Civic Consulting Alliance:  Smart work.  Great city.  

FY 2013 totals






Dear Friends and Colleagues,  


Since 2006, our unique partnership has invested, collectively, more than $100 million of pro bono services in the things that matter most in the Chicago region. Together, we are reshaping how Chicagoland works.


Our 2012-2013 Scorecard, which was just completed, highlights progress over the past fiscal year.  During that year, 79 partners provided pro bono support to 124 cross-sector projects.  More than 500 people - including 44 Commercial Club members - from all sectors were involved in these projects, which led to results such as:

  • Wait times at Cook County Health and Hospitals System's largest clinic cut 25%
  • Violent crime arrests among One Summer Chicago Plus participants reduced by 51%
  • 46.2 million tourists - the most on record - visited Chicago 
  • Every Chicago Public Schools principal evaluated for the first time ever 

The impact of our work together extends beyond these projects.  Those who work on our teams rise up in their organizations, and those who work on our staff move on to become leaders across Chicago's civic landscape. This year's notable transitions include Gillian Darlow, new CEO of the Polk Bros. Foundation; Tom McKone, new Vice President of Budget, Management, and Capital Finance at the Chicago Transit Authority; and Lydia Murray, new CIO of Cook County.  In addition, our younger alumni have found placement at Harvard Business School, Chicago Booth School of Business, and MIT Sloan School of Management, among others.   


Thank you for another great year of partnership and impact.




Brian Fabes

CEO, Civic Consulting Alliance 


City launches ambitious tech plan

Pro bono partners:

Digitas, LBi


The Private Bank

Earlier this month, Mayor Rahm Emanuel unveiled The City of Chicago Technology Plan, a first-of-its kind roadmap to guide and sustain Chicago's growth in technological innovation. The Plan highlights 28 initiatives, driving impact in 7 key areas, within the 5 broad strategies that aim to extend digital access and engagement across the city and make Chicago a tech destination of choice.


"This is a plan for job creation, for more engaged residents and, ultimately, for a more dynamic, livable Chicago," said Chicago's Chief Technology Officer John Tolva.



Under the direction of Tolva and Brenna Berman, Chicago's Chief Information Officer, Civic Consulting Alliance helped craft this plan that reflects input from numerous leaders, including 50 private- and public-sector experts who shared their insights in the benchmarking stage.  


KPMG and The Private Bank provided Civic Fellows who helped push the plan toward completion. Digitas, LBi, the digitally-integrated brand agency, in its first partnership with Civic Consulting Alliance, provided countless hours and expertise to ensure that the finished product was impeccably and creatively designed. Digitas also created an easily navigable web-based version of the Plan.  


For more information please contact Rose Fealy



The Daily Whale: Tolva highlights mayor's tech plan; many projects already in the works



Chicago on track to reach 2020 tourism goals

Pro bono partners:

A.T. Kearney

Adam Helman

The Boston Consulting Group

Griffin Strategic Advisers

Jones Day

Suzanne Campion

Chicago has made great strides towards its goals of attracting 50 million visitors by 2020. Total visitation (domestic and international) in 2012 set a record high of 46.37 million, two-thirds of the way towards the City's goal. In addition, Chicago welcomed a record 1.369 million overseas visitors, a gain of 14.2% over 2011, making Chicago the 9th most visited U.S. city by overseas tourists in 2012. Since 2010, Chicago tourism-related employment has increased 6.4%, adding 8,000 tourism-related jobs.



Over the last seven years, Civic Consulting and ten pro bono partners have worked with the City to increase tourism. After benchmarking tourism entity best practices, guiding the joining of disparate organizations to form Choose Chicago, and working with the Mayor's Office to set ambitious goals for 2020, the Civic Consulting partnership has worked closely with Choose to meet the City's goals. "Our partnership with the team at Civic Consulting has delivered tremendous results," said Don Welsh, Choose Chicago CEO. "Civic Consulting has been instrumental in guiding the process that ultimately led to the creation of Choose Chicago - a single entity that markets Chicago as both a business and leisure travel destination."


Civic Consulting is currently working with Choose Chicago to develop a positioning strategy for attracting more cultural tourists, one of the most valuable visitor segments. "This work will be critical to Choose Chicago's goal of attracting 50 million visitors by 2020," said Melissa Cherry, Choose Chicago Vice President for Cultural Tourism and Neighborhoods. This current work builds on analyses completed by Bain several years ago, as well as work by BCG, Griffin Strategic Advisors, Jones Day, and McKinsey over the last two years.


For more information contact Liz Coon.  



Crain's Chicago Business: Chicago hotels hit near-record occupancy 


Chicago Tribune: Chicago draws near record 46M tourists in 2012 


The Illinois Shared Learning Environment aims to enrich the lives of 500,000 students

Pro bono partners:


The Illinois Shared Learning Environment (ISLE) is a unique platform to empower educators with data and tools that will personalize learning for students pre-K through career. Over the next two years Illinois aims to roll out the platform to more than 500,000 educators and learners across the state.


Over the last year, Civic Consulting Alliance and pro bono partners KPMG, BMO Harris, Integralis, and DLA Piper teamed up with the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to establish and lead a Program Management Office, develop a communication strategy and write a business plan to support ISLE's launch.



"From its inception the Illinois Shared Learning Environment has been a very complex initiative requiring careful coordination across a diverse range of stakeholders in order to deliver cutting edge technology to educators and students," states Brandon Williams, Director of Performance Data and Accountability at the Illinois State Board of Education. "Civic Consulting Alliance has been invaluable in bringing the industry expertise, program structure, and an objective vantage point necessary to make such a project successful."


For more information on Civic Consulting Alliance's work with ISLE, please contact Rose Fealy.


Arrest rate for violent crime cut in half:  the result of a six-week summer program

Pro bono partners:


A new summer program targeting youth at the greatest risk of violence has reduced their arrest rate for violent crime by 51%. The program, One Summer Chicago PLUS, was developed by the City and County with the support of Civic Consulting Alliance.


In an unprecedented City-County collaboration, Mayor Emanuel and President Preckwinkle announced One Summer Chicago in 2011, the first coordinated regional programming for youth. Civic Consulting, with the pro bono support from a Bain extern, aided the program development by coordinating activities in six communities.


The following summer, Civic Consulting worked with the City and the University of Chicago Crime Lab to target the program to the youth most likely to be affected by violence: youth involved with the criminal justice system and those who had dropped out of school.  


Through One Summer Chicago, program participants learn to build strong social and emotional connections with peers and authority figures.  A full school year later they are half as likely as peers to be arrested for a violent crime.


Targeted youth programs are a key strategy of the City-County violence reduction strategy, which was developed by Civic Consulting with the pro bono support of 14 partners. To expand this approach, the Mayor asked Allstate CEO Tom Wilson and Loop Capital CEO Jim Reynolds to chair "Get In Chicago" and raise $50 million from private donors. The effort, which encourages all Chicagoans to "Get In" and join the effort to reduce youth violence, will invest in programs targeted towards providing positive alternative to at-risk youth.


For more information contact Alexander Shermansong or



Chicago Sun Times: The Special Sauce for Preventing Youth Violence



In other Civic Consulting news...  


Join us for a national spotlight on Civic Consulting


Civic Consulting Alliance and The University of Chicago will co-host a symposium on cross-sector partnerships and urban innovation.  Our pro bono partners and government clients will be highlighted in a case study of violence reduction work.  A White House guest speaker will discuss the national implications of our partnership. Save the date Thursday, November 21st, 12.00 - 5.00 PM.  For more information, contact Alexander Shermansong.



DCASE completes strategic plan  


Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) recently completed its first-ever strategic plan, which will guide DCASE in achieving its mission to enrich Chicago's artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. "Civic Consulting has been our valued partner in developing a new multi-year strategic plan," said Michelle T. Boone, Commissioner of DCASE. "The Strategic Plan identifies our core values and guiding principles to best serve Chicago's arts community - and articulates a new mission statement, with defined goals and outcomes that align with and help advance Mayor Emanuel's vision for Chicago."   



City Colleges of Chicago implements strong financial management


Civic Consulting and nine pro bono partners have worked with the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) on a reinvention, the nation's most comprehensive transformation of a community college system.  CCC recently released its 2014 budget, which both reduces unrestricted operating expenses and plans for the future by setting aside funds for pension payments.  In the words of the Civic Federation, CCC is demonstrating "commendable fiscal restraint and a commitment to implementing strong financial management practices" as it moves forward in the budgeting process.  



Accenture identifies data analytics projects to improve City services


We've all heard Big Data will revolutionize business and technology.  But how can data analytics be applied to the City of Chicago's data-rich operations to drive efficiency and improve services for residents? Accenture recently identified a series of high-value projects to bring data analytics to bear on solving operational problems in the Departments of Transportation, Water Management, and Innovation & Technology.  Accenture's analysis will help the City improve its data acquisition and management processes, communicate more effectively with residents and other City departments, and tighten its work coordination with non-governmental organizations.



Cultural assets inventory and strategy presented


As part of its efforts to help Chicago meet and exceed its goal of 50 million visitors by 2020, Civic Consulting is working with Choose Chicago to develop a cultural asset inventory and create a strategy to drive cultural tourism - one of the most valuable visitor segments. In July, the team presented initial project findings at the Art Institute to more than 175 local leaders in the arts, culture, and tourism - Choose Chicago's largest educational and networking event yet. Attendees were eager to learn about project findings to-date, and expressed enthusiasm for using final recommendations, which are expected to be complete at the end of fall 2013.  



City releases RFP to revitalize underused spaces  


Civic Consulting Alliance, with the pro bono support of Baker & McKenzie and Jones Lang LaSalle, developed a framework to revitalize and maintain over 50 public plazas-blighted, underused spaces that have the potential to fuel cultural and economic growth. This month, the Department of Transportation released a Request for Proposal (RFP) seeking an independent partner who will marshal the financial, cultural, and intellectual resources needed to transform these spaces.