Chicago Cares and its community of participants and volunteers expect that all Chicago Cares events and projects will reflect the following expectations and code of conduct.

Chicago Cares projects are a respectful environment for all participants. As such, we treat each other with dignity and practice mutual respect. We recognize a shared responsibility to create and maintain a positive, open environment. We assume the positive intentions and take responsibility for the impact we have on others. We provide honest and constructive feedback, carefully anticipate differences and manage our assumptions. We recognize and value the contributions of others.

Chicago Cares projects are safe for all participants: free of harassment of any form, intimidation, bullying, discrimination, bigotry, violence, verbal or physical abuse, real or perceived threats of harm, or hostile conduct. As such, we expect equal treatment for all participants, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, physical or mental ability, disability, physical appearance, religion, political affiliation, ethnicity, race, nationality or immigration status. Do not humiliate, demean, ridicule, degrade, or bully another Chicago Cares participant Do not disclose confidential information about donors, staff, volunteers or beneficiaries to anyone outside of Chicago Cares. In addition, Chicago Cares project participants follow any additional safety policies or rules identified by our hosting partners or venues, and alert staff, security or leaders of any dangerous situations or anyone in distress.

Chicago Cares projects are learning spaces and place where people are free to fully express their identities. As such, we are open to new ideas and we identify and pursue opportunities to learn, risk and grow. We ask questions, listen actively, and speak up about difficulties, pain points and challenges. We forgive past problems, identify new actions and paths forward, and use conflict and tension as an opportunity for growth.

Chicago Cares projects are collaborations. As such, we prioritize access for and input from those who are traditionally excluded from civic processes and volunteer projects. We actively involve and seek the input of community groups and those with subject matter expertise in designing our projects and programs. We identify new opportunities for deeper engagement and impact by working together. We embrace consensus building and shared decision making. We strengthen the experience through mutual support.

Chicago Cares participants practice accountability for their impact. As such, we acknowledge that we are responsible for Chicago Cares and its partner organization’s success. We deliver on our commitments and promises: if you have signed up for an event and can no longer attend participants are expected to remove themselves as soon as possible and if you attend you are expected to stay until the end of the project. Volunteer accounts will be suspended for volunteers who no call/no show for three projects. We reduce the risk of harm or abuse, particularly for vulnerable populations:

  • Remain in groups. Participants should never stray from the group. For your own safety and that of other participants and beneficiaries, do not be alone with another party (volunteers or beneficiaries).
  • Do not be alone with participants or beneficiaries. Do not accompany a child, senior or beneficiary to the bathroom or to beneficiary rooms, apartments, or homes. Do not take a participant or beneficiary in your car or drive a participant anywhere. Do not remove beneficiaries from the premises under any conditions.
  • Remain in the designated project area(s). If the larger group cannot stay together, always remain in groups with at least two volunteers or staff per group. Remain in the designated common areas with the Chicago Cares group.
  • Do not engage in physical contact with volunteers or beneficiaries. Never lift beneficiaries or participants out of a wheelchair, physically move or restrain volunteers or beneficiaries, or sit volunteers or beneficiaries in your lap. Any physical contact beyond minor and appropriate contact may be misconstrued. Sexual harassment of or groping anyone at a project is strictly prohibited. Touching, hugging or kissing adults without explicit consent is prohibited. Touching, hugging or kissing a minor at any point during an event or program is strictly prohibited. Do not demonstrate aggressive physical behavior towards a volunteer or beneficiary. Never physically touch a participant as a means of discipline.
  • Do not extend the project’s timeframe or scope. Each project has a defined beginning and end and set of approved activities. Any activity undertaken by a participant beyond the parameters of the project outlined or before or after the designated hours are prohibited.
  • Do not accept or distribute extra items or gifts. Do not purchase any extra items for participants beyond what has been established and authorized by Chicago Cares for the project. Do not provide gifts to participants. Do not exchange money or provide monetary gifts to participants. Exchanging personal information or social media handles with minors is strictly prohibited. Participants who exchange personal information or social media handles with other adults do so at their own risk.
  • Steward the health and wellness of participants and projects. If the project involves eating or a meal, check with the partner organization representative to ensure that participants do not have any dietary restrictions.
    • If you have a dietary restriction or food allergies, we cannot guarantee disclosure of all ingredients at projects: you consume food or drink at projects at your own risk.
    • Do not use, possess or be under the influence of illegal substances, alcohol, cigarettes or marijuana while engaging in Chicago Cares events or programming. Do not provide such substances to volunteers or beneficiaries. Do not share or provide any participant with over the counter or prescription medication. Bring your own medications to projects, as needed and appropriate. Do not attend the project if you are ill, or if you have symptoms (for instance: fever, cough, rash, diarrhea, vomiting) that may put older adults, children or other vulnerable populations at risk.
    • Follow all outlined food handling and sanitation practices: practice rigorous hand washing, wear gloves during food preparation and service, heat food to a safe temperature, as directed by the FDA, store food appropriately, as directed by the FDA, and follow all other food handling and sanitation practices requested by the partner organization.
    • If you suspect that a participant is ill or may be the victim of abuse, provide details to confidentially to a Chicago Cares staff member or Chicago Cares leader. We will discuss with the appropriate professionals. Report situations that could cause potential harm to beneficiaries.
    • If a participant acts out, contact the Chicago Cares staff member or leader or the partner organization representative immediately. We expect program participants, inclusive of beneficiaries, to treat one another with respect.

As a matter of accountability, you are responsible for enforcing this code of conduct and practicing our organizational values with respect to any child, senior or other person you encounter at a Chicago Cares project.

Chicago Cares reserves the right to ask anyone in violation of this code of conduct to cease participation in a Chicago Cares event or project. If you want to report a violation of the code of conduct, please contact Chicago Cares staff members or leaders on site or send an email to Chicago Cares Code of Conduct is a living document which we will update as needed to reflect our values. If you have feedback, please contact

By registering, I hereby confirm that I have read and agree to and have been provided a copy of the above guidelines. By registering, I also confirm, represent and warrant that I have not been convicted of or charged with a violent crime, child abuse or neglect, child pornography, child abduction, kidnapping, rape or any sexual offence, nor have I ever been ordered by a court to receive psychiatric or psychological treatment in connection therewith.