On Monday, May 12, 2014 hundreds of Lake County residents from all walks of life will come together to share meals and have conversations designed to generate new ideas, inspire bold solutions and cultivate collaborations to improve communities region-wide. The Lake County Community Foundation is spearheading efforts in the County for the On the Table initiative, which will gather at least 10,000 Chicagoland citizens in celebration of the 99th anniversary of its parent organization, The Chicago Community Trust. Since the launch of the initiative in February, nearly 800 hosts have signed on to participate in these thought-provoking, small-group mealtime conversations. 


Hosts and guests are registering across the entire region – from Waukegan to Palos Hills and Park Forest to Downers Grove – and include everyday citizens, corporate executives, elected officials, community organizations and non-profits, news media organizations, schools and universities, students and faith-based communities. With nearly 900 of our desired 1,000 hosts secured to facilitate these mealtime conversations, The Lake County Community Foundation and The Chicago Community Trust encourage those who have yet to commit to sign up today at www.onthetable2014.com and bring their ideas and perspectives to the table on May 12.


“We are excited to be a part of such a large, wide-reaching initiative that is looking to engage citizens from all corners of the region. We have been inspired by the enthusiasm, creativity and ownership residents, business and community leaders alike have shown in planning these mealtime conversations meant to promote meaningful discussion about the collective future of our communities,” said Sylvia Zaldivar-Sykes, executive director of The Lake County Community Foundation. “But there’s room for more and we look forward to engaging additional individuals and organizations from across Lake County to join us and the Trust as hosts of these conversations in order to reach our goal of at least 10,000 participants.”


A variety of Lake County voices are already committed and engaged in On the Table, including:


·      YWCA of Lake County

·      Literacy Volunteers of Lake County

·      Waukegan Public Library


These are just a few examples of the On the Table participants and conversations that will take place – with hundreds of others across Chicago and the suburbs in private residences, backyards, local restaurants, schools, community centers, places of worship, offices – literally anywhere a host chooses. The topics, issues and ideas discussed during each On the Table conversation will be driven by the interests and perspectives of the participants, as well as the opportunities and challenges within their specific communities.


At the conclusion of the events on May 12, The Chicago Community Trust will send every participant a simple email survey, compiled by the University of Illinois at Chicago Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement, to learn more about their participation in this project, the interesting ideas they discussed and how this experience may impact their civic engagement moving forward. A phone survey option will be provided as well. The Trust will publicly share these outcomes, including trends, common themes and new collaborations developed to advance some of the ideas and solutions generated.


On the Table is made possible through the financial support of corporate sponsors, including Allstate Insurance Company, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Bank of America, Comcast NBCUniversal, ComEd, Holland Capital Management LLC, JMB Realty Corporation and PNC Bank. The project Steering Committee is co-chaired by Leslie Bluhm, founder of Chicago Cares, and Carole Brown, managing director at Barclays, who are both also members of the Trust’s governing board.


There is still time to participate in this exciting initiative! For more information or to sign up to participate as a host or a guest, visit www.onthetable2014.com or call 866-737-6951. Join in the conversation via social media by using the hashtag #OnTheTable2014 and engage with the Trust on Facebook and on Twitter.


For additional media resources and downloads, visit: www.onthetable2014.com/media-room


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About The Lake County Community Foundation

Since 2003, The Lake County Community Foundation, an affiliate of The Chicago Community Trust, has partnered with donors to leverage and guide their philanthropy to help transform the lives of the most vulnerable people across our county. Together, we have contributed over $2.5 million to 80 nonprofit organizations that support basic human needs, community development, education and health throughout Lake County. By connecting the generosity of donors across Lake County with the most pressing needs of the community, we ensure that our county thrives today and for generations to come.

About The Chicago Community Trust

The Chicago Community Trust, our region’s community foundation, partners with donors to leverage their philanthropy in ways that transform lives and communities. The Trust, together with its donors, grants more than $100 million annually to nonprofits working to develop new audiences to sustain the region’s vibrant arts organizations, protect the human services safety net for those hardest hit by the recession, stem the devastating effects of foreclosures on our neighborhoods, elevate teaching to meet world-class standards and improve conditions for healthy and active lifestyles. By connecting the generosity of donors with the needs of the community, the Trust ensures that our region thrives today and for future generations.


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