Chicago Social Change News Updates

humana-foundation-cnowThere are many great activities and efforts driving Chicago social change and social benefit – so many that it can be difficult to keep track. This week, there’s an update on a funding effort featured while ago, as well as an upcoming event and a provocative, must-read article.

Back in May, we wrote about the Humana Communities Benefit program, which would provide a $350,000 grant to a local non-profit. On Monday, August 11, community members will have a chance to vote for one of three finalists – PCC Community Wellness Center, Family Alliance, and Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Those interested in participating are encouraged to visit between Monday, August 11th and Friday, August 22nd to cast their vote. Finalists will judged on a variety of factors later this month, and community votes will acount for 20 percent of the organization’s total score.

On August 21st, the Illinois Task Force on Social Entrepreneurship, Enterprise, and Innovation will hold the world premiere of Alicia Douglas’ Detroit Is a Phoenix, focusing on collaborative efforts by social enterprises, impact investors, and ILTaskforce
other philanthropic organizations to rebuild Detroit. Ms. Douglas will also speak about her efforts for both the Michigan Economic Task Force and the Detroit Social Enterprise Task Force. (Full Disclosure: I currently act as outreach volunteer for the Task Force). For more information and to RSVP, please visit their Eventbrite page.

Finally, one the most read – and heavily discussed – articles has been C.N. Naemekas’
The Unexotic Underclass. which focuses on entrepreneurs who focus on “anti-problems” rather than on “big problems.” Naemekas focuses on three populations
who tend to be glossed over: veterans, single mothers, and middle-aged unemployed/ underemployed individuals. It’s one of the more provocative articles of the past few months, and pulls no punches in condemning some aspects of tech culture:

For, in the 21st century, a prosperous American business is a soaring 2-storied cake: 1 management layer at top thick with perks, golden parachutes, stock options, and a total disregard for those beneath them; 1 layer below of increasingly foreign workers…Above all of this, the frosting on the cake, the nec plus ultra of evolutionary corporate accomplishment: the Director of Social Media. This is the 20-year old whose role it is to “leverage social media to deliver a seamless authentic experience across multiple digital stream s to strategic partners and communities.” In other words, this person gets paid six figures to send out tweets. But again, no one that we know.

It’s a great, thought-provoking article that has much to say for the Chicago tech scene (and for the Chicago non-profit scene as well, since nonprofits are taking a more professional/”lean startup” approach). It’s an article worth reading…and worth discussing.

This week, we’ve featured three opportunities for the Chicago community to drive social good. But we’re always open to hearing about new opportunities as well – if you have any suggestions (or wish to discuss the “unexotic underclass”), please feel free to leave comments below. In addition, you are always welcome to visit and join us on Facebook, or contact us directly – information can be found on our (it’s small, but we’re looking to grow), and About page.

And as always, thanks for reading!

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