Black Chicago Tomorrow: a framework for neighborhood revitalization

Pro Bono Partners

A.T. Kearney

Black Chicago Tomorrow: a framework for neighborhood revitalization

In 2016, Sam Scott, retired chairman and CEO of Ingredion Inc., called on Chicago's business community to help set a new course for Chicago's African American community. Scott argued that Chicago's business community could work with the African American community to define and support a strategy to address neighborhood-level challenges and community-wide barriers. This partnership, he argued, would lift up both the African American community and Chicago overall.

This idea led to the recent launch of Black Chicago Tomorrow (BCT). BCT aims to revitalize the African American community through place-based and community-wide initiatives that will drive better coordination of resources and ensure that community voices are heard. The goal, according to Executive Director Danielle Harbison, is to "make all of Chicago more inclusive so that everyone can benefit from what the city offers and the city can benefit from the talent and ingenuity of all of its residents." With support from pro bono partner A.T. Kearney, Civic Consulting Alliance created a model for neighborhood vitality that included six pathways: Economic Opportunity, Safety and Justice, Education, Public Health, Family Strength, and Community Development. The team then developed an approach to match needs voiced by community members, based on the six pathways, with the resources and expertise of partner corporations and universities. Central to this approach is a focus on initiatives that build off existing neighborhood assets and leadership. BCT is now launching pilot initiatives in several neighborhoods. Additionally, the team is collaborating with private and public sector partners to address issues affecting the entire African American community.

When Scott first developed the idea of BCT, Harbison was an Associate Principal with Civic Consulting. Over a nine-month period, she led a CCA team through the initial development of BCT's strategy and goals, after which she joined BCT as the founding Executive Director. Civic Consulting, according to Harbison, provided the opportunity to incubate and test BCT's vision: "At Civic Consulting Alliance, I learned how to look across Chicago and find opportunities to bridge connections across sectors. These experiences will be critical to BCT's success."

For more information on this project please contact Antonio Benecchi.

I am grateful for the support that Civic Consulting Alliance and its partners have provided to help make our transition a success.

Danielle Harbison

Executive Director, Black Chicago Tomorrow