« Back
06.10.21 | Community

Sage Collective Partner Spotlight: Chicago Commons

At Sage Collective, our name serves as an indicator of how we work. We’re a collective because what we do, we do together. As part of our holistic approach, we work with local social service organizations and health and wellness professionals to create a vibrant ecosystem where resources, ideas and successes are shared. Since the beginning of this new era in our development, Chicago Commons has been a key partner and collaborator. In celebration of that partnership, today’s spotlight highlights their organization’s own important mission and work.

Architectural drawing, "Chicago Commons," Pond and Pond architects
Architectural drawing, “Chicago Commons,” Pond and Pond architects

Deep Community Roots

Chicago Commons has been serving residents of their community for over 125 years. Founded in 1894 by Graham Taylor, a Minister and key social reformer in Chicago. Originally, Chicago Commons began as a settlement house serving immigrants on Chicago’s northwest side. Its model was inspired by progressive social reformer and activist Jane Addams’ own Hull House – the two houses even shared the same architect, Pond & Pond.

Traditionally, settlement houses provided services such as daycare, education, and healthcare, with the goal of bringing equity and social connectedness to their communities. They had brought one of the earliest kindergartens to Chicago in 1897, and also provided programs for individuals of all ages through clubs and classes, and an open-forum discussion platform for local community events.

Graham Taylor was succeeded in 1922 by his eldest daughter and long term settlement house resident, Lea Demarest Taylor, who carried on his legacy. Even when local calls for segregation began during the racial strife of the 1940s, Taylor resisted and stood adamant that the organization’s services and programs would continue to serve all races.

Two African American women embrace and smile. One is an adult and one is an older adult
Photo courtesy of Chicago Commons website

Chicago Commons Today

Today, Chicago Commons carries on the historic legacy of settlement houses and stands as a leading provider of early childhood education, family centered adult education, and senior services on the South and West sides of Chicago. Their mission is to empower individuals, families, and communities to overcome poverty and systemic barriers, embrace opportunities, and thrive across generations.

Over the past 125+ years, their services (and reach) in Chicago have greatly expanded to include centers in Bucktown, Englewood, New City, West Humboldt Park, Back of the Yards, and of course, their headquarters in Bronzeville. 

During COVID-19, Chicago Commons has also partnered with leading health organizations and local institutions to bring informational, online events to their communities addressing common misconceptions and questions regarding the virus. Sage Collective was a proud partner in bringing one of these live Q&As to life – learn more about the past event here

You can also learn more about Chicago Commons, including how to get involved, on their website here

Chicago Commons logo
› Back to top