Established in 2015 to help mark the trust's ninety-ninth anniversary, On the Table invites residents to dine together, discuss pressing community issues, and brainstorm solutions to common problems. In 2016, more than fifty-five thousand Chicago residents participated in the program.
The grant from Knight will be used to expand the program to Akron, Ohio; Charlotte, North Carolina; Columbus, Georgia; Detroit, Michigan; Gary, Indiana; Lexington, Kentucky; Long Beach, California; Miami, Florida; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and San Jose, California. The theme of the one-day events in each city will be unique to that city but will include issues such as race relations, affordable housing, urban design, and public space improvements, and local community foundations partnering in the effort will gather data and information from the conversations to inform their future grantmaking.
"We are excited by the promise of this initiative," said Lilly Weinberg, Knight's program director for community foundations." On the Table's focus on building community connections will engage local residents in working together to create a more successful shared future. And it all starts with food — a basic need that is essential to life itself. By scaling On the Table, we will advance conversations on difficult topics while fostering a national network of shared lessons and insights that will uplift our democracy."