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    Learn more about the leaders — both unexpected and not — in our city who are making a positive impact.

    The 77 Project

    The 77 Project is a storytelling and media project presented by Xfinity with additional support from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to help share the narrative of Chicago's neighborhoods from the inside out. Our hope is that this project will help inspire citizens to connect with solution-makers in the city of Chicago and beyond. If you didn't know, the city of Chicago recognizes 77 community areas within the city limits, and this year we're shining a light on organizations and individuals who are making a positive impact in each of those locations.

    More on Xfinity:

    Xfinity connects people in all 77 neighborhoods of Chicago each and every day.  Xfinity is proud to sponsor the 77 Project to provide a platform for local residents to voice ideas that will shape our city's future.  

    After the Idea: A Podcast by Chicago Ideas

    In the first three episodes of our new podcast, we sit down with Chicago solution-makers from Edovo, Chicago Gay Men's Chorus, and Academy for Global Citizenship to learn more about their impact in the city and beyond

    COMMUNITY AREA #43: South Shore—Sisters in Cinema

    WHO THEY ARE:

    Sisters in Cinema began as an online resource dedicated to the history of African American women in filmmaking. Today they are a 501(c)3 nonprofit with an inclusive mission to entertain, educate, develop, and celebrate Black girls and women media-makers, while empowering future generations of storytellers and their audiences. In 2020, Sisters in Cinema will open a state-of-the-art media center focused on serving Black girls, women, and gender nonconforming media-makers. The building will include work space, a computer lab, a curated gallery focused on the history of Black women media makers, and a world class theater for the community. 

    HOW TO GET GET INVOLVED ON #GIVINGTUESDAY:

    Help Sisters in Cinema raise $10,000 for their building fund by donating today

    Connect with them on social by following @sistersincinema

    Kusanya Cafe

    Can storytelling revitalize communities and bring people closer together? That's the idea behind Kusanya Cafe, a local spot in Englewood that provides a space for residents to come together, enjoy food and coffee, and share their stories.

    Community Area #68: Englewood - Pride ROC

    WHO THEY ARE:

    Pride ROC was founded in direct response to the violence, poverty, and despair turning some of Chicago’s communities into war zones.  While violence and poverty may seem common in some of Chicago’s neighborhoods, the story that is seldom told is how those stuck in the middle of this vicious cycle are often looking for peace, but are left without a pathway to safety. Pride ROC uses specially designed "passages" to cut to the root of that cycle and bring victims of urban war peace, growth, and stability.  

    HOW TO GET GET INVOLVED on #GivingTuesday:

    Learn how to contribute to Pride ROC's mission at prideroc.org

    Connect with them on social by following @prideroc

    Community Area #22: Logan Square — Hope for the Day

    Mental health continues to be a devastating problem in the Chicago area—that people seldom talk about. Hope For The Day gives people tools and spaces for having frank and important conversations about mental health.

    Community Area #69: Greater Grand Crossing - The Dovetail Project

    WHO THEY ARE:

    The Dovetail Project gives young African American fathers – ages 17 to 24 – the skills and support they need to be better fathers for their children and better men in their communities.

    HOW TO GET GET INVOLVED:

    Learn how to contribute to The Dovetail Project's mission at thedovetailproject.org

    Connect with them on social by following @dovetailproject

    Englewood, Rogers Park, Bridgeport

    Englewood Woman Starts Company To Get Black Chicagoans Talking About Mental Health

    Community Area #68: Englewood
    Read the Story

    The Long Road To ‘Asylum City’: New Project Chronicles Plight Of Chicago Refugees

    Community Area #1: Rogers Park
    Read the Story

    Green Star Movement Transforms Chicago’s Public Spaces One Mural at a Time

    Community Area #60: Bridgeport
    Read the Story

    Community Area #25: Austin - Jacqueline Reed

    Jacqueline Reed is the founder and original CEO of the Westside Health Authority—and though retired today, she continues to connect with her community through establishing mutuality and empowering individuals based on where they are on their journey. We hope Mrs. Reed's story of continued community uplifting and connection inspires you to connect with your neighbors and build up your community from the inside.

    Community Area #2: West Ridge - Indo-American Heritage Museum

    WHO THEY ARE:

    The Indo-American Heritage Museum (IAHM) is a community-based and inclusive institution, a place where visitors can better understand and experience the rich cultural heritage, fascinating immigrant history and important contemporary developments that shape the lives of millions of Americans of Indian origin.

    HOW TO GET GET INVOLVED:

    Learn how to contribute to IAHM's mission at iahmuseum.org

    Community Area #31: Pilsen

    We’re thrilled to partner with Pilsen Fest to kick off The 77 Project. Pilsen—a neighborhood rich in cultural talent rooted in the art, food, and music of the Latino community that calls it home—is located in the Lower West Side; community area 31 out of the 77 located in Chicago. Pilsen Fest’s primary goal is to expose the Latino community to the immense pool of talent that exists in their own backyard to help preserve the cultural heritage of one of our city’s most vibrant neighborhoods. We selected Pilsen Fest as our community partner for the launch of The 77 Project because it is more than a street festival. It is a movement and a symbol of pride for the people of Pilsen who are actively combating displacement and the potential erasure of their culture in an area they know and love.

    Get involved:

    Learn more about Pilsen Fest and its mission at: pilsenfestchicago.com

    Follow Pilsen Fest on Facebook to be the first to know about their next event.

    Follow artist Sam Kirk on Instagram.

    Pilsen Fest

    Learn more about Pilsen Fest

    The 77 Project on Instagram

    Join us as we navigate Chicago documenting the stories of the city's neighborhood heroes.
    Follow @ChicagoIdeas

    Interview with Chicago-based Artist Sam Kirk

    Sam Kirk was the recipient of Pilsen Fest's 2018 Revueltas Award. Her artwork was the face of Pilsen Fest this year.
    Read More

    WATCH: A Closer Look at Pilsen Fest 2018

    An inside look at the always-electric energy of the Lower West Side's Pilsen Fest
    Watch Now

    Center on Halsted

    Learn more about this Lakeview community center that's creating a safe space for the LGBTQ community and their allies.

    Community Area #6: Lakeview

    We took The 77 Project to Lakeview to visit Center on Halsted, the Midwest's most comprehensive community center dedicated to advancing community and securing the health and well-being of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) people of Chicagoland. Center on Halsted offers a state-of-the-art facility, thoughtfully crafted programming, and a dedicated staff to the community of Lakeview and beyond. Their doors are open every single day from 8am to 9pm, and they are open to all, whether you are a part of the LGBTQ community or one of their allies. Inspired by their mission, inclusivity, and positive impact, we spoke with the Center's CEO, Modesto Tico Valle, for a deeper understanding of their mission and their hope for the future. 

    Get involved:

    Watch our Interview with Center on Halsted's CEO on our The 77 Project Instagram Highlight.

    Read about how Center on Halsted is providing a safe space for Chicago youth.

    Follow @center_on_halsted on Instagram.

    Visit centeronhalsted.org to donate, volunteer, attend a program, and more.

    Submit a Recommendation

    There's still time to tell the story of an individual or organization you believe is doing great work in Chicago. Know someone we should speak with? Tell us about them below.

    Stories from East Garfield Park, Near North Side, and South Lawndale

    Hatching New Businesses: How Accion & The Hatchery are Supporting Entrepreneurship

    Community Area #27: East Garfield Park
    Read the Story

    Crossing the Street: How Art on Sedgwick Fosters Community

    Community Area #8: Near North Side
    Read the Story

    Tastes Like Home: How Dulcelandia Brings Mexican Heritage to Life in “La Villita”

    Community Area #30: South Lawndale
    Read the Story

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