Civic Consulting Alliance:  Smart work.  Great city.  

FY 2014
YTD totals




Sweet home Chicago!

Pro bono partners:

On April 17, Mayor Emanuel appointed a Task Force to recommend a site for the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum.  Earlier this month, with pro bono support from Civic Consulting Alliance, Downtown Partners Chicago, Classic Color, and Leff Communications, the Task Force made its recommendation for a site: the parking lots south of Soldier Field on Chicago's Museum Campus. This past week it became official that Chicago will be home to the (newly named) Lucas Museum of Narrative Art!


The Museum will be the first attraction of its kind in the world. In addition to housing George Lucas's formidable collection of American art, the LMNA will create a new museum experience, exploring the interplay between education, storytelling, and technology throughout history.


Co-chaired by Gillian Darlow, former Civic Consulting Alliance Principal and current CEO of the Polk Bros. Foundation and Kurt Summers of Grosvenor Capital Management, the Task Force was comprised of 12 civic leaders from the philanthropic, museum, cultural, nonprofit, public and private sectors. In evaluating sites, the Task Force considered four criteria:

  1. Accessibility to everyone - including Chicago's youth, residents, and tourists
  2. Setting and space for a new, iconic structure
  3. Maximizes educational, cultural, and economic opportunities
  4. Requires no taxpayer dollars


Civic Consulting Alliance staff synthesized input from hundreds of stakeholders via interviews, surveys, and a public forum. In total, 57 potential locations were assessed. According to the Task Force, the site is "uniquely compelling. . . It offers a central location, accessible to students, families, residents, and tourists; the potential for an iconic scale structure; a sweeping setting; the potential to increase parkland and green space by moving parking underground; the chance to make new connections to Northerly Island; and a place amid one of the nation's greatest collections of cultural institutions."


"We [the Task Force] would not have been able to do our work or review the tremendous amount of public input we got without the support of Civic Consulting Alliance and the many talented pro bono partners they brought to this effort," said Task Force Co-Chair Gillian Darlow. "We can thank Civic Consulting for the detailed site analysis that helped us identify the perfect location."


Shortly after announcing Chicago as its home, the Museum posted on its website the following:


"The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (LMNA) is honored to be partnering with the city of Chicago and the many cultural, civic and community groups that will work with the Museum. Public outreach and educational programming are central to the mission and public service goals of the Museum. The LMNA will support the stunning innovations of the digital age while emphasizing the same values that distinguish Chicago from other great cities: community involvement, diversity, and a commitment to excellence in art, architecture, and creativity."


For more information, please contact Brian Fabes, or visit  

How 30,000 Chicagoans shaped the future of Chicago Public Libraries


Pro bono partners:

Throughout its 140-year history, the Chicago Public Library (CPL) has demonstrated a remarkable ability to evolve with the changing times and the needs of Chicagoans. Today, at 80 locations across the city, more than two million active cardholders build literacy skills, access the internet, apply for jobs, and learn skills like computer programming.


In support of these efforts, Civic Consulting Alliance collaborated with pro bono partners from Bain & Company and The Greatest Good, to help CPL leadership develop a three-year strategic plan. Starting in December 2013, the team:

  • Interviewed over 100 stakeholders and civic leaders
  • Facilitated discussions with hundreds of library staff
  • Surveyed approximately 30,000 library patrons


The results provided CPL with a strategic vision that encapsulates both the Library's mission to provide high quality access to all patrons and its 21st century priorities of nurturing learning, supporting economic advancement, and strengthening communities. The plan also provided a detailed roadmap for CPL to achieve these priorities and demonstrates new opportunities for CPL, including:

  • Creating new partnerships with organizations throughout the city that will provide high-quality resources to CPL patrons
  • Using patron satisfaction surveys as a benchmark for CPL's continued efforts to provide world-class service

Commissioner Bannon released the plan to the public on June 17th. It will be available for download at


For more information, please contact Dan Reisner.


In other Civic Consulting news...  


One small step for STEM, one giant leap for Chicago's future


By 2018, 447,000 jobs in Cook County will be in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Too many of Chicago's students are not adequately prepared for these jobs.


As the first semester of students taking college-level courses at Chicago's new Early College STEM Schools draws to a close, a significant step to closing this employment gap has been taken. In the years to come, thousands of students will be able to earn Associate's degrees in newly-redesigned IT pathways that will give them access to jobs in STEM fields, employment opportunities that are currently out of their reach. The Early College STEM Schools initiative aligns five neighborhood high schools with the City Colleges of Chicago and five corporate partners: IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, Motorola, and Verizon. The Civic Consulting Alliance provided project management support to Chicago Public Schools and the City Colleges and collaborated with CompTIA to help build curricula, funding models, and work-based learning programs for these schools.


For more information, please contact Brian Battle.


The real power of pro bono


Our partners consistently tell us that pro bono projects provide important professional development opportunities for their top performers. At the same time, little is known analytically that would allow firms to shape their pro bono programs to maximize the benefits desired.


To fill this gap, Civic Consulting Alliance is working with a team of doctoral students, under the guidance of Professor Klaus Weber from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, to understand pro bono's impact on an employee's career trajectory. The Kellogg team will compare professional outcomes across employee segments, distilling insights that Civic Consulting's partners can use to improve the return their employees and their companies gain from making pro bono investments.


For more information, please contact Christian Hines.


Join us as a guest writer

If you've worked with us in the past as a partner or client and would like to share your perspective in an upcoming newsletter, please email Stuart Henige with your idea.