Civic Consulting Alliance:  Smart work.  Great city. 

November 2012 Update

Civic Consulting Alliance has invested more than $75 million in the things that matter most in Chicago in the last five years. We create, embed, and connect pro bono teams of business experts, government leaders, and our own staff to reshape the region.

Civic Consulting currently has 46 active projects.



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Partner feature: Thomas Wilson, Allstate


Thomas Wilson
President and CEO,
The Allstate Corporation


Systemic problems require innovative, collaborative solutions. I took particular pride to be a part of the new City-County anti-violence effort dedicated to making Chicago the safest big city in America by 2020. This unprecedented marshaling of resources from across our city brought together 56 civic leaders, 14 pro bono partners and key members of city and county government

Every bullet that kills a child pierces our city and makes us all weaker. A child killed in any neighborhood of Chicago affects us all, and we all have a role to play in ensuring families can thrive, free from the specter of violent crime.

Those of us who are business leaders have a particular responsibility to invest in our communities. We do business in these communities. We live in these communities. So we need to help preserve their basic rights, such as safety.

Business leaders may not be crime fighters, but we have the knowledge and resources to break down complex issues into pieces that can be acted on to produce measurable, important progress. The Community Anti-violence and Restoration Effort (CARE) program is evidence of what we can accomplish with a shared commitment to safe, vibrant neighborhoods. 

It is gratifying to see more than a dozen companies contribute $3.3 million to develop a comprehensive plan to reduce violent crime. However, this work is just beginning, and we must do more. I encourage all members of the business community to join the effort to help our community. Together, we will make Chicago the city that works.

--Thomas Wilson, President and CEO, The Allstate Corporation

The safest big city in America by 2020: Chicago's goal 



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



Become the safest big city in America by 2020: that's the goal that Chicago Mayor Emanuel and Cook County President Preckwinkle set. To reach that goal, they spent 15 months working with Civic Consulting Alliance and civic leaders to create a plan for reducing violence and stabilizing communities.


With leadership from Allstate CEO Thomas J. Wilson, Civic Consulting brought in 14 pro bono partners to invest $3.3 million in developing the plan.


The Mayor and County President unveiled the plan as CARE: Community Anti-violence and Restoration Effort. At the kickoff, the president of the block where the "Strong Block Wraparound" started compared her block to a long-neglected plant: "We are now being nurtured, and we're about to blossom. If we can do it, you can do it--not by ourselves, together."



Central to the plan is data-driven intervention with youth at risk, such as One Summer Chicago and BAM Sports Edition. The Mayor summarized these programs as, "Our kids need to go to school thinking about their studies, not their safety."


Another focus of the CARE plan is efficient systemic response to violent incidents, which the County President highlighted at the launch. To bring this plan to life, the business community provided more than 50 professionals who contributed:

  • Expertise and staff to set up a project management office
  • Analytics and programming to prototype a public dashboard
  • On-the-ground resources to shape and launch community leadership councils
  • Legal and technological skills for inter-agency data sharing
  • Communications strategy.

Reflecting on what's been accomplished to date, an Englewood minister commented, "I have never seen a collaboration of this kind between the community and city."


For more information, contact Alexander Gail Sherman.


Chicago Sun-Times: City, county and area businesses join together to combat violence


Chicago Tribune: Emanuel says anti-crime effort working thanks to help from Chicago business, community leaders


WBEZ: Community members react to new anti-violence initiative


Chicago Public Schools reforms labor contracts 

The new contract between Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the Chicago Teachers Union puts in place reforms such as more classroom time for students, a new teacher evaluation system, revamped steps and lane compensation system, and layoffs based on performance rather than seniority.


In December, CPS began the task of negotiating seven different labor contracts, each containing hundreds of distinct negotiation items and progressive reforms. Civic Consulting Alliance was brought on in January to provide project management assistance and strategic support for all seven negotiations. With Civic Consulting's help, CPS dissected the contracts into workstreams and developed analyses to support the CPS Negotiation Team's proposals.



Jenny Song, on loan from Bain & Company, provided analysis during the critical initial planning stage. Her strategic analysis laid the groundwork for the healthcare and sick leave proposals that were ultimately accepted by all seven unions. 


"Civic Consulting played an instrumental role as a project manager and strategic thought partner during our labor negotiations process," said Tim Cawley, Chief Operating Officer at CPS. "Their support was crucial to CPS obtaining the most progressive Chicago Teachers Union contract the district has ever seen."


Jenny Song, now a Senior Associate Consultant at Bain & Company, said, "Getting to work on the negotiations was not only a huge learning experience about the makings of policy--it was also a unique opportunity to impact an entire district, and even Chicago history."


For more information, contact Kelly Ruppel.


Chicago Tribune: Chicago schools to add 477 teachers to allow longer day


Chicago Sun-Times: Emanuel: Deal is 'honest compromise'


Becoming a green innovation hub 



The Shaw Group


Studio V Design

The City's new sustainability plan will turn Chicago into a green innovation hub. "There is an opportunity to create quality jobs, improve our neighborhoods, and build a higher quality of life for our residents," said Mayor Emanuel.


Sustainable Chicago 2015, a roadmap for environmental stewardship and economic development, was unveiled at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum to 100 leading environ-mentalists, many of whom had provided guidance during the process.


The roadmap sets 24 specific goals to be reached by 2015 and highlights actions that the City will take to meet its goals. It advances the City's sustainability policies in 7 areas:

  • Economic Development and Job Creation
  • Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy
  • Transportation Options
  • Water and Wastewater
  • Parks, Open Space, and Healthy Food
  • Waste and Recycling
  • Climate Change


The Shaw Group provided environmental expertise and research, guiding the structure, goals, and design of the roadmap. Studio V Design provided graphics and strategic design assistance.  


"This plan will set a new standard for accountability and transparency in government sustainability initiatives," said Bill Abolt, Vice President of The Shaw Group and national practice leader for sustainability, energy, and carbon management. "Working on this leading-edge project with Civic Consulting Alliance provided our team an incredible opportunity to make a difference in their profession and the city in which they live and work."


For more information, contact Connie Kresge.


ABC Chicago: Mayor Emanuel introduces Chicago's environmental roadmap 


NBC Chicago: Emanuel: Economic, environmental goals can be achieved together