Looking Back and Ahead
Our thirty-third year has been a time of change and continuity at Civic Consulting Alliance. What has not changed is our belief that the collaborative work of our talented staff, dedicated civic leaders, and generous pro bono partners is the most promising vehicle to effect meaningful, positive change in the things that matter most to the citizens of Chicagoland. We continue to invest in this model, and we believe passionately in its potential to develop and support high quality education, inclusive economic vitality, dependable public safety, fair application of criminal justice, and development of strong civic leadership.
At the same time, the large scale challenges facing our region and the needs of its citizens are evolving. Those changes create new opportunities and responsibilities for us. This year we focused anew on hearing the voices of Chicago’s many varied communities in our projects. We expanded our “traditional” client base to work with a greater range of leaders driving change, increasing tackling longer-term projects that crossed over several of our platform areas. Some highlights of this approach were:
- Supporting Rush University Medical Center and partner anchor institutions in establishing the innovative West Side Total Health Collaborative. This effort seeks to improve health and wellness outcomes for the West Side’s 400,000+ residents by developing strategies for equitable, inclusive and sustainable community development.
- Assisting with the incubation of Black Chicago Tomorrow (BCT). BCT developed a model for neighborhood vitality, and with significant community and private sector engagement, offers a framework for addressing challenges in Chicago’s African American communities.
The scourge of violence in our city led us to pursue an expanded range of public safety and criminal justice initiatives. These projects built on our role in the development of the 2016 Police Accountability Task Force report. Ongoing work includes:
- Supporting the expansion of Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities. This coalition of philanthropic organizations, in partnership with community, public and private sectors, funds targeted intervention and support initiatives that reduce gun violence.
- Providing project management oversight for the establishment of the new Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA). COPA will replace the Independent Police Review Authority with the goal of restoring community trust in the City’s capacity to conduct fair and thorough investigations of police misconduct allegations.
- Supporting the Chicago Police Department’s implementation of changes outlined in its “Next Steps for Reform.” Our work included change management guidance and development of a comprehensive plan for in-service training enhancements.
- Supporting the development of a transition plan for the newly-elected Cook County State’s Attorney. Our work helped SA Kim Foxx turn her campaign platform into an action plan to improve public safety for all Cook County residents while also bringing greater accountability and to her office.
This report highlights a list of our accomplishments over the past year. The positive changes that we see for our clients and the citizens they serve are credit to all parties involved: the clients who trust us to help with their most challenging issues, the business leaders who respond with alacrity to our requests for pro bono support, the funders who see and invest in the potential of our operating model, and our own staff and Board. Civic Consulting Alliance has always had its greatest impact when working collaboratively.
A final thing that will never change is the deep gratitude I have for the chance to work with so many people who genuinely want to change the world for the better. In a landscape that can seem chaotic and contentious, our work is uniquely motivating to me and, I hope, to many of you.