Last week, I had the honor to represent Microsoft at the celebration for 28 Fellows of the inaugural cohort of the University of Chicago’s Civic Leadership Academy. The ceremony was a high energy, joyous celebration of the birth of a concept so simple, yet so profound, that we have never really done this before in Chicago. As Deputy Mayor Steve Koch mentioned in his remarks, when this idea was brought to him, he said to himself: “Why didn’t we think of this before”?
The concept is simple: access the incredible resources of the University of Chicago in a cross-collaborative way, and develop curriculum for a group of rising Nonprofit and Government leaders to address the key challenges facing Chicagoland—through dialog, interaction with some of the top academic minds in the country, and ending with a Capstone Project to apply their learnings to real world problems.
Over the course of our discussions on STEM, STEAM and helping Chicago become a true global center of innovation and technology, we have highlighted leaders who are making a difference. We shined the spotlight on teachers during Computer Science Week, on Englewood Rising, on the power of collective impact through Thrive Chicago. Now, through the Civic Leadership Academy, Chicago demonstrates its creativity and support for the next generation of leaders in nonprofits and government. The unique ingredients of this program combine the academic rigor of a Certificate program and a Capstone Project at the University of Chicago with the identification of City, County and nonprofit rising stars who have demonstrated their commitment to Chicagoland and their ability to make a difference. My hat is off to Derek Douglas and the University of Chicago Civic Engagement Team, the Civic Consulting Alliance and LISC Chicago for their foresight and investment in our future. We’re looking forward to great things from the Inaugural cohort and from future cohorts of Chicago’s leaders!
— Shelley Stern Grach
Chicago has been home to many great leaders throughout history. With this rich legacy, it is important for us to invest in current and future leaders and encourage their development. That is why the University of Chicago has partnered with LISC Chicago, the Civic Consulting Alliance, City of Chicago, and Cook County to present the Civic Leadership Academy, a program to help local nonprofit and government leaders develop skills that will contribute to their own organizations and their communities.
The first cohort of the Civic Leadership Academy is composed of 28 Fellows who are already community leaders in their own right, and looking to further their development. Throughout the next six months these men and women, representing communities throughout the city and more than a dozen government agencies, will undergo rigorous training in management, communications, data analytics, and other essential subjects, while working on a personal capstone to solve challenges in their own organizations. Working with University of Chicago faculty and expert industry practitioners, the Fellows will leverage their expertise to provide practical solutions that will improve our city.
The University and Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust provided the seed funding for the Civic Leadership Academy. The University received additional underwriting from JPMorgan Chase, to support the first cohort, as well as a three-year, research-based evaluation of the curriculum to identify impactful components that can be scaled and replicated. Microsoft’s contribution will help us hone our focus on civic technology, teaching the Fellows how to use technology and data to improve their communities.
As an added benefit, Microsoft Chicago’s own Shelley Stern Grach has joined us as a member of our Civic Leadership Academy Advisory Council, comprised of civic, university, and business leaders, which not only helped interview and select fellows, but also has contributed to the development of our curriculum and overall program.
The 2015 Civic Leadership Academy Fellows are:
- Randall K. Blakey, Executive Pastor, LaSalle Street Church, and Executive Director, Near North Unity Program
- Patrick Carey, Special Assistant, Governmental and Legislative Affairs, Office of the President, Cook County Government
- Yesenia Cervantes, Director of the Center for Working Families, Instituto del Progreso Latino
- Jason Coleman, Co-Founder/Executive Director, Project SYNCERE
- Brendan Daley, Director of Strategy and Sustainability, Chicago Park District
- Matt DeMateo, Executive Director, New Life Centers of Chicagoland
- Jonathan Ernst, Deputy Commissioner of Finance, Department of Family and Support Services, City of Chicago
- Xochitl Flores, Deputy Bureau Chief, Cook County Bureau of Economic Development
- Angela Hurlock, Executive Director, Claretian Associates
- Bilqis Jacobs-El, Director of Facilities Management, Cook County
- Tenisha Jones, Director of Education, Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation
- Lisa Lee, Deputy Chief Attorney, Forest Preserve District of Cook County
- Nina N. Longino, Managing Director, Woodlawn Children’s Promise Community
- David McDermott, First Deputy Commissioner, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, City of Chicago
- Darlene Oliver, Executive Director, Public Allies Chicago
- Andrea C. Ortez, Community Organizer and Program Director, Southwest Organizing Project
- Jessica Pipersburgh, Counsel, Cook County Department of Public Health
- Erendira Rendon, Director of Organizing, The Resurrection Project
- Baronica Y. Roberson, Deputy Commissioner, Chicago Public Library
- James Rudyk Jr., Executive Director, Northwest Side Housing Center
- Monica Schwarm, Special Legal Counsel, Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
- Katherine Shank, Supervisory Attorney, LAF
- Darnell Shields Jr., Director of Operations, Austin Coming Together
- Carrie Spitler, Executive Director, Snow City Arts
- Paul Thompson, Dean of College to Careers, Harold Washington College, City Colleges of Chicago
- Karen VanAusdal, Executive Director, Social and Emotional Learning, Chicago Public Schools
- Robert Desmond White, Vice President of Program Operations, The Cara Program
- Zachary Williams, Director of Information Systems, Office of Emergency Management and Communications, City of Chicago
The Civic Leadership Academy is an initiative of the UChicago Office of Civic Engagement, in partnership with Chicago Harris, the School of Social Service Administration, Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies, Chicago Booth, the University of Chicago Law School, and the Institute of Politics.
Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC) Chicago is a nonprofit community development organization that connects neighborhoods to the resources they need to become stronger and healthier.
The Civic Consulting Alliance builds pro bono teams of experts to develop ways to improve the region’s education, transportation, economic development and health care.
For more information about the Civic Leadership Academy, visit cla.uchicago.edu.
Tags: Andrea C. Ortez, Angela Hurlock, Austin Coming Together, Baronica Y. Roberson, Bilqis Jacobs-El, Brendan Daley, Carrie Spitler, Center for Working Families, Chicago, Chicago Booth, Chicago Community Trust, Chicago Harris, Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Library, Chicago Public Schools, City Colleges of Chicago, City of Chicago, Civic Consulting Alliance, Civic Engagement, Civic Leadership Academy, Civic Tech, Civic Technology, Claretian Associates, Cook County, Cook County Government, Darlene Oliver, Darnell Shields Jr., David McDermott, Derek Douglas, Erendira Rendon, Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies, Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation, Harold Washington College, Instituto del Progreso Latino, James Rudyk Jr., Jason Coleman, Jessica Pipersburgh, Jonathan Ernst, JPMorgan Chase, Karen VanAusdal, Katherine Shank, LAF, LaSalle Street Church, Leadership, Lisa Lee, LISC Chicago, Matt DeMateo, Microsoft, Microsoft Chicago, Monica Schwarm, Near North Unity Program, New Life Centers of Chicagoland, Nina N. Longino, Northwest Side Housing Center, Patrick Carey, Paul Thompson, Project SYNCERE, Public Allies Chicago, Randall K. Blakey, Robert Desmond White, Shelley Stern Grach, Snow City Arts, Southwest Organizing Project, Tenisha Jones, The Cara Program, The Resurrection Project, the School of Social Service Administration, the University of Chicago Law School, University of Chicago, Woodlawn Children’s Promise Community, Xochitl Flores, Yesenia Cervantes, Zachary Williams