Forward Chicago – Building a Community For All Ages

Area of Impact:

Community for all Ages

Project or Program Specifics:

Forward Chicago strives to keep residents in and around Chicago’s 47th Ward to remain active, involved, and influential as they age in our community. We use resident teams as the foundation of our organization and all work together to make our community the best it can be – for all.

Team Specifics:

Number of Team members: 9

Team has been together for: 1 year

Recruitment techniques:

Personal invitation, invited to join at events, call to action on website

Team Activities:

Forward Chicago has worked over the past year to make a significant impact in our community, and is truly growing a grassroots community initiative to support all residents aging in our community. From wellness, to art for all ages, to convening community residents to create a blueprint for aging in our community – we are involving residents in new ways.

We seek to highlight the wealth of resources in our community, and ensure that all neighbors have the opportunity to participate and benefit. We do not replicate existing resources, where resources exit – we partner and spread the word. If members want a book club – we work with the local bookstore to promote the book groups already in place.

We bring residents together, and are building a network of residents, businesses, organizations, and leaders who participate in creating a future vision for our community, and involve them in the building of that vision. Together, we are creating a community for all ages.

Team accomplishments:

– Together, created the vision for Forward Chicago and our ideal community for our future
– Formed organization and filed for non-profit status
– Created leadership team
– Hosted community-wide wellness fair with over 400 participants
– Trained residents as bloggers and storytellers about their community
– Engaged over 2,00 residents in 2012

Lessons Learned:

– An invitation to join from participants is the most powerful advertising, and creates the most compelling message
– Share your successes
– Make sure to have both written and electronic outreach and publications
– Team members LOVE to talk about their successes
– It’s not about aging, is is about community!

Next Steps:

– Building more volunteer teams based on resident’s areas of interest
– Training volunteers
– Growing membership
– Securing additional funding