#OntheTable2015 From Sunrise to Sunset…

 |   Shelley Stern Grach

On May 12, the Chicago Community Trust celebrated its 100th anniversary with the second citywide program of On the Table 2015 (OTT2015). OTT2015 is a movement that reimagines philanthropy  and helps make our region the most generous and compassionate in the nation. On the Table–in case you haven’t participated in one–is a meal time conversation about anything that makes Chicago a better place. Friends, business colleagues, and people who have never met, gather together to discuss topics that are of interest and important to our city.

This year, Microsoft was honored to host a group of over 20 people who have a vested interest in making Englewood a better place to live, work and raise a family. We had representatives from Chicago Public Schools, Englewood Blue, R.A.G.E Englewood, Teamwork Englewood, LISC Chicago, Chicago Public Library and others. Microsoft hosted in partnership with Connect Chicago Challenge, a multi-sector partnership to achieve full participation in the digital economy. We started the day off with an early breakfast (burritos were awesome!), lots of coffee and great conversation.

We identified 3 key areas to improve Englewood and agreed that a core team was needed to move the conversation forward:

  1. Train the trainer: Work with Microsoft and other technology partners for more advanced skills.
  2. Promote code.org and Computer Science 4 All in Englewood schools.
  3. Identify creative ways to get 28 local businesses online.

#OntheTable2015 From Sunrise to Sunset…

In the late afternoon, I had the privilege to participate in the first Connect Chicago Challenge Technology Advisory Council. Our Council will work closely with Connect Chicago Challenge Managing Director Demond Drummer on aligning resources and corporate investments to address the key issues in the City, like those that were outlined at the Englewood meeting in the morning.

#OntheTable2015 From Sunrise to Sunset…

#OntheTable2015 From Sunrise to Sunset…After our Council meeting, we had a joyous celebration with the Council and community organizers to officially launch the Connect Chicago Challenge and its new Twitter hashtag #connectchicago. It’s unbelievably gratifying to see all the hard work and community connections coming together to help our citizens get online and digitally engaged.

A huge shout-out to the Chicago Community Trust team for its centennial celebration and for conceiving and executing the On the Table program, which is making Chicago a better place. And congratulations to Dan O’Neil and Demond Drummer for all your impact through the Smart Chicago Collaborative and #connectchicago. It’s going to be fast, fun and fruitful.

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Shelley Stern Grach
Shelley Stern Grach

They say that great work stems from a combination of passion and commitment, something that Shelley certainly possesses when it comes to her life and career. She currently serves on the boards of the Women’s Business Development Center, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Thrive Chicago, Year Up and LISC Chicago. At Microsoft Chicago, she’s the Director of Civic Engagement, working at the intersection of computing and community, promoting STEM programs and using Microsoft technology to spur growth in the community. So no matter if it's work, play, or giving back, Shelley always makes sure her drive and professionalism help her complete her life's goals.