Interest in attending a mealtime conversation as part of The Chicago Community Trust’s On the Table initiative has been outstanding since we launched in February. At this time, we are no longer accepting guest registrations. However, we’re still accepting host registration at So if you are interested in participating, please consider joining us as a host.

Hosting a mealtime conversation is easy, and doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant – potlucks, brown bags, chipping in for pizza are all options! You just need a place to convene the group. You can invite your friends, colleagues and neighbors or we can assign your guests based on those in your area who have expressed interest in participating.

We hope you’ll join us!

Note: We have now completed assignments for all community guests for On the Table conversations and will no longer be offering additional guest assignments. We still encourage interested hosts to sign up and invite guests from your own network of contacts to participate in these important discussions. We’re looking forward to hearing your ideas! If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at

  • General FAQs +
    • What is On the Table and why should I participate?

      May 12, 2014, is the 99th anniversary of The Chicago Community Trust. To celebrate, we’re asking thousands of Chicago-area residents to participate in the most imaginative public square manifested on one night. From Alsip to Zion, thousands of people who care about our region’s future will participate in these thought-provoking mealtime conversations to shape a public agenda. Together, we will generate big ideas on how to build and sustain communities that are strong, safe and dynamiccommunities where opportunities grow, quality of life is enhanced and families thrive. How do we get there? We plan to put it all On the Table.

    • What is the goal of On the Table?

      Our goal is to bring together the residents of our region to explore vital issues and innovative solutions that build and sustain our communities. We seek to create a movement that inspires each of us to do more – to contribute our time, talent and ideas. By agreeing to participate, you’ve already taken an important step to be part of this movement.

    • How can I get involved?

      Right now, we’re in the process of recruiting hosts from across the Chicago region to be part of On the Table. To sign up, simply click the “register” button on the home page or in the main navigation above. You can also read more about the different roles hosts and guests play in the sections below.

    • What is The Chicago Community Trust?

      The Chicago Community Trust is the region’s largest community foundation. For the past 98 years, the Trust has connected the generosity of donors with community needs by making grants to nonprofit organizations working to improve metropolitan Chicago. In 2012, the Trust and its donors granted more than $177 million to nonprofit organizations in metropolitan Chicago. From strengthening community schools and assisting local arts programs to building health centers and helping those affected by violence, the Trust continues to enhance our region. To learn more, please visit the Trust online at

    • Where can I find more information about On the Table?

      New and updated information will be posted regularly on this website. Additionally, you can send us an e-mail at to have one of our outreach team members contact you with more information.

  • Host FAQs +
    • What does a host need to do? What’s involved?

      It’s really pretty simple: You determine a location for folks to meet on May 12, 2014, for a mealtime conversation about how to build and sustain strong, safe and dynamic communities. You can have your breakfast, lunch or dinner wherever you want and serve whatever you like – from a catered or home-cooked meal to a picnic, barbecue or soup-and-salad meal.

    • How do I get started?

      We made hosting as simple as possible. To sign up as a host, simply click the “register” button on the home page or in the main navigation above. You’ll be prompted to enter some basic information as you are guided through the registration process and create a customized home page for your event.

      Your personal home page will serve as the information hub for your gathering – a place where you can share more about your motivation for participating, preview the issues you want to discuss, provide the details about your event and even invite your guests!

      For more information, you can also download our host guide by clicking here.

    • Will hosts receive a registration confirmation?

      Once you have registered as a host, you will receive an email with your user ID and password. Save these as you will use them for logging back onto the site and your personal On the Table event page to add guests to your invite list and to change or update details on your On the Table conversation.

      Different email systems filter incoming mail in a variety of ways. If you do not receive an email with your user ID and password information within 24 hours, please be sure to check any SPAM filters or folders. If you haven’t received an email confirmation, you can contact us via email at or call 1 866 737 6951 and an On the Table representative will get back to you with your ID and password information.

    • Who do I invite?

      Who would you like to invite? Friends and family? Neighbors? Colleagues? If you’re feeling adventurous, we can choose guests for you from members of your community who have registered and indicated that they would like to participate in this effort. The decision is yours. With conversation at the heart of this event, we recommend 10-12 guests at each gathering.

    • How should I invite my guests?

      You can create and e-mail invitations through your customized On the Table home page to the guests you identify during registration.

    • What should an On the Table gathering look like?

      Hosts are encouraged to be creative. The priority is to create an atmosphere conducive to meaningful conversation—a potluck in your dining room, a picnic in a nearby park, a gathering at a neighborhood restaurant or a backyard barbecue are just some of the many possibilities.

    • What if I want to invite more than 10 guests or host multiple On the Table conversations?

      While we highly recommend keeping the number of participants at any one table to 10 people to ensure a quality conversation, you can register to host as many folks as you’d like in any one location on your event page, there are no limits. You should just be sure to designate a host for each table to help facilitate the discussions.

      If you would like to host multiple conversations in different locations or at different times, you should register each of these conversations separately, so that there is a unique
      On the Table event page for each gathering. You will need to use a separate and different email address for each event page you set up.

      If you have special needs or questions in terms of setting up your On the Table conversation(s), you can contact a member of our team via email at or leave a phone message at 1 866 737 6951 and an On the Table representative will contact you to help.

  • Guest/Participant FAQs +
    • What does it mean to be a guest?

      Guest will join with other Chicago-region residents to share a mealtime conversation and explore issues and ideas on how to collectively build and sustain strong, safe and dynamic communities.

    • How will I be assigned a dinner?

      We are currently in the process of recruiting hosts all across the Chicago region. Between now and May 12, we’ll continually be matching guests up with hosts and locations. You will receive an e-mail or phone call with specific information about which On the Table gathering you will be attending.

    • What is expected of me after the On the Table event is over?

      We look forward to hearing the issues and ideas discussed at your gathering. We encourage all participants to share insights, photos and videos on social media throughout the day.

      At the conclusion of the On the Table events on May 12, we’ll send every participant (hosts and guests) a short e-mail survey to learn more about their experiences and related topics. You may also be asked to participate in a more in-depth post-event interview, where we hope to dive even deeper into some of the experiences, thoughts and ideas that arose from these conversations. You will also be able to learn more about future civic engagement programs, initiatives and events sponsored by the Trust.

Hello [*FIRST NAME*]!

I’m inviting you to attend and participate in my On the Table conversation on Monday, May 12.

On May 12, thousands of Chicago-area residents – from Alsip to Zion – will pull up a chair at gatherings like mine to discuss the future of our communities while sharing a meal together. We will be one of more than 1,000 locations across the Chicago region hosting similar events where community residents from all ages and backgrounds will come together to put real issues and solutions “on the table” and become the indispensable voice that shapes our collective future.

My event will take place on:

Monday, May 12


Location: {LOCATION}

Host email: {HOST_EMAIL}

Click on the link below to learn more about my event, and please RSVP at your earliest convenience.
Click here to learn more about my event and please RSVP at your earliest convenience.

Please email me at the address below and let me know if you have any dietary restrictions, food allergies or other issues, questions or ideas related to this event. I’m looking forward to talking with you!

Hope to see you there!

[*Sender's Full Name*]

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Please enter the email address and password you used when registering. If you don’t remember the email address that you used to register, please contact us by email at or by phone at 1 866 737 6951.

Please enter the email address you used when registering and select “Submit.” An email containing your password will be sent to you.

If you don’t remember the email address that you used to register, please contact us by email at or by phone at 1 866 737 6951.


An email should arrive shortly with the requested password information.

If you have any questions in the mean time please contact us.

Phone 866 737 6951

On the Table is about giving everyone who cares about their community a voice and an opportunity to share their ideas – big and small.  We will be looking for trends, common themes and new collaborations that emerge so that we can highlight ways to work together and advance the most promising solutions for our region. We will share the best ideas from On the Table at Chicago Ideas Week – where three to five ideas will be presented on the main stage in October! Additionally, the results of these conversations will help inform the future work of the Trust. PLEASE NOTE: The idea submission deadline is Thursday, June 12.


If you’re inviting your own guests, let us know who they are. By simply entering their names and e-mail addresses, you can send them an e-mail invitation from your event page and track your RSVPs too. We’ll also use email to communicate with all On the Table participants about relevant information and to send out the follow up survey.

Inviting guests is not required to create your event page. You’ll be able to sign in and invite them later, but feel free to invite some, or all of them now. If you’ve selected to have your guests assigned, you can skip inviting guests completely.


Click to add additional guests +


The guests will receive their invitations shortly.

If you have any questions in the mean time please contact us.

Phone 866 737 6951


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Phone 866 737 6951



We will contact you when more information in available for this event.

If you have any questions in the mean time please contact us at

Are you interesting in participating as a host or a guest?