I've been working really hard this summer and my time at the Field Foundation has been so fruitful. Not only do I get to work with some amazing people, I'm also learning about organizations who are doing such wonderful work around the city. I'm not only responsible for Field's social presence such as Instagram, but I'm also working on the upcoming Biennial Report and shadowing the program officers on site visits.
Before I settled on my Thesis topic this summer, which I'll get more into in a future post coming soon, I had originally planned to examine holistic approaches to building self-sustainable communities, primarily considering permaculture and the writings of Dr. Umar Abd-Allah. Then further looking at how art is a facilitator for a binding identity and how it is imperative in creating a vital culture in communities so that they experience a spillover effect, meaning that elements such as economic sustainability, education, and healthcare fall naturally into place.
While Dr. Umar says that he remains optimistic in whether societies can achieve an oasis that is self sustainable, he does encourage us to try. Had I gone down this route for Thesis, I would have highlighted numerous non-profit organizations in Chicago as case studies who are already applying some of these holistic approaches to achieve their mission and goals by intersecting the arts into their work.
Organizations who are doing this are Urban Juncture, Sister Survivor Network, Semillas y Raices, and IMAN. I also got to shadow on site visits to IMAN and Sister Survivor Network. Considering a grant by reading about an organization on paper, as opposed to visiting a site and facilitating a human interaction with the people doing the work becomes a completely different experience in the way we practice philanthropy. I've had the pleasure of meeting the team at SSN and IMAN and I am so humbled by the work they are doing and just the people they are!
Yes we're Dreamers, but we can strive hard to find practical ways to make our dreams reality. My summer at the field has been so valuable to me in the person I want to become and in realizing that hope and determination together can lead you to places you've always wanted to be.