Civic Consulting Alliance:  Smart work.  Great city. 

June 2012 Update

Civic Consulting Alliance invests $15 - $20 million per year in public sector priorities.  We create, embed, and connect pro bono teams of business experts, government leaders, and our own staff to reshape Chicago

Currently, 50 teams are on the ground, and partners have already provided more than $8.8 million in services since the start of the fiscal year. 



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Partner Feature: Andrew Burroughs, IDEO





Civic Consulting Alliance does a great job of connecting the immense talents of the world's leading firms with the urgent needs of the greater Chicago area. For a human-centered design and innovation firm like IDEO, this intersection of big, gnarly urban problem plus potential mass social impact equals an exciting design challenge. Our 60-person Chicago studio has been eager to engage.
Whether it's helping the CTA communicate more effectively with passengers (hire a comedy writer!), strategizing violence-reduction tactics with Cook County, or brainstorming ways for the City of Chicago to share energy data, our designers bring a unique, human-centered voice to the table. We ensure that whatever solutions are implemented, they address real needs of real people.
The beautiful thing is that our partnership is a two-way street. The common cause--coming together to help solve the tough issues that face the urban community, without money in the way--creates a level of trust and respect simply not found in a business-as-usual relationship. A quick scan of any Civic Consulting-convened team reveals a wealth of talented, earnest, and committed people, all working toward the goal of making Chicago a better place to live and work.
This heightened level of trust allows access to a vast network of influencers and doers across the city, opening doors that otherwise might be closed and creating some wonderful learning opportunities along the way. Most of all, the collaboration offers our designers the chance to contribute to efforts that make them truly proud to be a part of this amazing city.

Ethics Reform Report Released




Jones Day

The Chicago Ethics Reform Task Force outlined 34 recommendations for improving the City of Chicago's ethics ordinance in Part I of its report, released in April. 


The Task Force, established in December by Mayor Emanuel, considered improvements to the existing ethics ordinances in three areas: regulation, prevention and education, and investigations and enforcement. In developing its recommendations, the Task Force interviewed more than 60 experts, academics, and local stakeholders.



The Task Force recommended reforms such as: 

  • Strengthening the gift ban
  • Eliminating honoraria
  • Prohibiting elected officials and City employees from receiving or giving loans to lobbyists
  • Adding whistleblower protection for reporting misconduct 
  • Increasing and enforcing penalties for ethics violations 
  • Improving training and education.


Jones Day and Civic Consulting Alliance staffed the work of the Task Force.


"With amazing support from Civic Consulting Alliance and Jones Day, the Task Force embarked on an ambitious agenda," said Cynthia Canary, Chair of the Task Force. "We were clear from the beginning that rewriting the ethics ordinance wasn't enough--we also wanted to make recommendations that would build a positive ethical culture and impact public perceptions about Chicago."


Part II of the report, which will be released later this summer, will focus on lobbying, the responsibilities and roles of the ethics institutions, and specific recommendations for the investigations and enforcement processes.


Read Part I of the report here.


For more information, contact Gillian Darlow.


Chicago Tribune: Emanuel ethics task force work not done


Chicago Sun-Times: Task Force: Whistleblowers should get more protection


Crain's Chicago Business Emanuel task force lays out proposed new ethics rules 


City, County Approve Plan for Workforce Partnership 



Mayer Brown


An ordinance to merge three separate workforce boards and one non-profit into the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership was passed by both the Chicago City Council and the Cook County Board last month.


The Partnership, a non-profit agency, will open on July 2nd, allowing residents to receive training more easily and apply for jobs across the region. Businesses will benefit from consistent practices and access to a larger applicant pool. The merger will also reduce administrative costs, saving $2.2 million that will be redeployed into increased job-assistance and workforce training.



This collaboration, announced in October, was one of the recommendations made last summer by the Joint Committee on City County Collaboration, staffed by Civic Consulting Alliance. Mayer Brown, which helped develop the initial recommendation, has since provided legal support, creating intergovernmental agreements for the merger. Civic Consulting Alliance coordinated the program management office and developed the budget, hiring plan, and role descriptions for the new entity.


"This project has given me an exceptional opportunity to work with City and County decision makers to help shape a workforce development system that will better serve residents and businesses across the region, " said Stephanie Wagner, Associate at Mayer Brown.


For more information, contact Rose Fealy.


Wrap-Around Strategy to Cut Violence Block by Block



Allstate Insurance Company 


Bain & Company 


Burrell Communications 


Frank Gihan 


Ernst & Young LLP 


DLA Piper LLP 


IBM Corporation 


McDonald's Corporation 


McKinsey & Company 




Perkins Coie, LLP 


Sidley Austin LLP 


Trotter Consulting Group LLC


University of Chicago Crime Lab


Xerox Corporation



Police, City services, and community leaders will work together block by block, according to the new Strong Blocks / SAFE Communities wrap-around strategy, announced by Mayor Emanuel.


Historically, the same blocks have continued to be dangerous year after year. Taking back the blocks is a 1-2-3 strategy. First, the Chicago Police will target narcotics and gangs. Second, City services, such as graffiti removal and streetlight repair, will clean up the block. Third, community programs, such as after-school programs and family counseling, will rebuild the area.


In each community in the first wave of Strong Blocks, a steering committee of community members is working with the Police and City to target services and provide wraparound support for each Strong Block.



The strategy was developed as a signature feature of the City-County action plan to reduce violence and stabilize communities. Allstate fellows on loan and Civic Consulting staff are managing the plan pro bono and structuring the comm-unity leadership groups.


"This initiative will help loosen the vice grip of terror that has people living under siege in communities like Englewood," said Minister Johnny Banks Sr., Executive Director of A Knock At Midnight. "Immediate response and intervention will relieve residents of the burdens of the moment and allow community and faith based providers to help strengthen families and restore hope."


For more information, contact Alexander Gail Sherman.


Chicago Sun-Times: Emanuel outlines 'wraparound' strategy to fight crime


WBEZ 91.5: Emanuel literally cleaning drug deal corners Mayor Emanuel announces a wrap-around strategy to fight gangs, guns, and drugs


White House Features Pro Bono Work and Civic Consulting Partners




Architecture 4


Bluestein and Associates LLC


Cannon Design




D2C Ventures


Downtown Partners Chicago


IBM Corporation




Studio V Design, Inc.


Towers Watson



The White House recently hosted 208 leading companies doing pro bono work, including Civic Consulting Alliance and many of our partners.

A new collaboration with A Billion + Change, the national campaign to recognize pro bono work, is helping Civic Consulting's partners gain national recognition for their civic leadership in Chicago.

Across the county, A Billion + Change aims to mobilize billions of dollars of pro bono and skills-based service, transforming how businesses leverage their employees to make a lasting impact on their communities.

Civic Consulting Alliance's model of high impact, broad participation, and rewarding pro bono opportunities received national recognition at the White House forum. Along with IBM and Deloitte, Civic Consulting was recognized for recruiting the most pro bono partners in the country.

"We're looking at Civic Consulting Alliance from Chicago as model," said 
Racquel S. Russell, Deputy Assistant to the President for Urban Affairs and Economic Mobility, to the group. The group also met with Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, and Senator Mark Warner.  

To learn more about how your firm can take the A Billion + Change pledge, visit or contact Alexander Gail Sherman.