Chicago Area Living Corridors Alliance (aka Chicago Living Corridors) has come to a crossroads in our development which requires a new direction.
The organization was incorporated as a 501c3 corporation in 2016. Donations were received from the organizations of the group’s leaders, and we proceeded with a number of successful actions. Volunteers created the Chicagolivingcorridors.org website. One of the key features of the website is the map showing the location of properties with native plant gardens and earth-friendly practices. The website provides resources for individuals who are interested in creating better habitat on their own properties.
There has been much interest in CLC expressed by other organizations in the Chicago area with similar goals, such as the Right of Way as Habitat initiative at UIC , the Field Museum, Lurie Garden and other conservation groups. Many influential proponents of increasing native habitat have accepted our invitation to be on the CLC Advisory Board. Many people, including you, have opted to be on our mailing list.
We have initiated many public relations and marketing activities, including a PowerPoint presentation about CLC, presented at Lake to Prairie Wild One conference, an event at Millennium Park and a Chicago Wilderness Congress. We held organizing meetings. We created exhibit materials and exhibited at several related group conferences. We coordinated the Chicago Living Corridors track at the Wild Ones conference in February, 2017. All of these activities have forged valuable contacts and rapport with other agencies and individuals.
In January, 2018 we hired a contractor part-time to help with administrative tasks and manage mailings to potential partners and sponsors. While many express support and value the role of an umbrella organization such as CLC, we did not receive the financial contributions needed to continue as an independent organization. We have come to realize that umbrella organizations such as Chicago Wilderness and the fledgling Chicago Living Corridors can be difficult to sustain financially because while all the member organizations support the mission, they are financially and administratively committed to their own organizations.
Given these circumstances, the board of Chicago Living Corridors had to consider new options. We recognized that The Conservation Foundation has a similar mission with the expansion of their Conservation@Home program area-wide, though CLC’s intent was to drive inquiries to the partner organizations, not for CLC to do site visits ourselves. The Conservation Foundation is interested in expanding the map CLC created to add their new sites with improved habitat. This effort is already underway and should be live on the CLC website soon.
After consultation with Brook McDonald, President and CEO of The Conservation Foundation, and Dan Lobbes, Director of Land Protection and Kane County Director of TCF, the present board of directors of Chicago Area Living Corridors Alliance has signed an affiliate agreement with The Conservation Foundation. We will dissolve our 501c3 status, and TCF will become the fiscal agent for CALCA. Jim Kleinwachter, who chairs TCF’s C@H program will join our board of directors to align our efforts with those of TCF. We intend to continue to promote improved habitat on private land in the Chicago area, maintain the Chicago Living Corridors website, and update the map. We are presently adding new members to our board to replace board members who have retired, and we are reaching out for additional committed volunteers.
We hope you will continue to support our efforts as we know you agree with the mission of CALCA. If so, please go to the Chicago Living Corridor’s website to explore volunteer opportunities. If you want to make a contribution to CLC, it will still be tax deductible. However, the check would be written to The Conservation Foundation, with “Chicago Living Corridors” on the memo line. Thank you for your past and continuing support. Our future can be bright with your help.