Creating Promising Futures Through Social Construction
910 W. Castlewood Terrace
Chicago, IL 60640
Phone: (773) 275-2520
Fax: (773) 878-9161
The Rev. Bliss W. Browne is founder and President of Imagine Chicago, an innovative civic project founded in 1992 which has inspired a global movement on six continents. She is an ordained Episcopal priest, and was formerly a Vice President and Division Head at the First National Bank of Chicago where she worked from 1975-1991. She gave up her life as a corporate bank executive in 1991 to make a difference in the life of Chicago. What would it take, she wondered, to create a vision and action plan for the city's future that was owned by the people of Chicago? How would it be possible to create a city economy in which no one was wasted, in which everyone's contributions mattered? In 1992 Bliss imagined Chicago as a thriving, positive city making a difference in the lives of residents: Imagine Chicago was born. Imagine Chicago is a non-profit organization that helps people develop their imagination as city creators. It offers everyone, especially young people, the opportunity to invest themselves in the city's future. Through its many collaborations, Imagine Chicago builds intergenerational and intercultural networks of individuals and organizations committed to developing a vital city-wide community.
The core processes employed at Imagine Chicago are:
Her civic leadership positions have included: Director and Past Chairman of the Center for Neighborhood Technology and of the Mid-America Leadership Foundation; Trustee of the Chicago Sunday Evening Club; Advisory Board member of Public Allies, and board member of Archeworks, Chicago Children's Choir, Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions, the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative, the Chicago Board of the Children's Scholarship Fund, and the Community Advisory boards of the Field Museum and the Chicago Historical Society. She also served on the Illinois governor's Public-Private Child Care Council and the Episcopal Presiding Bishop's Consultation on Reconciliation. She was the first women priest ever to preach at Westminster Abbey, in 1979, and has served in parish ministry in Chicago for over 25 years. She was one of 24 members of the Saguaro Seminar on Civic Engagement in America, a two-year forum at the Harvard Kennedy School that recognized national innovators in developing social capital. She is a sought after keynote speaker, facilitator, consultant and trainer nationally and internationally.
She holds degrees from Yale (B.A. 1971 in History), Harvard Divinity School (M.Div. 1974 in Theology), and Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern (M.M. 1978 in Finance). Awards include: Rockefeller Fellow 1972, Kellogg National Fellow 1988-91, two Eureka Community Awards 1995-96, the Chicago Mercedes Mentor Award 1998, and Chicago Justice Pioneer Award 2003. She is married with three young adult children.
Publications include "Cultivating Hope and Imagination" in Vimukh Shiksha and the Journal of Future Studies in 2001 and "Liberating Imagination about Aging," in Foresight in 2003. She is also author of two books: "Ten Years of Imagination in Action", a conceptual framework for imagination as a social movement and Women Alive: A Legacy of Social Justice.