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. We hope you’ll join us!

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

      May 12, 2015 is the 100th anniversary of The Chicago Community Trust. To kick off our Centennial year, we’re again inviting thousands of Chicago-area residents to participate in On the Table. From Alsip to Zion, thousands of people who care about our region will participate in thought-provoking mealtime conversations to discuss the ways in which we can commit to making our communities stronger, safer and more dynamic.

      The Trust’s Centennial goal is to spark a movement to make our region the most philanthropic in the nation. During On the Table 2015, we are asking participants to make a commitment to work together or independently to improve our communities and inspire others. Following the event, they’ll share their commitments with others.

    • What is the goal of On the Table?

      Our goal is to bring together the residents of our region to discuss philanthropy in its broadest form (time, treasure and talent) and how we can work together to 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 both hosts and guests 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 just click here. You can read more about the role of a host here.

      Just want to attend a mealtime conversation as a guest, but don’t know where to go? We’re also working with hosts to post open conversations that you can sign up for on sites like Groupon and Mealshare. Please provide your name and email information at this link, and we’ll let you know when these opportunities are posted closer to the event!

    • What is The Chicago Community Trust?

      The Chicago Community Trust is the region’s largest community foundation. For the past century, the Trust has connected the generosity of donors with community needs by making grants to nonprofit organizations working to improve metropolitan Chicago. In 2014, the Trust and its donors granted more than $164.5 million to nonprofits 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 is expected of me during and after my On The Table gathering is over?

      We look forward to hearing about the stories and commitments discussed at your gathering. We encourage all participants to share insights, photos and videos on social media throughout the day, using #OnTheTable2015.

      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 their commitments. 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.

      All On the Table participants can opt-in to receive a copy of an electronic copy of the summary report detailing the impact and outcomes of this initiative. You will also be invited to future civic engagement programs, initiatives and events sponsored by the Trust.

    • 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, 2015, for a mealtime conversation to discuss the ways in which we can commit to making our communities stronger, safer and more dynamic – communities where opportunities grow, quality of life is enhanced and families thrive. 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’ve tried to make hosting as simple as possible. To sign up as a host, simply click the “register” button on the home page or just click here here. 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.

      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? 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 – 12 guests or host multiple On the Table conversations?

      While we highly recommend keeping the number of participants at any one table to 10 – 12 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.

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*] {HOST_EMAIL}

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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


Upload a photo of yourself.

  • Click “Browse” to find the image file you want
    to upload, or drop the file in the area below.

  • Browse

    JPG, GIF, PNG or MBP.

    Max. size: 10MB

Upload a photo of your philanthropy.

We want to hear, share and promote all the ways you and others make commitments great and small to support neighbors, communities and our vast region. Share a photo that helps tell your story of philanthropy — something that signifies a cause you’re committed to, your civic work in action, or a way philanthropy has touched you.

  • Click “Browse” to find the image file you want
    to upload, or drop the file in the area below.

  • Browse

    JPG, GIF, PNG or MBP.

    Max. size: 10MB


Thank you for submitting your photo. Please feel free to visit our Flickr page to download your very own logo file. Logos are updated weekly. If you are not able to find your photo, please contact us to confirm we received your image without error.

If you have any questions please contact us.

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?