Brainforest: How Does Community Sustain Us?

Brainforest is a Chicago-based creative agency that has integrated an ethos of social service (people) and sustainability (planet) into the workplace (profit).  The Triple Bottom Line  seems to come effortlessly to a company that volunteers at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, dedicates pro bono service per annum to a specially selected client, including the Gilda’s Club Chicago, and established a non-proft organization Bfriend, Inc. to support charitable projects.  

Most recently Bfriend, Inc. implemented a supply re-use program called Creative Pitch.  Art materials donated by Chicago-area design and marketing businesses are gathered and distributed free of charge to neighborhood schools in need of art and educational supplies.  Similar creative re-use programs have sprung up in other cities, including New York’s Materials for the Arts, Fort Lauderdale’s Trash to Treasure, and Oakland’s East Bay Depot For Creative Reuse.  Unwanted and unused materials that would ordinarily be pitched in the dumpster, are creatively re-purposed and re-cycled to pitch in. 

A reciprocal exchange lies behind Brainforest’s  ”good works”  initiatives, which are designed as “giving back to the community that sustains us.”  As Dian Sourelis, a Partner at Brainforest and Founder/Chairperson of Bfriend, Inc, explains, the projects have grown organically from a wholehearted desire to serve others: “We are generous people.  We think about what we can do for other people.  People who work here really want to do that.”  Behind Brainforest’s acts of giving back to the community, lies a message about the many returns of a circular sustainability.  Through giving, lies the potential to receive again and again.

About Alicia Lubowski-Jahn

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