During an average week, Urban Initiatives moves to the sounds of teammates chattering, coaches instructing, and apples crunching. Over the past three months, though, our staff and supporters have been dancing to a long list of new, carefully selected beats compliments of Localized @ the Bedford.
Localized started earlier this year when three DJs and their significant others decided to combine their love of music and community service to support local nonprofits. “We’ve always loved volunteering with neighborhood organizations,” says co-founder Irene Voisin, “and we were looking for a creative way to fit socially conscious work into our busy schedules. We all decided we wanted to work with charitable organizations that were focused on grassroots movements in their own neighborhoods.”
Three other co-founders, Max Eisenberg, Naseem Hasan, and Reggie Thurston, had each been DJing for years, so using parties as fundraising events seemed like a natural fit. “We knew any money we made from DJing could make a big difference for a growing nonprofit,” Max says, “and we were also interested in connecting nonprofits with new people to support their causes.”
They partnered with The Bedford, a restaurant and lounge in Wicker park, and once a month since June, the Localized team has been taking over the DJ booth and setting up a satellite bar for nights of music, dancing, and fundraising.
After pairing with Un86’d, a charitable organization that provides monetary relief for restaurant professionals in need, Naseem and his wife Nicole helped choose Urban Initiatives as a partner organization. “Nicole and I both have strong soccer backgrounds, and our two kids play soccer. We live in Humboldt Park, so we knew about some of Urban Initiatives’ work in the neighborhood, and we wanted to support Urban Initiatives’ teams in the schools there,” says Naseem.
On three Saturdays in September, October, and November, Localized turned The Bedford into a full-on dance party for Urban Initiatives. Staff, long-time friends, and total strangers all took to the dance floor to show off their finest moves. In total, Localized raised $2,500 in support of our programming!
“We had such an awesome time working with Localized,” says Jim Dower, Urban Initiatives’ Executive Director. “They really know how to put on a party, and we are so grateful for their support over the past few months.”
Be on the lookout for more Localized @ The Bedford events in the coming months. They’re off to a great start, and we’re looking forward to their next party. We’ll see you there!