Founded by Graham Taylor in 1894, Chicago Commons was one of Chicago’s original settlement houses serving immigrants on Chicago’s northwest side.
To build opportunities for the neighborhood’s residents, Chicago Commons opened one of the city’s earliest kindergartens in 1897. Soon after, Commons began to offer programs for individuals of all ages through clubs and classes, and provided an open forum for discussion of local community events.
For 125 years, Chicago Commons has maintained the values of the historic settlement house movement by continually engaging in dialogue with community residents. We base our strategic direction on listening to the people we serve, understanding how the neighborhoods around us are changing, and seeking innovative ways to respond.
“Underlying this word ‘Commons’…is the idea of sharing what each can be to all and what all can be to each, what belongs to no person or class exclusively, but to everyone, to the whole people of the community or nation.”
– Graham Taylor, Chicago Commons Founder, 1934