Oak Park – Oak Park-based environmental nonprofit, Seven Generations Ahead (SGA), celebrates its 20th anniversary on November 1st, 2021. For two decades, it has been a leader in environmental sustainability initiatives and advocacy throughout the Chicagoland area and beyond. SGA has helped launch composting and zero waste programs across numerous schools and municipalities in Illinois. It oversees a statewide farm to school program that supports healthy, local, fresh food in schools. And for 14 years, SGA has run its annual fundraiser, the Oak Park Micro Brew Review, which has become the largest zero-waste craft beer fest in the Midwest.

“I’m thrilled that SGA has reached this point in our growth and that we have been able to generate far-reaching impact as a non-profit in the sustainability space,” says Gary Cuneen, SGA’s executive director.

SGA will be kicking off the 20th anniversary celebrations with coverage from this year’  United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, a crucial global meeting at a pivotal time in the fight against climate change. SGA was selected to be an Observer Organization at the conference, and its youth climate advocacy program, It’s Our Future (IOF), will be sending students from Chicago Public Schools, Oak Park River Forest High School and Evanston Township High School, along with Cuneen and Rachel Rosner, IOF program consultant.

“We’re very excited to have been selected as an official Observer Organization for this year’s COP 26 UN Climate Summit,” says Cuneen. “This opportunity provides us with an upfront view of the negotiations which we will share with the Chicago metro area, and will enable our youth delegates to learn firsthand about how the proceedings work and the issues being discussed.”

The cohort will be admitted to the main “Blue Zone” negotiations venue and will send back video interviews, reports, and photos, as well as Zoom livestreams on their experience of the proceedings. SGA would like to thank to the Lumpkin Family Foundation and the Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation for their financial support of the students and teachers.

Throughout the month of November, SGA will be celebrating its 20th anniversary on social media platforms with the hashtag #SGA@20. It will be a look back at the many accomplishments in the organization’s history, as well as a celebration of the many people who made those accomplishments possible.

“When I started the organization, I had no idea how it would eventually develop,” Cuneen says. “I’m grateful to all of the staff, board members, funders and partner organizations that have collaborated with us and supported us in playing our role in combatting climate change, driving local sustainable food, reducing waste, and catalyzing comprehensive sustainability planning and action across the Chicago metro area, Illinois and beyond.”

The 20th anniversary celebrations will culminate on November 30th, with a virtual fundraising campaign for Giving Tuesday. To join the celebrations, follow Seven Generations Ahead on Facebook and Instagram.