Category Archives: Connecting Thought Leaders with Socially Responsible Organizations and Communities

Cooking with Chef Tong August 5th


Chef Christopher Tong, of My Private Chef, will share his culinary
expertise as he presents a cooking demonstration featuring locally
produced seasonal ingredients offered by the Green City Market

The demonstration is on Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 10:30 a.m.

You will learn how to prepare Chef Tong’s delicious recipe, and, of course,
be able to taste it on the spot.
The Green City Market is located at the south end of Lincoln Park
between Clark and Stockton Drive (approximately 1817 N. Clark).
The event is free.


For more information about My Private Chef, contact Event Services at 773.370.8131 or visit our web site:


The story behind the Market….After visiting European sustainable farmer’s markets in 1998, Abby Mandel, chef, author, and entrepreneur, returned to Chicago determined to create a similar market in her own city. Green City Market was her brainchild and began as a small startup with nine local farmers in the crosswalk next to the Chicago Theatre. The Market quickly outgrew the location and moved to the south end of Lincoln Park where it currently operates May – October. In 2008, the Green City Market became year round, remaining open November-April, first in the Lincoln Park Zoo and now in The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

The message has come through loud and clear: Chicago wants and needs a year round farmers market and, most importantly, one that supports local farmers and sustainable agricultural practices. The Market continues to experience crowds of over 175,000 visitors per year. From that first year in 1998 next to the Chicago Theatre to the present time, Green City Market has morphed into Chicago’s most vital farmers market. Industry leader Alice Waters calls it “the best sustainable market in the country.”

Green City Market showcases sustainable practices and is proud to be the first farmers market in the country to require all of its farmers to be certified by a nationally recognized 3rd party agency. Our farmers preserve the land and their growing practices make Green City Market a vital food and environmental enterprise.

Green City Market’s incredible momentum comes from our broad base of support, including conscientious and caring farmers and producers, consumers, chefs, restaurateurs, and other culinary professionals. By supporting local artisan farmers and producers Green City Market increases the density of fresh, high-quality, locally produced food in Chicago, and provides the basis for a regional cuisine.

The Chicago SkyLine Project


Imagine sitting in a sleek, modern-day cable car zipping over the Chicago River to Navy Pier, perhaps even Millennium Park.

Well, a couple of local businessmen want to see the sky-high idea, which has been in the works a few years, finally become a reality. Calling it “The Skyline,” Laurence Geller and Lou Raizin   claim  it could become a tourism centerpiece. Both men sit on the board of directors for Choose Chicago, the city’s not-for-profit convention and tourism bureau.


Designed to showcase the city’s rich architectural heritage, the system would have stations positioned near to millennium park and michigan avenue, encouraging visitors to explore the city without the use of cars. the architects claim that moving people to and from navy pier would not only help ensure its position as the city’s top tourist destination, but also energize the riverwalk and its adjacent public spaces.

The system is designed to carry up to 3,000 people per hour — at 800 feet/minute (4 m/sec) — in each direction along the river. according to the chicago tribune, the route would offer 30 minute tours, 17 storeys above the water from wacker drive and lake street on the west and to navy pier on the east. a station at columbus drive would be the closest to millennium park. the cost per journey is estimated to be comparable to tickets for the observation decks at the willis tower and john hancock center, which are around $20 USD. the project is currently in its initial stages, and will seek local approval at a later date.  Watch the video rendering  HERE

Uptown Chicago Tent City Starter Kits

uptown chicago tent city

From Alderman James Cappleman –

I have worked hard to encourage the City of Chicago to adopt a housing first model to reduce the number of people living with homelessness after noticing its success in other parts of the country. This strategy works best when two components are in place: a sufficient amount of subsidized housing coupled with wrap-around services. The most difficult piece to this model is having a dedicated source of funding to make an investment for long-term cost savings. I’m working with Mayor Emanuel to have a steady stream of funds available so that we can remain focused on housing. Some of this funding will be through a 4% surcharge for a new Airbnb Ordinance and there will be some additional funding coming from the Clarendon-Montrose TIF development.

Our pilot program to get 70 people living under the viaducts along Lake Shore Drive directly into housing is now underway. We have had a number of meetings with housing advocates, the folks living under the viaducts, city departments, and other community leaders to create a plan that will work. After all of these individuals without homes are in their new apartments, the Dept. of Family & Support Services (DFSS) will assess what worked well with this project and where improvements can be made. Afterwards, DFSS will select more areas throughout the city where people are living outside in encampments to implement this housing-first strategy.


How You Can Help

I’ve asked Inspiration Corporation to help me with a “New Home Starter Kit” drive. This starter kit will provide these 70 individuals going into new apartments with some of the needed supplies to start life in their new homes. To organize this process of purchasing this starter kit, my office has created a registry with Target. If you’re able to help, please click here to go to the registry and purchase needed items that will assist these individuals start their new life in an apartment. Inspiration Corporation will host a day at their Uptown headquarters where you will be invited to help put these starter kits together so that they can be distributed.

A substantial number of people living on the streets have told me that they became homeless right after they were released from Cook County Jail with no employment or disability in place and no family available to help them start over again. Without these necessary supports in place, it’s no wonder why we have such a high recidivism rate in our prisons. Later this month, I will be meeting with Cook County Sheriff Dart’s Office, DFSS, and the Dept. of Public Health to discuss how a more effective transition could be made when people are released from jail.

I am pleased that so much is coming together to help those in need. It’s a very complex process, but lasting solutions require thoughtful planning with everyone working together.


Mothers Day Contest

mothers day contest

Countdown to Mother’s Day!

Very seldom in life do we meet people with such amazing gifts that we are left stunned. Earnestine Robinson is one of those rare people. She is able to create music so intricate, many consider it impossible to do without a background in music. Despite no formal music training, with her faith and family, she rises from humble southern roots to become an unlikely composer of classical music that takes her all the way to Carnegie Hall and to a world premiere in Europe.

Earnestine does not question her source. She trusts God to guide her and just continues to create extraordinary music that has taken her all the way to Carnegie Hall three times.
While some stories are interesting and others explore and push the reader to think, it is usually the inspirational stories that touch the soul. Her book “Driven by Faith” is a “must-read” for anyone who has struggled to answer the question, “Why am I here?”

Earnestine’s gift is more than just creating some of the most beautiful music you will ever hear. It’s also about family, faith and giving back. To this end, Earnestine and her family are holding a contest, one that could include you and your mother.

Join us for this very unique “Countdown to Mother’s Day!”

1. Submit in 500 words or less your special Mother’s Day story.It can be funny, sentimental, bold or all of these and more. Submit HERE.

2. Each day, prior to Mother’s Day, come back and share special thoughts you have on the upcoming special day on Earnestine’s timeline on Facebook.

3. Share your thoughts with all your friends.

The first 100 people to actively post on Earnestine’s timeline will win the opportunity to participate in a special live, online Earnestine Robinson Master Class. She will discuss and take questions on how to find your purpose and the role of faith in reaching your destiny.

On Mother’s Day, three winners will be chosen and each receive a $100 gift card from Amazon and a copy of Earnestine’s book “Driven By Faith”. Each of the stories will be posted on Earnestine’s Facebook page.

Make this your best Mother’s Day ever!

World of Chocolate 2014 Benefit

world of chocolate chicago


The air is getting colder and the holidays are near! With great cheer, we invite you to World of Chocolate. This festive tasting event benefitting the AIDS Foundation of Chicago is our annual commemoration of World AIDS Day.

Guests enjoy an open bar and rich chocolate delights from some of Chicago’s most creative and talented culinarians.

We are overjoyed to be hosting World of Chocolate again in the magnificent Great Hall of Union Station on Thursday, December 4.

Purchase your tickets online and savor the sweet satisfaction of making a difference!

Peace, love, sugar & spice,
-The World of Chocolate Architects

P.S. Keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter. Get exclusive insight into the making of World of Chocolate and a sneak peek at what our culinarians have to offer!

Social and Professional, Creative idea-Exchange

authors roundtable chicago melissa wilson

Join Melissa G Wilson and Four Great Authors for an Invigorating Evening with the Written Word!

When: Wednesday, October 15th, 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Where: Space (a most unique connection space!) 444 N Wabash, Chicago, IL, 5th floor

Have you been longing for a fun, more connective way of meeting new people?

Do you like to learn new things in a warm, inviting social setting?

Are you ready for a very unique, interactive experience?

Then you will want attend this first of its kind authors roundtable adventure.

What to Expect

  • You will start by arriving at 5:30 where you will meet me as one of your hosts as well as other hosts who will introduce you around the room to others attending as well as the authors.
  • At 6:00 p.m. We will have a brief introduction to the authors and their tables of conversation around each of their books.
  • At 6:30 you will choose your first table to sit down at. Note that once a table is full you will have to go to one that has openings. At your table you will get the chance to not only listen to the author’s overview of his or her subject but also get to meet the other participants at your table and exchange ideas and ask questions to create great, stimulating conversation.
  • At 7:00 you will again switch to another table of your choice and, once again, meet new people and have create a great exchange of ideas.
  • At 7:30 you will have your third and final opportunity to sit down and converse with an author.
  • From 7:30 – 8:00 we will have an open room conversation sharing the insights and highlights from the authors and you and the other participants.
Note: This event is not just for other writers or people who want to be authors. It’s a social and professional, creative idea-exchange. My goal is to provide an environment where you can experience what I hope will be a more rich and beneficial way to connect to other.
Did I Hear Food and Wine?
We will have a nice amount of both red and white wines as well as water. However, if you wish to drink something else feel free to BYOB (eg your own fun wine or beer to share).
Food? We will have tasty and healthy food (and some sweets) to hopefully satisfy your hunger. It won’t be a heavy dinner but one that we think will be sufficient. Again, if you wish to bring something for yourself that would be just fine and/or something to share.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am about paying it forward and giving back. So, with this in mind half of the money made this evening will go to a very worthy cause called A Silver Lining Foundation. This organization ensures dignified, respectful and equal access to quality cancer education and services for all and is located right here in Chicago.
Our Great Roster of Authors

Craig S Wilson, Author of Dating for Life (

John St. Augustine, Author of Notes from the North, Living an Uncommon Life and Every Moment Matter (www.johnstaugustine)
Dan Tepke, Author of Hatching Your Million Dollar Business (
Dan Weinfurter, Author of Second Stage Entrepreneurship (
Mike Klein, Author of Million Dollar Sales Conversations (
What’s Next?
We hope to make this a regular event so let us know what you would recommend to make it even better once you have had the opportunity to experience it!
Maestro of the Event
Melissa G Wilson, Author of Networlding and 15 other books on leadership, networking, social media and publishing (
FINAL NOTE! – Only a few seats available for the optimum connective experience!


DIVVY Bike Sharing Program for Chicago Launches in June

When I was Paris  France a couple years ago, I thought their  bike rental program was pretty cool, with rental stations all over the city. 

Now, Chicago launches DIVVY bike sharing program , that will allow people to use bikes for $75 a year!

Divvy is expected to launch downtown around Bike to Work Day on June 14, with about 75 stations.
  By 2014, they want to have 400  stations all over the city. 

Now dubbed “Divvy” to reflect the nature of bike sharing, the program is launching more than 28 kiosks
where Lake View neighbors can pick up bicycles. The new cycles will
also be painted the iconic “Chicago Blue” to “provide a high level of
visibility on the street,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. 
How cool is that?!

Chicago Low Wage Workers STRIKE Today

EARLIER THIS MONTH  lower wage workers in New York City striked – today, it was Chicago’s turn.  Workers at McDonalds, Macy’s, Sear’s, Victoria Secrets  and Subway took to the picket lines!

WAGES IN OUR COUNTRY truly do suck! And I for one am happy to see people fighting back. It is almost impossible to find a job for $10-$15. And event at $15 an hour, that is barely a livable wage. 

Hundreds of employees from stores
 walked off the job today in Chicago for higher wages, three
weeks after a similar strike by fast-food workers in New York.

The employees marched in the Chicago Loop and near the
Magnificent Mile shopping area, calling for $15-an-hour pay,
82 percent more than the state’s minimum wage, and the right to
form a union without intimidation. The one-day strike was
arranged by the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago, a group
of retail and food workers, according to a statement yesterday. 

There are more than 2.9 million food preparation and
serving workers in the U.S., including those who work at fast-
food restaurants, according to a report by the Bureau of Labor
Statistics in May. The median wage for those workers is $8.78 an
hour, or about $18,260 a year, the data shows.  MOST BUSINESSES would only have raise the price of items by pennies, to make up for a better wage!
read more  

18 Day Lakefront Event Coming Summer 2013


        Chicago Uptown Lakefront Carnival
& Entertainment Festival

June 20th – July 7th,

From Lawrence to Wilson, from Lake
Shore Drive to Lake Michigan

18 days of fun for all ages


Food, Drinks, Amazing Carnival Rides

Music and Entertainment, Arts and Crafts and More!

  • There will be
    Police, Fire and Union Weeks, 
    bringing in thousands of families, friends and
    supporters in celebration of our City’s Heroes.
  • There will
    be 2 senior citizen areas, tented with games and entertainment, food and drink.
  • A HUGE Carnival with awesome state-of-the art rides and Midway of Games

Ten beer

Music:   A DJ / dance area

A children’s
stage and game area.  With clowns,
magicians and entertainment. Carnival area for kids with blow ups.

Food court
area with all kinds of  restaurants serving hot and cold food. 

Artisans; Arts
and Crafts displays and sales. 

There will
be a “Green” area with vendors showcasing local produce, health conscious and eco-friendly products and services.

An animal
rescue and vendor area at the Dog Beach. A special fund raising beer garden.

2 stages; A
major entertainment stage as well as an LGBT and multi-cultural stage, which
will feature music and entertainment from a diverse array of communities. 

FREE Pizza – Pizza for a Purpose with Home Run Inn

Home Run Inn (HRI), Chicago’s Premium Pizza, is proud to partner with The West Suburban Community Pantry for “Pizza for a Purpose.”  Help fight hunger on Friday, Dec. 14 from noon – 3 p.m. at HRI’s Corporate Headquarters located at 1300 Internationale Parkway in Woodridge, IL. 


Bring in any combination of 10,  pre-approved items listed and receive a FREE case of Home Run Inn Thrift  Pizzas valued at up to $45. Thrift pizzas have minor imperfections, but they are nutritionally correct.
Pre-approved combinations include: Hearty Soup (i.e. Progresso, Chunky,
etc.), Canned Chicken (i.e. white chicken, etc.), and Peanut Butter.
You also can purchase
a case or cases of Home Run Inn Thrift Pizza, and Home Run Inn will
donate all net proceeds to the West Suburban Community Pantry.



What: All pizza sales are full cases only (12 pizzas per case of the same variety).

·         6″  HRI Ultra Thin Thrift Pizzas* $20

·         6″  HRI Classic Thrift Pizzas*  $25

·         12″ HRI Ultra Thin Thrift Pizzas* $35

·         12″ HRI Classic/Signature Thrift Pizzas* $45

·         12” HRI Ultra Thick Thrift Pizzas* (10 per case) – $45

·         12” HRI Bulk Pack Pizzas** – $60


*Up to a $45 value.  CASH ONLY.  No checks or credit cards will be accepted. No presales.  Tax included.

supplies last.  Varieties/supplies are limited.  Limit 2 Free Cases of
Pizza per customer.  HRI reserves the right to change the date of this
promotion due to inclement weather. 



With the vision for a community without hunger, the West Suburban Community Pantry
offers food for the hungry and resources to empower persons to improve
their quality of life. They have fed nearly 45,000 duplicated persons,
including nearly 19,000 children and over 3,000 senior citizens in 2012.
Unduplicated numbers were nearly 10,000 persons including over 4,000
children and over 500- senior citizens.



Home Run Inn
is considered Chicago’s very own. The traditional style, all natural
pizza is recognized for its irresistible flavor, featuring a hand-pinched buttery crust, tasty sauce, plentiful cheese and homemade sausage. Family-owned and operated, Home Run Inn
is the number one selling frozen pizza brand in the Chicagoland area.
Produced at its own manufacturing facilities and distributed through its
partnership with Jay Williams of Power Play Distributors, the
quality-controlled pizza company has expanded to stores in over 28


With its loyal Chicago customers in mind, Home Run Inn
continues to serve their favorite pizza and other specialties at nine
locations: two in Chicago; Addison; Bolingbrook; Darien; Melrose Park;
Westmont; Hillside; and Beverly, IL.  For further information, visit or call 630-783-9696. For up to the minute news, join on Twitter and Facebook.