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Pro bono partner feature: Three perspectives on Civic Consulting



Matt Crowl

Partner, Schiff Hardin LLP 



By Matt Crowl, Partner at Schiff Hardin LLP


I've had the opportunity to engage with Civic Consulting in three different ways, giving me three different perspectives on this pro bono model.


First, working for the Mayor's office, I was a client--and Civic Consulting was a godsend. Their work was incredibly valuable because they provided pro bono services without a personal agenda; they brought seasoned talent and worked seamlessly with the City. Civic Consulting never flinched when we talked about getting results quickly.



Then as a private sector partner with Schiff Hardin, I have had the opportunity to provide pro bono services in a targeted way, which has been very satisfying. Schiff also provides regular pro bono legal services representing indigent clients, but I find working with Civic Consulting especially satisfying because of the scale of the work. With a government client, you have the power to affect thousands of lives--the $33 million we saved in the first year of City-County collaboration can be put into public safety and save lives.


I'm also co-Chair of Civic Consulting's Leadership Council, where clients bring problems to workshop with private sector partners, discussing creative, next-level solutions. Partners who aren't even serving on that project pitch in to exchange ideas. It's the most valuable part of the meeting, and everyone can learn new ideas and best practices from multiple sectors.


If you're considering working with Civic Consulting, do. They do an excellent job pairing talent with clients' needs, and there's nothing more rewarding than knowing your hard work has made a difference in public life.  


Pro bono partners:



The Boston Consulting Group


The City Colleges of Chicago recently celebrated the commencement of 4,000 students--its largest graduating class in more than 20 years. This milestone marks an 80% increase since the 2010 launch of Reinvention, the largest and most comprehensive community college reform effort in the nation.


Civic Consulting partners have been working behind the scenes for nearly four years to develop the vision for, design, launch, and support Reinvention.

"All of us at City Colleges are proud of this historic group of college graduates," said Chancellor Cheryl Hyman. "Their achievements prove that putting education first pays off, and offer more evidence that the student-centered reforms we've implemented in recent years are providing a solid pathway to further education and 21st century careers."


To learn more about Civic Consulting Alliance's work with the City Colleges, please contact Brian Fabes.


Mayor highlights 12 pro bono projects in mid-term report

In his midterm report, Mayor Rahm Emanuel highlighted 12 accomplishments in which Civic Consulting and our pro bono partners played a significant role:

  1. City Colleges Reinvention (Partners: AccentureBain & CompanyCDWCI Beyond PeopleKPMG LLPLantern PartnersMcKinsey & Company,  Monitor Deloitte, The Boston Consulting GroupTowers Watson)


  2. Principal Quality Initiative and principal evaluations (Partners: Bain & Company, Ernst & Young LLP)


  3. Dual enrollment opportunities for CPS students at City Colleges (Partner: Bain & Company)

  4. Increase in visitors to Chicago (Partners: The Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey & Company)


  5. Merging workforce boards (Partners: Limerick Advisors LLC, Mayer Brown LLP)


  6. Public Safety Action Committee (Partners: Allstate Insurance CompanyDrinker Biddle & Reath LLPLoop Capital Markets)


  7. One Summer Chicago (Partners: Burrell Communications, University of Chicago Crime Lab)


  8. Ethics Reform Task Force (Partner: Jones Day)


  9. Petty cash and credit card policy (Partners: Navigant Consulting, Inc., Sidley Austin LLP)


  10. TIF reform (Partners: Harvard Business SchoolIce Miller LLPRoss School of Business at the University of Michigan)


  11. Transforming Chicago into a Cultural Capital (builds on past efforts and has led to further projects by Bain & Company, the Kellogg School of Management, and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business


  12. Retrofit Chicago (Partner: Downtown Partners Chicago)

In addition, Monitor Deloitte's work several years ago formed the analytical basis for the move to a grid-based dispatching approach for the Bureau of Forestry, which was also highlighted in the report.

Congratulations to all our partners for being a a part of these crucial efforts over the last two years.


Chicago companies lead the way in environmental sustainability


Pro bono partner:

Chicago-area companies are leading the way in promoting sustainability. A new report, "Building a Sustainable Region," showcases the innovative sustainability efforts of two dozen global companies based in Chicagoland.


The report was a pro bono collaboration between Edelman, Metropolis Strategies, the Clean Energy Trust, Civic Consulting Alliance, the Mayors Green Ribbon Committee and the City of Chicago. The project was led by Adele Simmons from Metropolis Strategies and Heather Loebner from Arcelor Mittal.


"Successful businesses are finding ways to unleash the power of business for commercial success and societal impact," said Lisa Manley, executive vice president at Edelman.  "It is exciting to see Chicago's corporate sector play a leadership role in advancing sustainability in our region."



"The range of work we found and the extent to which these corporations have embedded sustainability within their operations and product was both surprising and impressive," said Adele Simmons. "This report brings together the story of Chicago's corporate sustainability for the first time."


Fueled by the success of this communications initiative, the companies featured in the report are continuing to collaborate on subsequent sustainability-focused projects. 


Want to learn more about sustainable businesses in Chicago? Contact Connie Kresge for more information.