We are here...inventing the future!

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 the Sally Howland Memorial 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 place to house the library.

The LGBTQ community has new challenges and opportunities in the 21st century. Multiple pride celebrations in small towns and suburbs have popped up over the past few years. Joliet has one too now. CAAN will incorporate Joliet PrideFest to expand its mission.

The Board:

The Board has evolved over the years. CAAN has 4 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. Contact us for the call in information.

PrideFest Committees:

Joliet PrideFest is a one day celebration for the LGBTQ community that takes place in June but planning for it is all year long. We welcome your involvement! Contact us no matter if you can do a lot or only a little. We'll be glad to have your help.


CAAN is a grassroots, volunteer organization. There are no paid positions. We depend upon donations and memberships for funding. We are governed by our bylaws. You can read the bylaws here.

CAAN Congress

join usThe CAAN Congress was a coalition of community partners who helped 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 were identified; Education, Community Building, Treatment, Legal, and Political Issues. The Congress served as an opportunity for networking among LGBTQ activists, agencies and organizations.

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