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New Philanthropist and Founder of The Shot Collective — Garrett Sweet 

The Foundation has a friend in Garrett Sweet.

Earlier this summer, we were approached by an innovative young philanthropist with the idea to raise funds for the Chicago Public Library Foundation. We were intrigued by the idea and came away with a new friend in the process. Read along to learn more about Garrett Sweet and how he convinced 12 Chicago talents to help him raise money for education resources at Chicago Public Library.

The Origin Story

“I’d like to help grow the photography showcase community,” Sweet started. “And as an avid photographer, I found myself following all these amazing local photographers on Instagram and thought…banding together around gallery events for a good cause would be a great way for us to meet each other, learn from each other and support a good cause. (…) Bring ourselves out of the digital space and into real life collaboration.”
Needless to say, we were in love with the idea of people lending their craft to raise awareness (and funds!) for a worthy mission.  So imagine our excitement when he let us know, he wanted the Chicago Public Library Foundation to be their inaugural charity.

So How Does It Work?

Sweet reached out to Chicago photographers he admired and pitched them the idea of creating a photography project formed in the spirit of philanthropy.  The idea took off.  Each of the participating photographers donates a shot to the Collective; then through live gallery events and online purchases, profits are donated to the Collective’s selected organization.

Why the Chicago Public Library Foundation?

Like many philanthropists that care about a cause, Sweet had a personal tie – but it was a visit to YOUmedia that made him pause.  “As soon as I walked into the YOUmedia space, I knew,” he said.  “Having public access to mentors, technology, art and books? What a great resource for young creatives.”  While YOUmedia may have been the eye-opener that first interested him in the Library Foundation as a partner, the more he learned about our Library system, the clearer it was that we had to be their first pick. “Libraries have become resources beyond books,” he explained.  “And that’s something worth sharing.”

What’s Next For The Shot Collective?

After a successful gallery event benefiting Chicago Public Library and the Chicago Public Library Foundation, The Shot Collective is already setting up their next gallery pop-up. On the future of the organization, Sweet shares “I’d love to explore more creative ways to engage the local photography community around giving back. Brand partnerships, unique venues for gallery events and evolving artist contributions will accomplish that.”
Before ending the interview, we asked Sweet why he thought artists and philanthropists had a natural bond.  Without hesitation, he explained “For the most part, artists don’t earn much money but they’re passionate about what they do and want to share it with the world.  I think that it’s the same with philanthropy.  You want to share something for the greater good.”
To see The Shot Collective’s upcoming events around the city, and their amazing work that supports the Chicago Public Library Foundation check them out here. Donations that fund innovative learning programs at Chicago Public Library can be made here.