Membership Status: Statutory member

About us

ICA-USA operates out of Chicago, where ICA first started in 1973. In the spirit of the first human development projects, ICA-USA continues to use participatory methods to enable communities to work towards systemic social change. Currently, ICA-USA's work focuses on the intersection of social and environmental justice.

Our Mission

The mission of the Institute of Cultural Affairs (USA) is to build a just and equitable society in harmony with Planet Earth through empowering cultural dimensions of the social process.

ICA programs strengthen the capacities of organizations, communities, and individuals to build and implement innovative plans of action that draw upon assets and social capital in a collaborative manner.

Our Values

Collaborative action: ICA-USA's work aims to build partnerships and cultivate an environment of collaboration rather than competition.
Personal agency to change: community members are agents of their own change; ICA-USA facilitates and organizes communities to enable them to develop and implement their own plans of action.
Systems thinking: social change work should be intentional about the relationship between local actions and global impacts and consequences.

Director - Ted Wysocki

Email Address: TWysocki@ica-usa.org

Program Director - Seva Gandhi

Email Address: sgandhi@ica-usa.org

- Richard Alton

Email Address: richard.alton@gmail.com

Program Coordinator - Samantha Sainsbury

Email Address: ssainsbury@ica-usa.org

Samantha's work at ICA primarily connects community members to local sustainability experts to support ongoing collaboration, learning, and action. She is most interested in the cultural element of ICA and the way ICA methods enable individuals and groups to understand and shift their relationship to the world. She is the ICA-USA representative on the ICAI Board, serving as Treasurer 2019-2022.

Activity Description

ICA-USA is the organizing sponsor of accelerate77, a five-year project that works to increase the role and positive impact of local community action across Chicago. The key strategies are to identify current sustainability initiatives in all of Chicago's 77 community areas; connect them with one another to inspire new ideas and practices; and engage them in collaborative action and peer interchange. Currently, accelerate77 work is activated through the Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network (CSLN), of which ICA is the organizing sponsor. The CSLN, formed in Oct. 2013, connects grassroots leaders from communities across Chicago to share resources, support each other's work, collaborate, build a stronger collective voice, and nurture equitable and impactful relationships with policy makers.

ICA GreenRise Learning Laboratory

In the US, a strength and key asset of the ICA’s sustainability work is the ICA GreenRise Learning Laboratory, an eight-story building located in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, which was donated to the ICA in 1972 in recognition of the initial Fifth City community work. ICA GreenRise is a ‘learning laboratory’ for people to dialogue about sustainability and what is possible to do within a mixed-use building. With a number of sustainable retrofits, including a 485 solar panel array, the building is a demonstration site for the diverse tenants and building users. Also, the ICA GreenRise is a north side Sustainability Hub for the CSLN, functioning at a space for residents to meet, collaborate, share resources, and learn sustainable practices.

Service Learning

ICA-USA offers Sustainable Community Development training for students that focuses on the intersection of social and environmental justice with training in methods and skills that can be used for engaging all types of community members.

Technology of Participation

ICA's Technology of Participation facilitation methodology harnesses the energy and wisdom of a group to build consensus and create and implement strategic plans. ToP participatory processes draw upon decades of ICA's worldwide community development experience. Currently, the ToP Network consists of over 130 licensed trainers and certified facilitators who deliver facilitation services and training around the country.

ICA Global Archives

ICA-USA houses the ICA global archives. Our aim is to share the experiences and tools from an energetic 20th century "peoples’ movement” for social justice and human development with today’s citizen activists, civic leaders, thinkers, and students. ICA staff and dozens of volunteers have begun by organizing, cataloging, and digitizing several of the numerous collections of the Institute of Cultural Affairs and the Ecumenical Institute Living Archives. Examples include Town Meetings, human development projects, ICA and EI transformative courses, and audio-visual resources and cultural objects from around the globe from the 1950's to present day.

Postal Address

Address Line 1: 4750 N Sheridan
Address Line 2:
City: Chicago
Zip Code / Post Code: 60640
Country: USA


Phone Number: 0017737696363
Email Address: ssainsbury@ica-usa.org
Website: http://www.ica-usa.org/