The Chicago Community Trust announced that more than 55,000 people from across the region participated in its third annual On the Table initiative May 10. With residents coming together at nearly 3,500 tables across the city and suburbs, On the Table 2016 worked to elevate civic conversation, foster new relationships and create a unifying experience across our region.
"The Trust launched On the Table in 2014 to elevate the invaluable act of convening for meaningful conversation, and since then we've been overwhelmed by the region's enthusiasm to be part of this effort," said Terry Mazany, president and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust. "Participation has grown each year, bringing with it an expansion of ideas and commitments from residents to work together to make a difference in their neighborhood, their community and their region."
On the Table 2016 events generated more than 6.9 million digital impressions tracked through the #OnTheTable2016 hashtag— people talking about their inspiring conversations, sharing photos and discussing their solutions to improve communities across the region.
In addition to yesterday's conversations, the University of Illinois at Chicago Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement ( IPCE ) incorporated a random sample text poll of On the Table registrants. The results of this poll provide an interesting first glimpse into conversations on May 10, a final report with the full survey results will be available in August.
—On the Table poll respondents discussions centered on equity and social inclusion, community development, collaboration, education and health — with a mental health focus.
—After taking part in an On the Table conversation, two-thirds of respondents feel more hopeful about the direction of their community.
—Inspired by their conversations, 94 percent of respondents say they are likely to take specific action regarding a new idea, concern or issue discussed.
"We firmly believe that from these conversations and the relationships and actions resulting from them, we will draw the collective power to impact both neighborhoods and lives," said Mazany. "We can't wait to see what comes out of them."
To that end, the Trust has partnered with Goodcity Chicago to present the Acting Up awards, which will provide $1,000 awards to up to 50 On the Table participants who have actionable ideas for community impact coming out of their conversations. Participants are invited to submit a brief video of no more than two minutes, outlining their planned activity. Video entries will be accepted online between May 11 and 31 at www.onthetable.com . A selection committee of diverse regional representatives will select winners based on creativity, level of community engagement and potential impact of the ideas. All Acting Up winners will be announced on June 28.