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.
For many years, ICA has been working on creating intentional and meaningful institutional partnerships with organizations that share our values and are looking for more effective ways to engage their constituencies. The following is a snapshot of four unique collaborative partnerships that have emerged in the past few years.
LISC Chicago Plans training for Quality of Life planning
Current ICA Program Manager, Caitlin Sarro, and ICA colleague Terry Bergdall recently spent 6 days on the road visiting ICA colleagues in St. Louis and Kansas City. As a 50+ year old organization, ICA has a wide network of colleagues whose experience and support has help shape the organization for many years. This trip brought together just a few of those individuals and offered them an opportunity to hear more about ICA’s current work and the long-term organizational vision.
After a successful fall 2015 Chicago Plans cohort, ICA and Local Initiatives Support Corporation(LISC) are continuing their partnership, a LISC-led effort to empower community leaders with the facilitation skills they need to design and execute successful participation-based planning efforts in community areas across the city.
ICA’s work in 2014 and 2015 gave shape and form to the vision and momentum from our 50th anniversary in 2012. The past two years showed ICA’s capacity to appreciate and learn from the wisdom of our past while working on behalf of the future. We transitioned our leadership and made a significant mark on our history that will be visible for a long time to come. In these years we accomplished a tremendous amount. We are extremely grateful for our supporters, volunteers and cheerleaders, without whom our reach would not have been as wide, and our impact could not have been as significant.
To close out the summer, two youth ministries participated in a week-long ICA Service Learning program while staying at the ICA GreenRise. Northway Christian Church and the First Christian Church of Rowlett, both from Texas, arranged for their two ministries to learn, live, and volunteer together.
LISC Chicago is accepting applications for Chicago Plans, a new workshop series for nonprofit and community leaders designed to strengthen engagement and facilitation skills and support meaningful neighborhood engagement in place-based planning.
On March 31, 2015, I will end a six-year journey at the Institute of Cultural Affairs as the chief executive officer in the United States. While these years have been personally gratifying for me, my plan from the beginning was to enable, sooner rather than later, a successful transition to a new generation of leadership. Now, I believe, is the right time to make the move.