On May 10th, Bickerdike had the honor of hosting a group of our community neighbors for dinner and discussion as part of The Chicago Community Trust’s On The Table initiative. Now in its third year, On The Table is an annual city-wide event wherein people are encourage to invite small groups to come together, share a meal, and discuss a variety of topics such as community development, philanthropy, and racism to name just a few.
A diverse group of local health care, non-profit and entrepreneurial professionals joined Bickerdike staff to talk about the virtues and needs of the communities in which Bickerdike works. Over a delicious meal of chicken piccata, cheese ravioli, and salad from nearby Father and Son Restaurant, the group agreed that the diversity, activism, and walkability of Humboldt Park and the surrounding communities make it an ideal place to work and live. Alternatively, they expressed worry that the rapid development, while exciting, may prevent many people from being able to afford to live here much longer.
Other needs of the community discussed included the lack of mentoring and educational programs for youth and the alarmingly high obesity rate in the area. Together the group brainstormed potential solutions for these issues such as the creation of incentives for local companies to work together with government and non-profit agencies to support effective programming by offering up both financial and human resources. Everyone agreed that community members themselves should be included in the design and implementation of any solutions; when programming is customized to the needs, culture, and history of the area it is more likely to achieve long-term success.
The Chicago Community Trust reports more than 50,000 people in the city and suburbs participated in On The Table this year. They plan to compile results of the survey participants were asked to complete and will share the results in the coming weeks here.