Civic Consulting Alliance’s mission is to make the Chicago region a great place for everyone to live in and work. We combine incomparable professional resources with committed leaders to provide better educational opportunities, safer streets, a fairer criminal justice system, and an economy that works for everyone.
I am excited to share our 2018 Impact Report, a retrospective on a year of ambitious new commitments and exciting developments from the Civic Consulting Alliance. I am also proud to present this year’s Report in our new, digital format.
Public-private collaboration has been at the heart of our model since the Civic Consulting Alliance’s founding in 1985, and this year we took collaboration to a new level. We discovered new ways to scale initiatives and empower stakeholders through West Side United (WSU), the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities (PSPC), and the Violence Reduction Working Group (VRWG). This report summarizes some early success of these and other initiatives across our four Platforms: Education; Economic Vitality; Public Safety and Criminal Justice; and Civic Leadership.
In the 2017-2018 fiscal year (July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018), we continued to invest significant resources in working with our traditional client base—the agencies of City and County government. Here, too, we have pushed ourselves to be creative as we seek the greatest possible impact.
For example, through a series of projects with the Chicago Police Department, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, the Cook County State’s Attorney, and the Circuit Court of Cook County, we have made essential contributions to the region’s critical decision makers on public safety and criminal justice.
We entered this practice area as Chicago’s gun violence crisis was spiking in 2016, and while no amount of violence in our City and region should be considered acceptable,
we are heartened to see some positive trends, and more importantly, the thousands of people working across our communities every day to create the conditions for safety and peace.
Our work this year with the Cook County Assessor’s Office is another example of the flexible power of Civic Consulting Alliance’s model. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle called on our team to provide a neutral, outside, and public analysis of the residential real estate assessment practices in Cook County. Our report to President Preckwinkle and the Assessor demonstrated significant inequity-wealth transfer from owners of lower-value homes to those of higher-value homes—within the current residential assessment system. Our work went on to recommend specific changes to increase equity, accuracy, and transparency. In collaboration with the incumbent Assessor, and we hope with the future Assessor, we have already begun to see some of our recommendations enacted.
As ever, much remains to be done. Thank you for your continued support, which makes all of our work possible.
Brian Fabes, Chief Executive Officer
Civic Consulting Alliance
Since 2006, Civic Consulting Alliance and our partners have invested more than $160 million in the things that matter the most in the region, like education, public health and safety, economic vitality, and civic leadership. Our work is focused in four platform areas, for which we track the indicators of success that we believe will lead to our mission of creating a great region for everyone to live in and work.
The future of Chicago is inextricably linked to our youth and the success of our schools. Education prepares our workforce, strengthens families and communities, and brings intellectual vitality to everything we do. Our ability to prepare all of our youth for the future says a lot about who we are and what we want our future to look like. Our vision in Education is to create an education system that provides equitable access to living-wage career paths for all students and enables growth of an economy that works for everyone.
In the area of Education, Civic Consulting Alliance focuses on:
- Implementing and testing new models in primary, secondary, and tertiary education.
- Developing a cohesive system to support student achievement both in and out of school.
- Producing scalable impact to improve the educational outcomes for large numbers of students.
As technology continues to evolve, computational thinking will be a necessary skill for an increasing number of jobs of the future. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates 1.1 million computing-related job openings by 2024. With African American and Latino students currently representing just 8 and 9 percent of computer science college graduates, respectively, Chicago has a terrific opportunity to tap human talent that has been for too long left behind, and begin to create the nation’s first inclusive technology economy. Doing so must start in the public schools.
2018 Education Snapshot
Public Safety & Criminal Justice
In recent years, shootings and murders in Chicago have painted a picture of a city that is not providing for the safety of its residents. Too many in our region do not feel safe in their neighborhoods and feel that they have an adversarial relationship with law enforcement. Moreover, personal experiences and statistical trends paint a troubling picture of how law enforcement is applied unequally across racial lines.
Our vision for Public Safety & Criminal Justice is to ensure that residents and police are safe and justice is applied consistently across communities. In our Public Safety and Criminal Justice Platform, Civic Consulting Alliance focuses on:
Reducing gun violence by intervening with those most at risk of being victims or perpetrators of gun violence.
Improving coordination between government agencies, community groups, non-profits, foundations, faith-based organizations, and residents to reduce violent crime.
Improving the fractured relationship between public safety and criminal justice officers and the communities that they serve.
Reducing incarceration of those who are accused but not convicted of non-violent crimes.
Improving the effectiveness of the State’s Attorney’s Office by more effectively prosecuting those accused of the most serious crimes and pursuing alternatives to incarceration through diversion programs and specialty courts for those who need support and services more than jail time.
2018 Public Safety & Criminal Justice Snapshot
Civic Consulting Alliance is committed to increasing the vitality of our region and reducing disparity between neighborhoods by working across the three pillars of a vibrant, inclusive economy: growth, prosperity, and inclusion. Our vision in Economic Vitality is to grow an economy that works for everyone while reducing inequities between communities.
In the area of Economic Vitality, Civic Consulting Alliance focuses on:
- Growth: Supporting economic growth in the region, as a prerequisite for prosperity and inclusion.
- Prosperity: Enabling growth that is powered by the increased productivity of workers and that increases standards of living.
- Inclusion: Ensuring that people in neighborhoods and communities throughout the region have the ability to contribute to and benefit from growth.
Reducing the Health Equity Gap
on the West Side
Life expectancy for those who live in the Loop is 85 years, about the same is in Japan. Six miles away in West Garfield Park, life expectancy drops by 16 years to 69, about the same as in Bangladesh. This single, stark disparity reflects the many challenges and deep inequity faced by almost half a million Chicagoans—a population larger than the city of Cleveland—living on Chicago’s West Side.
2018 Economic Vitality Snapshot
Chicago benefits from a long and distinctive history of extraordinary civic leadership. Our tradition of private sector involvement in the advancement of our region is the envy of other cities.
Today, the context in which civic leadership is exercised is changing. Traditional senior corporate leaders face growing national and global responsibilities, economic growth is increasingly driven by younger, entrepreneurial leaders with high expectations for civic engagement of themselves and their employees, and attitudes and trust in public and private institutions and the leaders of those institutions have deteriorated sharply. Meanwhile, the complexity of the challenges and opportunities we face as a region are increasing, requiring new ways to work across sectoral, functional, racial, and other traditional silos.
This evolving context of leadership and the challenges we face impact all of Civic Consulting Alliance’s work. These forces also provide an opportunity to build a stronger foundation of civic leadership in Chicago, one that enhances the region’s distinctiveness as a place of extraordinary civic engagement, where all sectors and all people play a significant role in the region’s vitality.
Our goal is to create a culture of civic leadership that can address the region’s most difficult challenges—and captures our most exciting opportunities—in a way that brings people together and builds trust in institutions. We have taken important steps already, such as our role in developing the University of Chicago Civic Leadership Academy and placement of our alumni in civic leadership roles in the public and private sectors.
But we can do more, and looking to the future, we have begun to focus on four core building blocks we believe will be critical in building a new culture of civic leadership that Chicago needs to thrive in the decades ahead.
- Building “communities of purpose” across all sectors.
- Working across power structures.
- Supporting personal growth and ownership, challenging their own assumptions, in particular about others they are working with across power structures in communities of purpose.
- Finding ways to work at scale, impacting thousands or tens of thousands of Chicago residents.
Rasmus Lynnerup and Kevin Nigarura
Discuss our Vision and the Civic Leadership Building Blocks