One Cause At a Time – Archive

An Archive of Chicago Now One Cause at a Time Posts

Archive for the ‘Administrata’ Category

Welcome to the Official (For Me) Chicago Now One Cause At A Time Archive!

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Several weeks ago, Alden Group (current owners of the Chicago Tribune) shut down Chicago Now, the blogging platform that allowed local bloggers (like me) the opportunity to write about Chicago life from a variety of perspectives. Granted, my blogging for the platform had been nonexistent for six months due to my mother’s passing, but I had some forewarning of what would happen…

…and I exported all of my blog data before the switch was pulled. (Luckily, I own my Chicago Now content). So now, you can find the blog at

So the above graphic is what you see when you access Chicago Now. However, I have also featured many prominent organizations and individuals with this blog’s focus on technology and community. As much as I would like to resume blogging, my freelance/professional consulting work and New Pulp writing prevent me from blogging full-time.

However, since many organizations rely on linking to outside resources, please email me if you want me to revise your entry. (Unfortunately, one of the casualties of the switchover to WordPress was that image links were broken. I am more than happy to replace them upon request). I also apologize for the sudden end; had I known, I would have prepared readers for the changeover.

(And why didn’t I rely on the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine? Short form: it’s too clunky and irregular, and the results are rather spotty. With this archive, posts can be found more easily).

So please dive in and enjoy this archive. If you wish to support my current creative efforts, you can join my Patreon community or follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

And as always, thanks for reading!


Written by gordondym

September 12, 2022 at 11:34 am

Posted in Administrata, Commentary

Tagged with ,

Best of 2019 in Review

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Photo by Gordon Dymowski

Photo by Gordon Dymowski

To be honest…the first half of 2019 had minimal activity on the blog. Part of it was moving past the infrequent posting in 2018 (yes, I did develop a content calendar…but caregiving duties and other things kept me away from the keyboard).

However,  I wanted to focus on finding social media and copywriting consulting work as well as my pulp fiction writing. However, as 2019 progressed I found that I could balance creativity and caregiving, and managed to carve out some great working relationships through blogging. (If you’ve noticed, the “Meet Your Neighbor” posts increased steadily through 2019).

But enough of my bragging…just like last year, these are the best posts of 2019. In reviewing these posts. I have chosen one per month (luckily, only one month has had one single post) and chose a random quote. They’ve all been linked, but you’re always welcome to choose your other favorite post about technology, social change, and the greater Chicago community. Here’s the best of 2019 in review – enjoy!

January – Think of it as the dark side of “clickbait” and “viral memes” – online information designed not just to engage, but to sow dissension amongst users.

February – One of the most brutal effects of this past winter has been its effect on my caregiving and my own self-care…and nearly cost me my sense of connection with others.

March – They were kind enough to share their video of my experiences…and via the magic of YouTube, I’m sharing it with you 

teddy-heidt-sidebarApril – With a mission-driven impulse towards collaboration and community, the Gauge Collective under Teddy Heidt’s leadership provides a great example for other businesses – and even some digital agencies – to emulate.

May – Over ten years ago, I attended a “free weekend” run by a local “business coaching” organization. Given some of their tactics at the time, I believe I dodged a bullet.

June –  In a business landscape that is becoming more focused on greater social benefit, there is also a greater need for introspection and honest self-exploration about their own potential complicity in fostering systemic issues

July – Driving social change through small acts is a radical idea: these acts can have ripple effects and enable people to make a huge change via small actions.

August – “For Seke Ballard, the emerging cannabis industry does not just provide great opportunities for business growth; it also serves to back Ballard’s principle that “the free flow of capital is the lifeblood of any community”.

September – In short, caregiving is no longer a “journey” – it’s a destination 

Raks Geek

Raks Geek

October – Because we ourselves come from marginalized groups, we know how important it is to have spaces that are truly welcoming, spaces where you’re able to belong, where your full humanity is respected and loved. Honestly, because of who we are, building an inclusive community has been easy for us.

November – Belmont Cragin is one of Chicago’s best-kept secrets: it’s a neighborhood that has been experiencing a renaissance.

December –  Legal resources for low income and underrepresented tenants can alleviate housing concerns, especially since eviction filing rates are higher in neighborhoods of color which lack such resources.

Here’s to a happy, healthy 2020! If you have questions or want to say “hello”, you’re more than welcome to join us on our Facebook page or email me directly via this contact form. (I also have a personal web site and online portfolio for your review as well). And as always, thank you so much for reading!

Have a wonderful, Happy New Year!

ADMINISTRATA: Our Blog’s Public Relations Policy

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We’ve worked with many organizations over the years, and we’re proud to highlight them. In fact, we frequently receive requests for coverage on this Chicago Now blog.

In that spirit, this blog now has a formal public relations policy for those looking for coverage.


Written by gordondym

December 1, 2019 at 3:07 pm

Caregiving, Career, and Creativity

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Two weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to win the 2019 Pulp Factory Award for my short story “Knights of the Silver Cross” in 1950s Western Roundup. After winning the award, I decided to take a break from creativity and writing. Working on creative projects for two years non-stop while balancing caregiving duties and freelance work has been especially challenging, and taking a break has enabled me to recharge and regain a strong sense of focus.

Caregiving an elderly, ill parent often means a greater need for self-care, and my own efforts to maintain relationships and stay connected were becoming compromised. Think of caregiving as “parenting in reverse”: there are similar dynamics to raising a child, but while a child tends to develop upward, an ill parent requires greater effort and time. Self-care, especially focusing on other relationships, can be particularly challenging to caregivers, and I was finding myself feeling increasingly isolated despite a non-stop schedule (including a successful Doctor Who panel at C2E2). Engaging with my friends and colleagues requires consistent effort, as well as a self-reminder that I have a community of friends and colleagues supporting me even if I am not always aware of it. Plus, I have also started a south side Chicago caregivers meetup in order to bolster my efforts to find support but to also “pay it forward” to other caregivers.

C Now - Blogging

One of the other aspects of caregiving is balancing my “regular” duties while seeking freelancing work and consulting assignments. One of the great challenges is finding time for professional networking: my schedule does not always permit me to attend the plethora of networking events in Chicago. So my efforts have been more focused: touching base with several contacts, running a coworking meetup, and attending nontraditional events focused on specific kinds of clients rather than larger scale, two-drink-minimum kinds of events. I have also had to consider the kind of work I want to do, focusing more on freelance and remote work than traditional full-time work. Finding employment can be a challenge for anyone; for a caregiver, it can be especially daunting.

Especially in terms of current attitudes towards work and employment. For those who openly embrace the myth of “crushing it”, my efforts are inadequate (in other words, I’m not “trying hard enough”). Many individuals often advocate that I simply just “get a job to care for your mother” as if jobs are prizes to be won rather than opportunities to utilize my skills. Not only should professional work come before everything else, but my creative work should be “freely available” and without recompense. (Recently, I had to remove a member from Chicago Doctor Who Meetup for not only trollish behavior but for suggesting that I simply “accept modern technology” when it comes to the effect of digital piracy on my work as a writer). Being creative when facing both life challenges and negative attitudes from others can become increasingly difficult and means shifting priorities.

Comics Code

Shifting those priorities and managing time effectively in the midst of all of this has impacted my ability to write and blog consistently. Our current cultural lack of empathy towards working creatives (including writing, music, film, and other media) has resulted in an attitude of “I-know-better-than-you” from those who may not understand the totality of effort. (Just look at YouTube “critics” declaring that certain works have “failed”, or that there is “too much diversity”.) Blogging allows me to express myself, but also allows me to highlight lesser-known efforts around technology, social change, and other community-based efforts. Writing New Pulp fiction allows me to express and resolve more intense emotions, but also requires time and distance that my caregiving duties may frequently impact. Achieving a sense of balance and equilibrium is possible, but requires great effort.

So why am I writing this post, you may ask? Many caregivers like myself are often held to unreasonably high expectations, being told that we’re heading “on a great journey” without acknowledging our specific challenges. Caregiving for an elderly, ill, or dying relative can be physically and emotionally taxing, and our current culture does little to provide basic support to empathy. People like me who care for a relative (especially caregivers in marginalized communities) require resources and support if only to provide them an opportunity to express themselves and their experiences. I am fortunate that between this blog and my fiction work, I recognize that I have the luxury of having my voice be heard…

…and recognize that many other caregivers are not as fortunate, yet they need to have their voices be heard.

Want to share your comments or experiences? Please leave them in the area below. Please join the conversation and follow us on our Facebook page, or join our Patreon community. If you want to contact me directly, please use this email contact form.
And as always, thanks for reading!

Written by gordondym

April 28, 2019 at 10:35 am

Thanksgiving and Gratitude

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Chicago TARDIS - Finally Realizing What I Wanted to Do at 13 Years Old
There’s really not much to write about this week, since I’m prepping for the Chicago TARDIS charity auction. However, in the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, allow me to present this guest post on gratitude for You Know Neen.

Have a safe, happy Thanksgiving holiday, everyone.

Written by gordondym

November 22, 2017 at 6:17 am

My (Re) Introduction to the Community

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Dear Reader,

Welcome to One Cause At A Time….when the blog started several years ago, our focus was on the impact of technology on nonprofits, community organizations, and social enterprises in Chicago. However, we’ve evolved into a more abstract exploration of various issues as they impact on the community.

My name is Gordon Dymowski, and my professional background includes working with nonprofits in Chicago and St. Louis. I’m also a freelance writer (with a focus on popular culture) and online marketing consultant, and I’ve also had a great love of community work. There’s something about people collaborating and building relationships that have a strong, profound emotional appeal for me).

But to be honest, personal matters (including parental health issues) have taken me away from the blog…in fact, I’ve been away from the blog since March 11th. Long story short, I had to move, I’m always looking for work, and quite honestly….this has given me a great perspective on why I write this blog….and why I’m recommitting to posting weekly.

Part of it was my own experience – being a client of social services after so long as a provider/worker has given me a better understanding of the importance of community. I’ve learned that in my own social circles, I have many people who were willing to help me through a tough time…and who really helped me experience the power of community.

Especially now, when we experience chaos and confusion on a daily basis. Right now, I would offer that having that sense of community and belonging is more important than ever given recent events. It’s also important that voices that don’t get heard, and that more grassroots-based community building efforts get the visibility and attention they deserve.

If you’ve e-mailed me in the past two months and I haven’t responded, please drop me another line via this online form and I promise a prompt response. (If you wish to contact me privately, use that form as well).  If you have comments or want to suggest organizations that are worth engaging (one of this blog’s semi-regular features is “Meet Your Neighbor”), either mention them in the comments below or join the conversation on our Facebook page. (Yes, comments are moderated).

Again, thanks for visiting. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next, and I’m glad you stopped by to read.






Written by gordondym

May 25, 2017 at 6:44 pm

Nonprofits and Social Enterprise: What Are Your Biggest Challenges?

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As a Chicago Now blogger, I have been writing about technology, nonprofits and social enterprise in Chicago. for several years. I have featured various organizations, discussed various resources, and started conversations about community and mission-driven organizations. But there’s one thing I haven’t done in this blog….and I’m kicking off 2016 by soliciting your feedback.

My main question for Chicago nonprofits and social enterprise is this: what are the biggest challenges for your business or organization? 

Much of this was inspired by a seemingly innocuous Hubspot article about marketing challenges….but it made me realize that, as a community-minded  blogger, I had overlooked a key factor in my writing.

never solicited community input to determine where to focus my writing – yes, I did encourage people to join our Facebook group and subscribe to our e-mail newsletter. I was willing to accept solicitations for coverage….but did I ever ask for them? If I did, I don’t remember….and that’s not a good thing.

Look beneath Chicago’s prevalent startup culture, and you’ll find a variety of nonprofits and social enterprises (as well as other organizations) doing some really critical work in building the Chicago community. Work that integrates technology in ways that make a huge, positive impact on our city. It is rarely, if ever, given a public spotlight. My goal for 2016 is to change that – this year, I want to focus as much on the hidden treasures within Chicago’s social change community as much as the organizations doing the most public work.

On this blog, there’s room for both corporate volunteering and smaller, more grassroots-oriented efforts. There’s also room to explore some of the challenges all social change agents face, and this blog considers both nonprofits and social enterprise key allies in rebuilding the Chicago community. Despite a year of high political drama, with so much uncertainty, One Cause At A Time needs to play a role in building its own community, and part of that is being aware and addressing those challenges directly, providing resources and insight that can help Chicago nonprofits and social enterprise meet those challenges head-on.

So I’m asking you, the reader who works for a Chicago nonprofit or social enterprise (and we don’t discriminate between L3Cs and Benefit Corporations), to let us know what your biggest challenges are in working towards driving social change and community benefit in Chicago. (I will also be reaching out to my professional contacts as well, because like any nonprofit/social enterprise professional, I must continually educate myself on the present state of the field).

But how can Chicago professionals in nonprofits and social enterprise provide insight into the biggest challenges for their business/organization? There are a variety of ways to contact me, including

This blog values community input, and it’s only right and proper that we ask for the challenges that Chicago nonprofits and social enterprise face on a daily basis. But the only way that we can provide great content is to know what’s happening….and bring those issues to light.

Thanks again, and looking forward to 2016!

Want to receive updates via e-mail? Just type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.


Written by gordondym

January 5, 2016 at 11:44 am

Happy New Year 2016 from Chicago Now’s ONE CAUSE AT A TIME

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New Years Chicago Now

Happy New Year 2016 from Chicago Now’s One Cause At A Time!

As we enter the New Year, we encourage you to reach out – please follow us on Facebook, or reach out via our About page.

Thanks, and looking forward to the coming year!

Written by gordondym

January 1, 2016 at 9:05 am

Posted in Administrata

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Happy Holidays From One Cause At A Time

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Just a short note to wish all of our readers – and their families – happy holidays, and  wishing the best for 2016.

C Now Xmas Post

Written by gordondym

December 25, 2015 at 6:05 am

Posted in Administrata

Tagged with


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C Now - Little Book of Big PR


NOTE: A complimentary copy of Ms. Witter’s book was provided for purposes of review

As I was writing last week’s post, I came to a very subtle realization – throughout my career in nonprofits, I have had to take on what might be called “guerrilla” public relations tactics. Working with media, getting the word out, engaging the public – all of those were key skills that I needed to cultivate in order to move programs forward. For many Chicago (and other) nonprofits, having an easily understandable reference for public relations is paramount.

Thankfully, Jennefer Witter’s Little Book of Big PR: 100+ Quick Tips to Get Your Business Noticed, published by Amacom Books in both softcover and Kindle editions, is a great primer. Although geared primarily towards small businesses, there are enough practical, down-to-earth tips for nonprofits, social enteprises, and other mission-based organizations to gain benefit.

The Little Book of Big PR focuses on small – yet practical – tactics for building overall capacity. It’s a brisk, easily comprehendable book that contains various bits of advice, as well as examples from other businesses. Covering a wide range of topics – from public speaking to self-branding – The Little Book of Big PR provides useful advice that is geared towards business growth. (And yes, there is a chapter on cause-related marketing, but don’t let that fool you – the other chapters are also extremely practical). It’s the kind of book that really deserves to be part of any nonprofit/community organizing reference library – along with The Mission Myth, Organizing for Social Change  and Everyday Entrepreneur, Ms. Witter’s book provides a great way to channel more business-oriented thinking into nonprofit activities.

Many smaller nonprofits and community organizations often lack staff dedicated to marketing and public relations. In fact, many smaller organizations rely on grassroots mobilization and community organizing to gain traction and (hopefully) exposure. One of the great advantages of The Little Book of Big PR is that it is written in simple language, and many of the tips are easily implemented. Ms. Witter does a great job in fostering the idea that public relations isn’t necessarily about “spin”, but that it’s a way for small businesses (and by extension, nonprofits and community organizations) to grow and expand with a minimum of resources.

Simply put, I enjoyed The Little Book of Big PR. It’s a small, easily affordable book that is a must-own for anyone in the nonprofit/social benefit sector.

Are there any must-own books that you can suggest? Please feel free to leave your suggestions – and any other comments – down below. You can also subscribe to this blog in e-mail (just look for the “Subscribe by E-mail” button), or follow us on Facebook. If you want to reach me directly, information can be found via the About page.

And as always, thanks for reading!