag in Woodlawn.

To learn more visit:





Nicole Machuca
Friends of the Parks
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Nicole is an outreach specialist and environmental social scientist in Chicago. As a native Chicagoan and the product of diverse households, she is deeply connected to various communities around the city and is invested in improving the quality of life of all its residents. She holds a B.A. in Sociology and Environmental Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Secondary Science Teaching certification from Northwestern University, and recently completed an M.S. in Environmental Studies with a focus on social science and participatory research methodologies.

As the environmental educator and community liaison at Friends of the Parks she wears two hats; she delivers youth education programming to students and builds capacity within adults to further support access and improvements to their open spaces. Nicole is driven by a set of core values concerning empathy, compassion, fairness and justice for all people. She has spent over a decade dedicated to creating social and ecological sustainability on a local scale via formal and informal education, social science research and community engagement work, and looks forward to continuing pursuits as an environmental and social activist with the CSLN team.



Johnnie Owens

Centers for New Horizons

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Johnnie Owens is a lifelong Chicago resident. He has an MA in Urban Geography from Chicago State University. He periodically teaches classes at CSU in Urban Planning, Environmental Geography, and The Psychology of Urban Youth. His professional experience began working for the City of Chicago as a City Planner in the Neighborhood Planning Division. From there he went on to work for Friends of the Parks where he met and worked with our current President Barack Obama. It was through President Obama that Mr. Owens was exposed to and trained in the discipline of Community Organizing as a tool for the achievement and implementation of planning goals desired by community residents. He has worked throughout the communities of Chicago, including Uptown, Roseland, Rogers Park, Andersonville Chatham, and Auburn Gresham, to name a few.

Mr. Owens is now the Director of Community Building for Centers for New Horizons located in the Bronzeville community. He also serves as a member of the Steering Committee of Place Matters, a national initiative sponsored by the Kellogg Foundation to organize and aggressively promote Health Equity. He currently sits as Chairperson for the Planning and Zoning Commission for Hazel Crest, Ill. Mr. Owens’ current work involves building a grassroots organizing effort called the Bronzeville Alliance and the Bronzeville Urban Agricultural Collaborative, establishment of an urban Garden at 4158 S Calumet, and leading a grass roots organizing campaign to remake Corner Stores in the Bronzeville community.


JP Portrait

John Porterfield

eZing, Inc

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 708-848-3066

John is active with Citizens Climate Lobby, pushing to change the price of carbon as a key step in having the sustainable society/economy unfold. Recent CCL funded study by REMI shows carbon fee and dividend will create 2.2 million jobs, in addition to 52% carbon reduction, etc. John is always happy to share details on any of the following listed work, and other collaborative work. John is involved in monitoring and presenting to ACEEE Hot Water Forum 2015 a combined heating system that may be the least costly option for 50% of US households to achieve 95% efficient hot water and space heat. John has a public Google Drive ""bike electrify"" collaboration documenting work done retrofit electric bikes, hopefully sorting through the myriad options for this now fastest growing world mobility option. Ezing is active with five community groups that provide greencollar workforce instruction, and John and his wife teach Residential Energy at Wilbur Wright and 27 week-long sessions for insulation contractor certification that are available to other than firms with CEDA contracts. John is interested in re-initiating Hands On Weatherization Workshops that provide layperson support for residents and small facility owners to take all low and no cost energy efficiency actions that they wish. Workshops need one group that has access to funding. To learn more visit:



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Olatunji Oboi Reed

Slow Roll Chicago
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (708) 831-3570

Oboi is the Co-Founder & President of the Slow Roll Chicago bicycle movement, working to build a diverse and equitable bicycle culture in Chicago. An active cyclist for over ten years, Oboi rides at the intersection of community, advocacy, economics, health, and technology. With an extensive background in both nonprofit management as well as corporate social responsibility, he is most proud of his work to create a diverse coalition of people, organizations and businesses all working together to achieve equity in bicycle usage across the the City of Chicago. Oboi is an African-Brazilian by way of cultural adoption, a proud son of the Quilombo do Remanso, and now they call him "O Bahia". He is studying the health economics of Candomble traditional healing in the African-Brazilian population of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Beleza...
To learn more visit:



Emily Rhea

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Emily's life passion is to help merge the built and natural environment and to uplift communities through sustainable design. While her main focus is currently on the consulting and performance testing work she does with high performance buildings, she aspires to expand her efforts to incorporate more biophilic design aspects. She sees great value and importance in community and imagines all of Chicago as one community that works together to strengthen all of its parts.

To learn more visit:




Elvia Rodriguez Ochoa

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 312-863-6255
Elvia Rodriguez Ochoa is a multi-disciplinary artist, educator, and administrator, active for over twenty years. Steeped in community based practices, Elvia has helped foster the creative community in Chicago by collaborating with a variety of groups and individual artists Currently the Neighborhood Programs Director at Openlands, Elvia works to support community gardens with training in the GardenKeepers program as well as encouraging the growth of neighborhood garden networks

To learn more visit:




Lesley Showers

ICA GreenRise/Institute of Cultural Affairs

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Lesley became interested in sustainable design while studying architecture. She now lives in the ICA GreenRise and oversees the building's transformation into an energy efficient example of a mixed use landmark building. She is working towards a local solution to waste water management that will make the GreenRise even more sustainable.
To learn more visit:


Angela picture Angela Spinazzè

ATSPIN Consulting

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Angela Spinazzè is a facilitator, change agent, project manager, curator, and information architect. Her gift is organizing - people, organizations, communities of practice - around technology, organizational agility, capacity building - working with stakeholders at all levels to collaborate and realize collective change. She is a leader in the community design and support of open source software for managing and providing public access to museum, archive, and library collections. Her methodology is grounded in the principles of user centered design, agile development, urban acupuncture, and the Technology of Participation (ToP)®. Angela is a CSLN ally because of her desire to learn from others, to be more in tune and in touch with the earth, and to share her energy and skills to make our city more humane and natural. In addition, she supports CSLN's values that are grounded in collaboration, advocacy for equity and public spaces, sharing solutions to shared challenges, and respecting the roles of history and culture in our communities. Angela is passionate about slow food, slow architecture, and slow travel.
To learn more visit:


Mike S cropped Mike Strode

The Kola Nut Collaborative

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Mike Strode is a writer, tech enthusiast, urban cyclist and kitchen alchemist who resides in South Chicago. He is founder and Exchange Coordinator of the Kola Nut Collaborative, a Chicago based timebanking initiative. Its core mission is to promote and sustain a robust timebanking infrastructure which supports non-monetary transactions amongst individuals and organizations in Chicago allowing a greater sum of the realized value of work to be retained and shared within local communities. The Collaborative grew out of 7 years providing technical, operational and strategic support for Black Oaks Center for Sustainable Renewable Living and its distribution subsidiary, Healthy Food Hub. Mike's community engagment work has included ride leadership with the Chicago chapter of Red, Bike & Green; editorial and archival oversight for Fultonia; and co-facilitation of Art Is Bonfire. His current practice draws upon all of these experiences to interrogate the intersection of timebanking, social economy and community resiliency with skill based asset mapping as an essential tool for understanding neighborhoood infrastructure. Mike's passion include experimental percussion, social dance, Emergent Strategy, and capturing the relationship between natural, social, and sacred places in poetry and prose. To learn more, visit


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Joseph Taylor

Urban Canopy

Joseph first became passionate about sustainability as an intern with ICA's 2011 Summer Youth Program when he began to learn about the delicious potential of fresh, local foods. After spending a number of years coordinating urban agriculture projects, including the aquaponic and hydroponic systems, the rooftop garden, the compost system, at the ICA GreenRise, he started working at Urban Canopy in 2017. In addition to connecting him to partners for collaborative projects, he appreciates the CSLN for its collective energy that motivates him and broadens his perspectives regarding sustainability work.



Orrin Williams

Center for Urban Transformation
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Orrin is an accomplished writer and emerging photographer documenting what he calls the “aesthetic of oppression” in south and west side communities in Chicago. It is his belief that the aesthetic conditions in a community contributes to determining whether a community is healthy or unhealthy and therefore oppressed.


Orrin has been an advocate for and supporter of urban agriculture for over 20 years and has been working on food access and food security issues and their relationship to ecologically sustainable development. Additionally, he is an avid advocate for the development of a sustainable green economy and the creation of green jobs. Orrin firmly believes that society is on the cusp of the Third Industrial Revolution which will transform energy, the economy and the world and that all communities should benefit from that emerging revolution.


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Ted Wysocki

Institute of Cultural Affairs
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 773-769-6363 x232
Ted Wysocki is the new CEO of the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA)-USA, whose mission is to “Build a Just and Equitable Society in Harmony with Planet Earth.” Based on his 40+ years of community development experience,Ted launched his blog [] in 2014. He was CEO of the Local Economic & Employment Development Council, now North Branch Works, in Chicago for 12 years. Previously, he was CEO of the Chicago Association of Neighborhood Development Organizations (CANDO) for 17 years. He started his community development career in 1974 with Gale Cincotta, the mother of the Community Reinvestment Act. Ted is a director emeritus of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.
To learn more visit: www.ica-usa-org



GrassTops Members


Citizen's Climate Lobby

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Citizens Climate Lobby is an international non-partisan non-profit dedicated to solving the climate crisis by creating political will.

Our mission is twofold: (1) educate the public about climate science and policy, and (2) lobby members of the U.S. Congress and Senate to enact legislation that puts an effective price on fossil carbon.


To learn more visit:


CSLN Shared Leadership Team



Lorena Lopez - SouthWest CSLN Liaison

Faith in Place
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Lorena coordinates the outreach support staff at Faith in Place as they connect with and educate faith communities throughout the state around energy efficiency. Lorena grew a passion for nature as a young girl and started her first community garden when she was 10. She was a community organizer for the community environmental organization, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) and was involved with community mapping to demand a new, clean, safe park in Little Village. She and her team won major victories including the clean-up of 171 homes from cancer causing toxic chemicals and the addition of new infrastructure around a park site. She joined Faith in Place in September of 2013 as the Latino outreach organizer. Lorena’s passion for community advocacy and nature has led her to return to school to develop her professional skills, where she is currently pursuing a degree in Environmental Studies. She has been married for over 13 years and is the proud mother of three children.
To learn more visit:        



Toni Anderson - Southside CSLN Liaison

Sacred Keepers Sustainability Lab

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (773) 891-1967

Toni Anderson is Founding Executive Director of Sacred Keepers Sustainability Lab. Toni is passionate about the speaking on the ‘outdoor divide’ and promoting climate change education as a tool to create cohesive community classrooms for our youth and communities to learn and grow. She facilitates environmental workshops on sustainability, consumer economy, monarch and urban ecology.
To learn more visit:




Melanie Eckner - Northside CSLN Liaison
Friends of Cuneo
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Melanie is an editor who specializes in multilingual projects. She joined CSLN as part of her work with Friends of Cuneo, a coalition of volunteers committed to the creative adaptive reuse of historic Cuneo Hospital in Uptown, Chicago. Friends of Cuneo supports • the historical preservation of cultural assets • protection of natural resources and local wildlife • community-­oriented planning and development • housing across a broad range of households incomes • workplaces that fulfill a spectrum of abilities and interests. FacebookPhotostream


Network Organizers


Seva Gandhi

Institute of Cultural Affairs

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Seva Gandhi is a Chicago-native who has long had a passion for international community development. She earned her Masters in Social Work from University of Michigan with a focus on community organizing within the international context. Throughout the years she has worked on various rural community development initiatives in other countries. In recent years, Seva's interest had come back to Chicago, and more specifically, focusing on access to local, organic, and affordable food within an urban context. Seva currently works at the Institute of Cultural Affairs and spends a good deal of her time organizing for the accelerate77 project.



Samantha Sainsbury

Institute of Cultural Affairs

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Samantha Sainsbury is a recent alumni of the Public Allies AmeriCorps Member and recent graduate of Northwestern University. She was drawn to the ICA as an intern after learning about the participatory ways of engaging grassroots organizations in the accelerate77 project and continues to value the realization of holistic, collaborative sustainability through the CSLN. She appreciates continuously learning about the city, the way organizations work within it, and the potential to strengthen collaborations within and across communities.



Caitlin Sarro

Institute of Cultural Affairs

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Caitlin Sarro has been working on the accelerate77 project since in 2012. In additon to valuing the project's participatory process, she is most drawn to its inclusive definition of sustainability. Believing that community led planning leads to more meaningful action, Caitlin is proud to work on a project that requires the collaboration of different approaches to make sustainable communities. Caitlin is a graduate of UIC's CUPPA program and alumni of the AmeriCorps program Public Allies.