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.

On the Table 2017: Digital Equity in Education

Over the past three years, thousands of Chicago-area residents have participated in mealtime conversations about how to improve our community through The Chicago Community Trust’s On The Table initiative. Since the launch of On the Table, participants have indicated that equity and social inclusion were among the most frequent topics of discussion at the events they attended.

So, this year, organizers suggest that equity be part of these conversations. Because equity is at the heart of our collective work, The Hive Chicago Fund for Connected Learning, The Hive Chicago Learning Network, and the Smart Chicago Collaborative invite you to join us in hosting a “multi-table” event focusing on Digital Equity in Education.

Youth Digital Equity is the social-justice goal of ensuring that all young people have equal access and opportunities to use technology tools, computers and the Internet as well as the knowledge and skills to use them effectively.

Our aim is to bring new and different voices to the table, while making this as easy as possible for you. We are hoping to organize at least five tables at our Digital Equity in Education On the Table event.


When: 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, May 16

Where: Northeastern Center for College Access and Success (CCAS) – 770 North Halsted, Suite 420, Chicago IL 60642. Please find out more information about CCAS here:

RSVP at this link.

Host a table!

Interested in hosting a table at this event? We are hoping to organize at least five tables at our Digital Equity in Education On the Table event. If your organization would like to register to recruit and host a table for the event, we welcome you! Hosting a table is easy as 1-2-3.  All you need to do is:

1.) Sign up as a host here: Register to Host

2.) Invite up to nine guests to join your table and let us know who they are. Invite youth.  Invite teachers.  Invite colleagues who aren’t part of Hive or the connected learning community.  Invite friends.

3.) Facilitate your table’s conversation about achieving equity in the digital age.  We’ll take care of the logistics, including the venue, food, and other preparations.

We will provide more detail to table hosts, once you’ve registered. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Leslie Durr Joins Smart Chicago as Project Coordinator

Leslie DurrLeslie Durr  joins the Smart Chicago Collaborative as a Project Coordinator.She will serve as the point person for projects including Chicago Health Atlas, Smart Health Centers, Foodborne, Hive Learning Networks and Youth-Led Tech. She will also be working to add several new projects to our portfolio.

Her experience includes program development and grant management in the non-profit sector, most recently with the Southland Health Care Forum as the Project Director for the State of Illinois Get Covered Campaign.

Leslie has her Master of Science in Human Service Administration from Spertus College and Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications from Jackson State University.

You can follow her work on Twitter.

Please join us in welcoming Leslie Durr.

Robert Friedman, Kyla Williams and the Hive Network at the Next OpenGov Hack Night!

hive_logo_chicago-e1400880053780At this week’s Chicago OpenGov Hack Night, Robert Friedman and Kyla Williams spoke about the Hive Learning Network and the collaborative projects that we’re launching with the Hive Learning Network.

Robert Friedman started the presentation off my talking about what the HIVE learning network is.

Over the last five years, Hive Chicago has emerged as a thriving network of 57 local member organizations across the city of Chicago – joined by dozens of local, national and international collaborating partners – to motivate, inspire and support Connected Learning experiences for thousands of young people who go to the museums, nonprofits, and cultural institutions that make up the network. Open Gov Hack night attendees will recognize Blue 1647, Civic Artworks, and Open Books— some of the members of Hive.

Connected Learning is an educational approach designed to make learning relevant to all populations, to real life and real work, and to the realities of the digital age, where the demand for learning never stops.

Friedman mentioned six moonshots that the Hive Chicago is currently aiming for. These include: Making connections between the Hive and CPS parents, youth engagement, building onramps to connected learning, transportation and a think tank.

Our Director of Operations Kyla Williams also presented and talked about some of our work, including Time to Tech, #CivicSummer, and the Hive Mapping Cooperative, and also how the civic tech community can get involved in the network.​

You can get more information about the Hive Network here.