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Nonprofit Inspires Table Talk


From Our Neighborhood News, Winter 2019 . 

What does it mean to have freedom? How does social class affect our identity? What does it mean to be good? Discussions around such universal topics regularly take place in Evanston over meals, thanks to local nonprofit Across the Table.

Founded by Lauren Grossman in 2008, Across the Table is a nonprofit that brings together people from different walks of life for discussions over meals in unique spaces. “The idea is to give people the opportunity to visit spaces they’d otherwise never see, learn about them, and go beyond their comfort zone,” Grossman says.

As a Chicago high school teacher, Grossman was often inspired by conversations with students whose backgrounds were different from hers. She wanted to give adults the same opportunity to connect through honest dialogue—which led to ATT.

Last year Northwestern donated campus space in its Black House for an ATT dinner. “It was so interesting and so relevant,” Grossman says of the space. “I loved how there were students hanging around—it’s really fun to absorb the feeling of a space and the community it serves.”

Each dinner includes 10 to 12 guests and includes two seats each at a reduced rate to ensure anyone may participate. At the Northwestern dinner, these tickets were set aside for first-generation and low-income college students.

To learn more about Across the Table, visit