Kyla Williams Co-Presents Today at Philanthropy Ohio’s Annual Conference

Today, Leon Wilson, CIO of the Cleveland Foundation, and I will co-present at the Philanthropy Ohio’s annual conference with a theme this year of “Philanthropy Forward” and a concentrated discussion on Digital Civic Engagement & Community-Centered Design. Philanthropy Forward ’17 is set to inform practices, strategies and goals and connect peers in the field of philanthropy. The conference will also focus on the future of philanthropy with insight into the current state of the sector – fueled by recent research – addressing transitions, change and the leadership pipeline. With several networking and roundtable discussions, attendees will discover how to shift failures to successes, effectively fund advocacy and civic engagement and hear from  exceptional leaders across the state and country.

Leon and I also presented in April 2017 at the Council on Foundations Annual Conference “Leading Together” as part of a panel discussion with: Aaron Deacon, Managing Director, Kansas City Digital Drive; Elizabeth Reynoso, Assistant Director of Public Sector Innovation, Living Cities; and Lilly Weinberg, Program Director/Community Foundations, John S. & James L. Knight Foundation on “Supporting Civic Engagement through Technology and Community-Centered Design”. After finishing that presentation we decided more collaborative sharing between cities was necessary and lead to this opportunity at Philanthropy Ohio.

Community building in the digital era requires providing a space for the public sector and local communities to interact. Building solutions with peoplenot just for them – by using community-centered design can have profound social impact. This has been central to Smart Chicago’s work and has lead to the building of processes, products, services, and other lightweight tech solutions that have been helpful.

Our presentation today has the learning objectives:

  • To introduce different models developed in communities to address civic engagement digitally
  • To encourage the consideration of embedding support for digital civic engagement into existing grantmaking & advancement efforts

You can follow the happenings of the conference on Twitter @PhilanthropyOH and @SmartChgoKyla or by using the hashtag #PhilFWD17.


Good News!!! The Smart Chicago team is moving and now will be co-located with the City Digital Team at UI Labs. As such, our individual emails will be changing to:

Kyla Williams 

Sonja Marziano

Denise Linn     

Leslie Durr       

Our new mailing address is 1415 N. Cherry Avenue Chicago, IL 60642 and general phone number is 312.281.6900.

Please check our website at or follow us on twitter @smartchicago for more updates.

We appreciate your patience during this time of transition.

Youth-Led Tech Career Days 2016

This year the Youth-Led Tech program developed targeted Career Days and a Career Development Day. These two programs were designed and integrated into the 6-week technology curriculum to introduce youth to careers both technical and non technical, as well as assist them in beginning to think more strategically and concretely about how to secure employment.

The Youth-Led curriculum is fluid enough to allow for the inclusion of speakers three times during the six-week program and a full day with Dr. Phyllis West, PhD. Students were visited by several local professionals who shared their stories at each site in the community they selected.

Our Roseland Community sites were visited by Jeffrey Beckham the owner of Black Box Creative during the first Career Day held July 7, 2016.

Special guest is here at Dr. Elzie Young Community Center

David Wilkins owner of Rally Cap and Divine Designs visited with our Austin students.

RallyCap at career Day

Jazelle Smith rounded out the first wave of entrepreneurs for the first Career Day.

Jazelle Career Day

The second and third Career Days were held July 21st and July 28th.

Our special guest was Dr. Philips West _D

The second component to the workforce readiness program, “How to Develop a Career Plan 101” with Dr. Phyllis West, PhD focused on “developing a personalized career plan and an overview of strategies of successful people.”  The workshop introduced students to the fundamentals of career planning, helped identify their interests and career goals and learn the trends of the fastest growing careers in America.


New Computer Lab Planned for Harold Washington College

Earlier this week I visited Harold Washington College, 30 E. Lake, to check on progress for the new public computer center there that is being funded in part by the Broadband Technology Opportunities Public Computer Center grant that is being administered by Smart Chicago. There are already a number of computers available to the public at this location through this grant, and soon there will be a huge addition of public computers in the loop.

There are currently seven computers in the lobby of the building that are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Harold Washington College Public Computer Centers

Harold Washington College Public Computer Centers

There are 14 computers on the second floor available to the public and there are stations near the elevators on floors 4, 7, and 10.

Harold Washington College Public Computer Centers

Harold Washington College Public Computer Centers

Harold Washington College staff are now making plans to make the large, 135-station computer lab available to the public as well. Currently only available to students, this lab will soon have open hours for the public. The room includes printing stations and lab aides who can help troubleshoot any issues.

Harold Washington College Public Computer Centers

Harold Washington College Public Computer Centers

Harold Washington College Public Computer Centers

Harold Washington College Public Computer Centers

Harold Washington College Public Computer Centers

Stay tuned for more information on these public resources!

New Public Computer Center Planned for Truman College

As part of our work with the City of Chicago in implementing their Broadband Technology Opportunities Program awards, we make site visits to the various program facilities to see how things are going. Yesterday we got a look at the great things that are planned for Truman College, 1145 West Wilson, in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood.

Soon there will be a 40-station computer lab in a classroom on the first floor of this location. The lab is planned for the northwest corner of the building:

Preparations for Public Computer Center at Truman College

There are 40 HP Compaq 8200 Elite All-in-One Business PCs ready to go into the computer lab.

Preparations for Public Computer Center at Truman College

The lab is right off of the large lobby, where community activities such as voting and tax preparation are held.

Preparations for Public Computer Center at Truman College

There is currently no public access to computers at Truman College. That’s why we’re excited to help bring more than 40 new public computers to Uptown. Stay tuned for opening information this Spring or early summer.