Welcome to Community Alliance & Action Network...“We are here...” for you!
We don't believe in the status quo. We believe in equality for everyone!
CAAN began in Tim Pierce’s and Eric Schor’s home on a cold March 2005 evening: six people sitting around the dining room table talking about how hard it is for LGBTQ people to connect in the suburbs. The acronym CAAN came up early in the discussion; we began to realize that there was a lot that we “CAAN” do to make our lives better. We also realized that we “CAAN” make our lives more visible and let everyone know that LGBTQ people do live in the suburbs of Chicago. In April 2005, we met at Joliet Junior College; the seeds of a community center began to take hold. As we met monthly at the Universalist Unitarian Church in Joliet, we came up with a name (Community Alliance and Action Network), and created a mission statement: to build community and personal alliances to alleviate the effects of discrimination due to sexual orientation and/or gender identification. We began to form committees, and a core group of people willing to dedicate their time and energy grew. From these core individuals, Tim, Paul, Stefanie, Gini and Pete formed the first board with the goal of getting paperwork filed to become a not-for-profit organization, and to find space to open the community center. In August 2005, the State of Illinois granted C.A.A.N. not-for-profit corporate status, and we have been an IRS 501(c)(3) public charity organization since August 2005. C.A.A.N. opened the doors to the offices where we maintained a community library, on February 4, 2006. Our first sponsored event was the film "Fish Can’t Fly", produced and directed by Tom Murray who attended the screening. In April 2015 renovation began on the Barber Building where we maintained the library. We are looking for a new location for the library while we continue to work for the LGBTQ community.
The Board has evolved over the years. CAAN has 3 Board of Directors and many advisors. We welcome your participation in our open board meetings by teleconference. They are held at 7 p.m. the 1st Saturday of every month. Call (209) 647-1075 key in Access Code 1084782# when prompted.
- Gini Lester, President
- Stephanie Bergner, Secretary
- Annie Mae Ruffin, Treasurer
CAAN is a grassroots, volunteer organization. There are no paid positions. We depend upon donations, memberships, and grants for funding. We are governed by our bylaws. You can read the bylaws here.
The CAAN Congress is a coalition of community partners who help to further the CAAN mission. A series of Congresses have convened since 2006. Through these congresses a mission statement was created; "The Congress is an evolving coalition of community partners who support the mission of the Community Alliance and Action Network."
Five areas of focus have been identified; Education, Community Building, Treatment, Legal, and Political Issues. The Congress serves as an opportunity for networking among LGBTQ activists, agencies and organizations.
Join us at the next Congress June 27, 2015 1-4 p.m. at the Center for Independent Living 2415 Jefferson St. Joliet, IL 60435.