A few weeks ago, we featured some great coworking spaces in Chicago focused on social ventures, non-profits, and other business entities focused on making an impact on the greater community. Coworking spaces provide startups, non-profits, and other small businesses the opportunity to have a central, affordable place to perform their day-to-day business. Since many small organizations use these spaces, there is ample opportunity for networking, collaboration, and building a strong community. (Think of it as taking an open source approach to capacity building for small mission-driven businesses and organizations). Since we were fortunate enough to feature three such spaces awhile ago, we know of two spaces - one newer, one a long-standing institution - that provide resources for many social change agents to accomplish mighty things.
One newer resource (located in Wicker Park) is Free Range Office, which opened in November 2013. (Since it's only a short hop from the Damen Blue Line station, you get to enjoy many cool amenities without worrying about heading downtown. Although it's a smaller space, organizations like the Neighborhood Parents Network and One.org's regional office make their home there. (There's a soft spot on this blog for organizations that take a strong focus on both social good and community building....but they offer space to startups, and provide discounts to non-profits as well). FREO offers a wide range of work spaces (including standing desks, open seating, office pods, and private offices), and a lounge area. (They also have a large meeting/conference room that holds about fifty people, and organizations can rent the space for special events. FREO also works with Hands On Tech Chicago to put on seminars and training sessions for non-profits, so there's always room for spaces that provide both a solid working environment and a strong commitment to capacity building for the social good.
And although it may seem obvious, local incubator 1871 in the Merchandise Mart - has always provided a great resource for non-profits and social ventures. Whether it's advocating for tech job creation or encouraging female entrepreneurs, it would be easy to focus on 1871 solely as a private enterprise. But it does host a few non-profits, including Commogri (which allows non-profits and social ventures to gauge their impact on social media) and FWD.us (focusing on immigration reform).
When I wrote that initial post on non-profit/social venture coworking spaces, I assumed - wrongly - that resources were few and far between. Thankfully, due to comments and feedback, I'm delighted to be proven wrong....and will be doing a follow up post in the next few weeks.
Know of any resources, or have questions? Please leave them below in the comments. You're also more than welcome to follow me on Twitter (where I tweet about my twin passions - social good and pop culture), visit and like the blog on Facebook, or contact me privately (information via the About page)
And as always, thanks for reading!