Within all of its geographies, ICA aims to create collaborative spaces for individuals, organizations, and communities that are striving towards similar goals. Since 2012, ICA has been using its community development methods to organize the Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network (CSLN), a multidisciplinary network of grassroots sustainability leaders seeking to create a more sustainable and inclusive Chicago.
In a world that seems increasingly calibrated by the quantifiable (clicks, dollars, destinations), I especially appreciate the ICA’s conscientious embrace of the qualitative (wishes, experiences, bends in the road) as well as its organizational generosity in sharing information about how to access and assess this special data, which is often pretty elusive.
On August 10-11th 2017, over 20 dedicated ToP Trainers gathered in Chicago to discuss ways to collectively improve their capacity to deliver ToP Training. The convening was called by the ICA, the ToP Network (a membership organization that serves both ToP trainers and ToP facilitation practitioners), and the ToP Training Leadership Forum (TTLF), the joint decision-making body between the two organizations.
ICA-USA has over 30 sister ICAs around the globe. Many ICAs partner together on efforts. In general, the ICAs in the Global North focus more on using ICA’s methods to provide organization development support, and ICAs in the Global South use the very same methods to create and implement community development efforts.
Since ICA’s mission is “to build a just and equitable society in harmony with planet earth,” it begins here at home with our Chicago Landmark building itself being a demonstration of our mission. Indeed, that’s what was envisioned when the building was rebranded as the ICA GreenRise and launched the solar panel project in 2014. This was a major step toward this vision as ICA now generates 25% of the building’s consumed power from solar.
Interior view of new atrium and new conference center in ICA GreenRise
Historically, ICA had several offices around the US, and one of the things that has left our now Chicago-based organization with is a wide network of colleagues across the US. Although ICA still has national programming, it's hard to find time to stay in touch with colleagues who have shifted their efforts and areas of impact but are still interested in the organization's work.
I saw in their individual passions, in the programming at ICA, in the GreenRise building, in every fiber of the organization a thoughtfulness I find lacking in the wider world. My greater mission as a person is to seek and cultivate this kind of thoughtfulness, and so from the outset I have seen ICA as profoundly fertile soil.
This Fall Sojourn, October 9-13, brought together 54 colleagues, more than any prior Sojourn. In addition to regular sojourn activities, those gathered celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the International Human Development Projects (HDPs). ICA’s HDP’s were ‘concerned with the human factor in world development’ and aimed to build the capacity of communities around the world so that local communities could create and implement their own plans for change.