Maybe you’ve heard, “you’re only as good as your sources,” or “knowledge is power,” or even “fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.” Here at Purple Binder, we couldn’t agree more. That’s why this summer a team of Callers, or as we like to call ourselves, the Purple People, has been researching, checking and double-checking information on social services across the city.

From our tiny conference room deep within 1871, the Merchandise Mart’s cool new collaborative workspace, four of us graduate students and recent graduates have been calling hundreds of service providers across Chicago to confirm and collect information all summer long. Believe it or not, you can’t find answers to everything online. It isn’t always easy, or pretty – we’ve called wrong or disconnected numbers, gotten tongue tied, been ping-ponged from one voicemail to another, asked questions with painfully obvious answers, and even been hung up on.

Despite the challenges, we’re quite pleased with the work we’ve done. As you know, many service providers’ websites are out-of-date, or lack important information such as detailed eligibility requirements for programs. Through no fault of the hard-working staff of these organizations, misinformation or no information is available. As we worked, it quickly became obvious to us why we need Purple Binder in Chicago! So we thank the people with whom we’ve spoken for their time and their patience. We could not have done it without you!

Alas, summer is ending soon, and the Purple People calling crew is returning to grad school or starting a new chapter with our hard earned degrees. But worry not, this is just the start of accurate, important, information on Purple Binder. Now the torch has been passed and it’s up to you to update and inform us about your organization’s services. After all, who knows what you do better than you? (And when you update the information, there’s no risk of hanging up on yourself.)

Think of Purple Binder as a community garden. This summer, we tilled the soil and planted the seeds. Now, as this collaborative garden of important information grows, we ask for your help in tending and harvesting the crop – accurate, up-to-date information for the people who need it most.