Chicago Green Living

Year Complete: 2018
Grant Amount: $75,000
Local Government: City of Chicago, IL
Local Foundation: The Chicago Community Trust, Illinois Science in Energy Innovation Foundation

Project Purpose

To create a residential package of all of the beneficial energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste & recycling, transportation, and other “green” programs that the City offers and to connect low and moderate income residents to this package of offerings.

Key Lessons Learned

Lessons learned about tools and tactics through the project that other sustainability directors could use to advance their work.

Community engagement in more intimate settings with marginalized communities is necessary for the Mayor’s office.  The team learned through the project’s community engagement sessions that building trust and communication with critical communities, and forming a channel to listen and understand hyperlocal issues, is pertinent and crucial to any future policy making or program development. Strategies and tactics for other sustainability directors is to put a premium on genuine and intimate engagement from the Mayor’s office to advance the work of the administration.

Lessons for developing a collaborative process between a local government sustainability director and local place-based foundation(s).

Level-set mutual goals from the beginning. It was very helpful to have initial conversations with the partners on the goals of the project, and how/if they could be a great resource to advance the goals of the project. In those discussions, it became clear that they shared many of the goals of the grant project, and a mutually helpful relationship began. The sustained discussions of collective goals will hopefully further the themes of this project past the term.

Additional Information and Resources

The Mayor’s office plans to work with Chicago Community Trust to further the development of the website to include dynamic calculators and tools for users to measure their energy burden and be presented a list of options on how to decrease their burden and their monthly bills. This initiative is also in cooperation with Elevate Energy, a nonprofit that conducts energy research nationwide. Read more about the initiative here.