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News & Press: ICA News

Reconnecting with Colleagues Coast to Coast

Wednesday, November 1, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Caitlin Sarro
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Historically, ICA had several offices around the US -- and one of the things that has left our now Chicago-based organization with is a wide network of colleagues across the US. Although ICA still has national programming -- it's hard to find time to stay in touch with colleagues who have shifted their efforts and areas of impact but are still interested in the organization's work. 

This summer, ICA staff traveled coast to coast to visits to colleagues in New York City, Seattle, Oregon, and the Twin Cities. Similar to the trip to St. Louis and Kansas City in February, staff organized gatherings for local colleagues to reconnect with the organization's work, and each other. Gatherings often included discussions of how colleague first became involved with the ICA and how the organization has impacted their lives and current work.

New York City Area
Caitlin Sarro and Dick Alton met with colleagues who work in international leadership development. Dick presented on the recently launched AIDS-Free Community Toolbox, which you can read more about here. Additionally, Leisel Burns, a member of the ToP network, hosted a small gathering with local leaders who are interested in community building work in Haiti and New York. Attendees discussed their experiences with community building and were especially interested in insights from the Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network.  

Immediately following the trip to NY, Caitlin and Terry Bergdall traveled to the west coast. The pair caught the last day of ICA colleague LiDoña Wager’s art exhibit at the Fountainhead Gallery. The Pilgrimage painting series is based off LiDoña’s life in the villages of ICA’s Human Development Projects. In addition to viewing the artwork, Caitlin and Terry met with LiDoña and toured her art studio.

Nancy Lanphear hosted Terry and Caitlin at the Songaia Cohousing Community. Songaia is the basecamp for an ICA inspired project, Rite of Passage, which uses retreats and cultural methods to mentor individuals through life transitions. Kylie Loynd, Songaia Executive Director, shared her insights on the program, and the group reflected on how ICA and ICA affiliated spaces uniquely create space for transformative experiences.

The gatherings in Seattle and Eugene brought together many generations of the ICA community for robust conversation. Notably, colleagues were very energized by sharing their stories and the impact ICA made in their lives. Many were spurred into the missional work of the organization by the chaos of the late 1960’s and the frustration they felt with not having an avenue to constructively direct their passion, drawing many parallels to today’s societal situation.

Twin Cities
For the first week of August, Caitlin and ICA Board Chair Jim Troxel traveled to the Twin Cities. ICAs historical connection and current ToP Trainer community run deep in the twin cities, and this visit generated the largest gathering - 35 people. 

The event program showcased colleagues’ current work and opportunities to engage in the following initiatives.

-- Beret Griffith provided details on the work of the Global Archives and the Fall Sojourn;
-- Irina Fursman shared on MN ToP and using ToP methods internationally;
-- Sean Gosiewski is part of the ToP/ICA collaboration known as Accelerate Climate Action Network and shared his efforts with the Alliance for Sustainability;
-- Caitlin Sarro discussed the Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network; and
-- Jim Troxel outlined the ICA GreenRise Historic Renovation Project.

Overall, these visits were beneficial for connecting with colleagues regarding their current work and also outlining the opportunities of the ICA Legacy Society. Originally launched in 2012, the Legacy Society honors colleagues who support the ICA through a bequest intention or other types of charitable planned gifts. By becoming a member of the Legacy Society, colleagues help ICA meet the challenges of tomorrow by leaving a legacy of promise and possibilities for future generations.

If you would like to contribute towards this effort or the work of ICA please visit our website here.
If you are interested in additional information on joining the Legacy Society, feel free to contact Caitlin at or call (773) 769-6363.