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ICA Logo    

Originally the "wedge-blade" logo, a symbol of the Ecumenical Institute (EI) - the forerunner of the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) - represented a Movement, a people who were willing to "wedge" themselves into the consciousness of history on behalf of radical care for the earth, with the line at the center representing the line between the no longer and the not yet.

The circle was added when ICA was born and the organization turned from a focus on religious renewal to a focus on communities. Thus, the circle represents the globe signifying the efforts toward positive social change on behalf of the world.

The two halves of the circle, as with the left and right sides of the line through the wedge-blade, symbolize the past and the future. Processes of social change often engender conflict between those who want to perpetuate the past and those who want to change the future. ICA-USA stands in the center in order to facilitate a transition, both honoring the past and building consensus for future change.

ICA Timeline



ICA’s building at 4750 N. Sheridan is renamed as the "ICA GreenRise Building” and is invited to join the City’s "Chicago Retrofit Commercial Buildings Initiative” and, in a separate action, gains official Landmark Status. A major solar energy project is undertaken to self-generate 18% of the building’s electrical use.


ICA serves as the "organizing sponsor” of the Accelerate 77 program to identify and connect local community sustainability initiatives in all 77 community areas of Chicago. A city-wide "Share Fair” occurs at Truman College in September showcasing over 100 organizations with more than 400 attending.

240 students from five major Chicago universities are engaged in action-research for the "Accelerate 77” program throughout the year. Forty interns participate in the Summer Internship Program for ten weeks.

ICA celebrates its 50th Anniversary with 50 events in 50 cities.


"Developing Leaders in a Time of Transition” is launched as an intensive 3-week program of holistic learning whereby students earn 3 hours of academic credit with participating universities. The course combines analysis of systemic issues of a just and equitable society with civic engagement through service learning work in Chicago neighborhoods.


ICA co-sponsors the first of three annual conferences with Oklahoma City University on the themes of "Peace, Poverty, and Planet Earth.”


ICA designed and oversaw approaches for citizen participation for the City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, during the "Neighborhood Planning Process” in the aftermath of the devastating flood of 2008.


Staff and colleagues attend ICAI 7th Global Conference on Human Development:Unlocking the Potential to Create a New World Togetherin Takayama, Japan.

ICA-USA holds Persistence of Poverty Workshops in Chicago, IL, Troy, NY, and Sausalito, CA.

Poverty Conversation workshop held in Washington D.C.


The Living Legacy Event held at ICA-USA's Chicago headquarters honoring staff, associates and faculty and celebrating ICA-USA's 35 year history.

ICA-USA hosts a Think Tank Event to develop strategic plan for the future of ICA-USA.


ICA-USA restructures closing regional offices around the country.


ICA-USA hires its first Chief Executive.


ICA-USA marks its 30th anniversary with celebrations in 10 cities and a Celebration Symposium in Chicago.


ICA-USA launched a 2 year Capacity Building Campaign for $300,000.


ICA-USA hosts the ICA International ConferenceThe Millennium Connectionin Denver.


ICA-USA staff and colleagues attend ICA International Conference onThe Rise of Civil Society in the 21st Centuryin Cairo, Egypt.

Publication of ICA-USA's first CD-ROM version of its archival resources and research.


First International ToP® Training of Trainers program for thirteen countries held in the U.S.A.

Technology of Participation (ToP®) registered as ICA trademark.


ICA-USA staff and colleagues attend ICA International's Conference in India.


ICA-USA starts a National Partnership program to develop the Field of Community Youth Development.

USA/Mexico Border Neighborhoods Programs begin.


ICA-USA publishes books on successful rural development, facilitation methods and case studies of business transformation and effective local government.


ICA-USA launches a partnership program with the Council of Energy Resource Tribes and the Arizona Leadership Academy.

ICA-USA staff and colleagues attend ICA International Conference in Czechoslovakia.


ToP® Trainers Network formed.


ICA-USA staff and colleagues attend ICA International Conference in Taiwan.

International Association of Facilitators formed by former ICA-USA staff members and others.


Spanish language and Native American programs begin in the U.S.A.


ICA-USA staff and colleagues attend ICA International Conference onOur Common Futureheld in Mexico.

Earthwise Learning Series begins.


ICA-USA reorganizes their international development projects; from those projects 32 autonomous national ICAs are created around the globe.


Technology of Participation (ToP®) Training Program series begins in USA.

ICA-USA staff and colleagues attend ICA International Conference held in Spain.


Food For All Partnership begins in the U.S.A.


ICA-USA and United Nations organizations co-sponsor Fifty-five nation International Exposition of Rural Development, with a Plenary Conference held in India in 1984.


ICA-USA International formed in Belgium and Secretariat established.


First Village Development Replication Plan initiated in India, followed by other nations.

Eight-week Human Development Training Institutes begin around the world.


ICA-USA holds over 5,000 Town Meeting 76 local community planning forums as part of the USA Bicentennial Celebration, with at least one in every county of the United States.


ICA-USA launches 24 Human Development Projects, one in each global time zone.


ICA-USA incorporates as separate entity from the Ecumenical Institute.


Strategic Planning seminars for the business community are held in the U.S. and around the world.


First of a series of annual Global Research Assemblies begins.


First International Training Institute is held in Singapore.

ICA-USA opens its first international and national offices outside Chicago, IL.


The Institute's intensive 13-week training program, The Academy, begins in Chicago.

First Rite of Passage program held for children of Institute staff.


The first community development project, Fifth City, begins locally in the neighborhood surrounding the Ecumenical Institute.


The Ecumenical Institute, the founding organization of ICA-USA, establishes operations on Chicago's West Side.