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A Vision for Water: Event Recap

MPC Director Ryan Wilson (L) moderates the panel that features Trent Foster, Chakena Perry, Emily Simonson, and Kalindi Parikh (L-R)).

During Current’s Chicago Water Week, MPC convened water sector leaders from across the region for an energizing day titled “A Vision for Water: Planning for Abundance and Scarcity in Illinois.”  

We gathered on May 6 at Harold Washington College, on the 11th floor overlooking Chicago’s Loop, for a livestreamed panel discussion followed by an invite-only working session. Over 70 attendees participated, delving into the opportunities to secure a more sustainable and equitable future of water in Illinois.  

This was the second iteration of “A Vision for Water”, building on the January 2020 convening co-hosted with Current at the Field Museum, which focused on “the past, present, and future of water in Illinois”. This time, attendees were encouraged to consider ways to build capacity and opportunity for collaboration across the region’s water sector.  

The event kicked off with a thoughtful discussion from our panel—a generation of water champions shaping critical water conversations in Chicago, across the Great Lakes, and the nation. Here are some key insights—check out the recording of the panel here for more! 

After the panel discussion, attendees participated in four small group working sessions that discussed the challenges and needs for capacity building and collaboration in the water sector. The facilitated conversations were lively, inspiring, and engaging.

MPC Senior Director Christina Harris facilitates the discussion about capacity building in the water sector.
A working group gathers and discusses collaboration in the water sector.
MPC Vice President of Programs and Strategic Impact delivers the closing remarks.

In the coming months, MPC will use the insights gathered at this event to shape and convene further conversations with water leaders. Starting with this convening on a “A Vision for Water”, we hope to better understand the ecosystem of the water sector in our region—our partnerships and our silos—and build a roadmap to sector-wide water planning and collaboration. 

This event was made possible by the generous support of event sponsors Crown Family Philanthropies, the Joyce Foundation, and the Pritzker Traubert Foundation, the support of MPC event partner, Vega Impact Group, and the hospitality of the event host Harold Washington College.