Chicagoland Raise the Floor Site Visit September 24 – 25, 2015

As we near the three year mark since many of you visited the Windy City as part of the Working Group’s Chicago learning tour, we invite you to join us for an intimate gathering of national and local funders on September 24-25 to learn about our region’s progress in supporting a strong collective of worker centers today called the Raise the Floor Alliance (RTF).  The conception of RTF came, in part, from the planning leading up to and the learning tour itself.

This mini-tour in Chicago will provide insight into the power and potential of collective efforts of organized funders, worker centers, labor attorneys, and worker leaders.  The outcomes sought are to leverage awareness of low-wage work and worker centers, impact systems change at multiple levels, and build power in communities that continue to live and work in the shadows.

  • Gain insight on how eight different worker centers came together to create the Raise the Floor Alliance.
  • Learn of their progress and how they have integrated legal strategy into research, communications, community organizing, and advocacy campaigns to impact systems change to build workplace protections, and enforcement strategies.  This was able to happen during the recent transition of a new gubernatorial administration.  
  • Hear how a workforce development funder collaborative (Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance) went beyond its traditional issues and focused on job quality and worker rights. 

The day and a half event will include a tour of worker centers, invigorating panel discussions on local and national low-wage work issues, and plenty of opportunities for networking and sharing amongst local and national funders, organizational and community leaders in the city of Chicago! 

In Solidarity, 

Matthew Bruce, Executive Director, Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance

Alejandra L. Ibañez, Lead Program Officer, Woods Fund Chicago, Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance member

Sophia Zaman, Executive Director, Raise the Floor Alliance



Participants should plan on arriving on Thursday, September 24th in time to meet at the Woods Fund of Chicago by 1:30pm. Activities will conclude at 4pm on Friday, September 25th.


Downtown Chicago Hotels  (North Loop/Millennium Park)

By proximity to the Woods Fund Chicago

*Wyndham Grand Chicago, 71 E. Wacker Drive, (312) 346-7100

Renaissance Chicago Downtown, 1 W. Wacker Drive, (312) 372-7200

Hard Rock Hotel, 230 N. Michigan Avenue, (312) 345-1000

Hotel Monaco Chicago, 225 N. Wabash Avenue, (312) 960-8500

*Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Wacker Drive, (312) 565-1234

*The Westin Chicago River North, 320 N. Dearborn Street, (312) 744-1900

*Kinzie Hotel, 20 W. Kinzie Street, (312) 395-9000

*Socially responsible union hotels

Directions to The Woods Fund of Chicago:

Participants should meet at the Woods Funds of Chicago to commence the tour at 1:30 on Thursday:

35 East Wacker Drive, Suite 1760
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone 312 782-2698

Directions from O'Hare Airport to the Woods Fund of Chicago.

Directions from Midway Airport to the Woods Fund of Chicago.

 AGENDA: Chicago-land Raise the Floor Site Visit: September 24 – 25, 2015 

(NOTE: This is a work in progress and all times/places/details are approximate and subject to change.)

 Thursday, September 24






Woods Fund Chicago

Early Arrival welcome & transport to Worker Center Site Visit

Natl Funders/NFG

Local Funders

RTFA Select staff

3pm-5 pm


Chicago Community and Worker Rights, Pilsen



Worker Center Site Visit, conversation with workers

Natl Funders/NFG

Local Funders

RTFA Leaders

RTFA Select Staff

5:30pm – 7 pm


Chicago Bar Foundation,

Downtown Chicago


Raise the Floor Alliance Celebration and Year 1 Highlights


Natl Funders/NFG

Local Funders

RTFA Leaders

RTFA Staff

Other Partners and Allies


 Friday, September 25





8am - Noon


United Electrical Workers Hall


37 South Ashland, Chicago 60607




Main Site Visit About Raise the Floor Alliance


Focus on

RTFA’s Work on:

Wage Theft,


And Discrimination

Natl Funders/NFG

Local Funders

RTFA Leaders

Partners and Allies as needed

12:30pm – 2:30pm


Chicago Downtown Location


Lunch: Chicago Future Plans and the Natl Context


Natl Funders/NFG

Local Funders

RTFA Leaders


2:30pm – 4pm


Chicago Downtown Location


Funder Debrief

Natl Funders/NFG

Local Funders

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