On the Table is a platform that community foundations, civic leaders and community organizations have used to engage residents in dialogue about community issues and spark positive change. Created by The Chicago Community Trust in 2014, to date more than 30 communities have adopted the platform and have collectively engaged more than 250,000 people from coast to coast. One table at a time, residents are coming together to reignite civic spirit, rebuild trust and reimagine their communities.
The Trust and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation have partnered to create the On the Table National Learning Network—a virtual learning community for foundations, civic institutions and nonprofit leaders who have implemented or shown interest in replicating the On the Table model.
This virtual learning community provides resources and support created for and by others who have implemented and adapted the On The Table civic engagement model to meet the needs of their local community. Members can engage with one another and share best practices, as well as access templates and inspiration from communities who have made this initiative their own.
About the Trust
The Chicago Community Trust partners with donors to leverage their philanthropy in ways that transform lives and communities. For the past century, they have connected the generosity of donors with community needs by making grants to nonprofit organizations working to improve metropolitan Chicago. Since their founding in 1915, the Trust has awarded over $2 billion in grant funding to more than 11,000 local nonprofit organizations—including more than $300 million in 2017.
On the Table was born in Chicago. Initially conceived as a single day of community conversations to mark the 99th anniversary of the Trust, On the Table has now become a key initiative for the foundation, inspiring and informing its commitment to civic engagement. Since it was launched, tens of thousands of Chicago-area residents have engaged with On the Table, sparking hundreds of new collaborative, resident-led actions.
About Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots—investing in journalism, the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Their goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.
Support for On the Table forms one part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to help cities attract and keep talented people, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of engagement. The foundation believes that successful communities are equitable, inclusive and participatory.