The Collaborative Economy Goes To Chi Hack Night

The Kola Nut Collaborative has launched a working group within Chi Hack Night for the purpose of providing an opportunity for participants to learn about the mission, process, and platform of our timebank. Chi Hack Night is a dynamic civic and social hacking space where tools for improving social engagement are designed, discussed, and developed by accomplished coders and non-coders alike.
With the launch of this space, the Kola Nut Collaborative hopes to carve out and cultivate room in existing sectors of Chicago’s social commons where new tools may be deployed in service of the commons. The Kola Nut Collaborative timebank is one such tool for developing an egalitarian social currency which can provide additional infrastructure for incentivizing engagement in projects which expand community in new and enriching ways.
More details about Chi Hack Night and our working group may be found below.
Breakout Group
Slack Channel
The Chi Hack Night is a free, weekly event in Chicago to build, share and learn about civic tech and tools to create, support, or serve public good.
Join us every Tuesday from 6-10pm on the 8th floor of the Merchandise Mart to hear from interesting speakers, learn from each other and work on civic projects. Non-techies are very welcome!
What happens at a hack night?
Every week, we have a 10-15 minute presentation by a government agency, non-profit, company or group who’ve made use of open data or built a civic technology application. The goal of these presentations is to showcase the different uses and opportunities, as well as challenges and successes in the civic technology movement.
After the presentation, the format of the event is similar to that of a hackathon where breakout groups self-organize to work on civic apps, discuss policies and their implications, learn technical skills and network with a welcoming and diverse community at the intersection of technology and government.
But I’m not a techie!
That’s ok! We encourage non-technical folks to pair up and learnfrom our community’s designers and developers. We’ve seen time and time again, he best civic projects come from teams with a diverse background.
Remember, there’s much more to making a great app than just coding.
House Rules
There is food! You are also welcome to take up to 2 non-alcoholic drinks from the ‘everyone’ refrigerator (not the food in the fridge, please).

Twitter: share using the
#chihacknight hashtag.

Follow us @chihacknight

Are you interested in co-hosting? Talk to Christopher/Derek!

Please keep announcements, job postings, breakout pitches less than 30 seconds

Braintree space: The rooms in Blue, we are welcome to use. Everything else is off limits please! Please do not disable or disconnect anything in the Braintree rooms. If you need help, ask one of the Braintree staff. Don’t touch what’s not yours – “Scooters, Monitor Plugs, the little floating cloud lights”

Hosted by Chi Hack Night in Merchandise Mart
Every Tuesday

6:00 pm to 9:30 pm

Cooperation for Liberation Study & Working Group


“The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century” by Grace Lee Boggs

Over the course of 6 weeks, a core group of participants have endeavored to make deep study and exchange thoughts about Dr. Jessica Gordon Nembhard’s work “Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice”.

Within this space we sought to learn more about cooperatives and explore examples from the Black tradition of cooperative economics which might inform our use of the tool in this present moment as a means for building social, political, and economic empowerment.

This event builds on previous community forums convened by Joan Fadayiro which have highlighted the relationship between our historical inequities, our present conditions, and imagined the types of institutions which might work best to address community needs.

The goal of this gathering is to understand how Black communities have historically developed cooperatives as a solution to their economic challenges and determine their relevance for changing our current conditions while building powerful movements which can transform our communities.

Each session we seek to expand our imagination and inventory of ideas through dialogue and practical exercises which will move us nearer towards action. Bring your concerns, ideas, and challenges about using these models for cultivating a solidarity economy of interlocking cooperatives, timebanks, mutual aid associations, community land trusts, people’s assemblies, and other structures so that we can sort through strategies for supporting their development within the working group.


Here’s How We Prepare To Be Ungovernable In 2017 – Sarah Lazare

What Is A Co-Op? zine – TESA Collective


Collective Courage: A History of African American Economic Thought and Practice – Jessica Gordon Nembhard


Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi – Kali Akuno

Cooperating Out of Poverty: The Renaissance of the African Cooperative Movement – Patrick Develtere

Selected Readings from Solidarity Economy: Building Alternatives For People And Planet (2007)

Selected Readings from Solidarity Economy I: Building Alternatives For People And Planet (2009)



Bi-weekly discussion group shall include specific questions harvested from the previous sessions assigned readings designed to elicit deeper thought and move participants to act

Field trips to engage local cooperative efforts or organizational meetings may be assigned as useful to reinforce learning from texts and place participants in spaces where cooperative organizing is already present

Guest speakers may be invited to speak about their work on cooperative enterprise from a legal, strategic, organizational, or policy perspective in order to build relationships between readings, dialogue, and real world case studies


This study and working group is formed for the task of engaging in deep and critical study of forming and running worker owned cooperative enterprises specifically as related to a Black liberatory analysis. Our end goal shall be to put learning into practice by enhancing the operations of an existing worker owned cooperative, encouraging a non-cooperative enterprise to transition to a worker owned cooperative, or launching a new cooperative enterprise which addresses an unmet community need.


In addition to the primary text under review, we will use unconventional tools such a Highlander Center’s Economic and Governance Curriculum, Movement Generation’s Strategic Framework for a Just Transition, Northcountry Cooperative Foundation’s “Collecting Ourselves” Cooperative Entrepreneurship Curriculum, and Museum Camp 2015’s Space Deck as a means to deepen our analysis of the text and build relationships among participants in the space.


Hosted by The #LetUsBreathe Collective
Breathing Room is located at 1434 W. 51st Street
Every Other Sunday (see Community Calendar below for dates)

3:00 pm to 5:00 pm