Civic Consulting Alliance:  Smart work.  Great city.  

FY 2014




Becoming a Chicagoan 

Claudia Sulkowski


Senior Consultant,

Deloitte Consulting


Traveling so much for my job, I didn't always feel connected to Chicago. But during my six-month externship at Civic Consulting Alliance, I got to know my city a lot better while working with senior public sector executives to help residents access healthcare.


It was exciting to work on healthcare projects on the ground as the Affordable Care Act rolls out. My favorite was a project with community health clinics in Austin and Cottage Grove. The $1.5 billion public hospital system that runs these clinics is investing in community-based care, incentivized by the Affordable Care Act. My job was to figure out how the clinics would listen to their customers and respond


I had only been in the neighborhoods for a few weeks when I got invited to health fairs, church gatherings, even block club meetings. The people I talked to were eager to share their stories and wanted me to truly understand their circumstances. Using skills I honed at Deloitte, I translated what I learned into strategies for serving customers. 


I presented my recommendations at regular meetings with Cook County Health and Hospitals System's senior leaders, including their CEO. My work has had impact already: for example, the Austin clinic is introducing diabetes education and will offer mental health services starting next month. As I return to Deloitte, I know I have strengthened my ability to dive into a complex problem and communicate with senior executives. And I am, now more than ever, a Chicagoan.


At a library where Claudia conducted interviews


For more information on externship opportunities with Civic Consulting Alliance, please contact Shruti Jayaraman.


The power of parks  

What is a park worth? Today the Chicago Park District can answer that question, thanks to a first-of-its-kind study made possible by Civic Consulting Alliance's unique partnership. Global Economics Group and Roland Berger Strategy Consultants measured the impact of Chicago's parks and made recommendations to further benefit Chicagoans, with communications support from Zeno Group


More than just a nice place for a walk - Chicago's parks benefit our residents in many ways


As might be expected from one of the largest parks systems in the United States, the Chicago Park District's 585 parks have an impressive impact: 

  • Major events, tourism, museums, and harbors in parks generate $1.3 billion in annual economic impact
  • Residences within two blocks of parks (43% of homes) are 1.5% more valuable than a control group.  

This project will allow the Park District to focus investments in building new parks and enhancing existing parks, increasing quality of life for Chicagoans. It will also spur investment by private and public grantmakers by quantifying the impact of new and improved parks. 


"Working on a first-of-its-kind study for Chicago's world-class Park District was intellectually exciting, and quantitatively reinforced the benefits we knew from experience that the Park District was delivering to the residents of Chicago" said Chad Coffman, President at Global Economics Group.


"This project was an excellent opportunity to put a tangible value on Chicago's park assets, unmatched by any city, which we all enjoy every day" added Antonio Benecchi, Partner at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants. 


For more information on the impact of our parks, please contact Liz Coon.


Calling civic leaders!  

Local governments and nonprofits in urban areas often have two things in common: tackling difficult social issues and doing so with limited resources, including time to invest in developing leaders. The new Civic Leadership Academy program at the University of Chicago, developed in partnership with LISC Chicago and Civic Consulting Alliance, will strengthen capacity within governments and nonprofits by bringing together emerging leaders from both sectors to learn critical skills. 


Over the course of six months, Academy fellows will learn to think broadly, rigorously, and practically through coursework designed around cutting-edge approaches to common challenges faced by public and non-profit leaders and hands-on coaching on managing an important project for their organization. Participants will benefit from cross-sector collaboration and distinguished guest lecturers offered through multiple colleges and institutions at the University of Chicago.   


"Collaboration among civic leaders is essential to advancing new solutions to support a vibrant, innovative, and dynamic city" said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  


Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle added, "By providing these up-and-comers with a forum for gaining new knowledge, insights and skills, the Civic Leadership Academy will help them deepen their impact in the communities we serve." 


For more information about the Civic Leadership Academy, click here or contact Joanie Friedman. Applications are due November 15.


For more information about our work to develop civic leaders, please contact Shruti Jayaraman.


In other news...

  • A revitalization of the manufacturing industry is underway in Cook County. The Boston Consulting Group, in partnership with Civic Consulting Alliance, created a manufacturing strategy and implementation plan, which will coordinate seven adjacent counties to grow regional manufacturing. The initiative could create up to 15,000 new jobs and $3 billion in economic impact by 2024. Click here to read Board President Preckwinkle's article describing the initiative.
  • Students, parents, and jobseekers across the city will benefit from increased access to vital internet and computer resources, thanks to the efforts of Chicago Public Libraries leadership. This summer, Civic Consulting Alliance and The Greatest Good analyzed Chicago Public Libraries' extensive technology availability and usage data and provided recommendations to increase laptop usage, allocate technology resources effectively, and set technology policies that will increase patron usage and satisfaction.
  • Civic Consulting Alliance CEO Brian Fabes and Chicago Mayor's Office Deputy Chief of Staff for Education Arnie Rivera recently wrote a blog post on how our work in education is changing youths' lives, published on Microsoft's website. Click here to view the post.

Questions? Comments? Interested in writing a guest article? Please email Wally Hilke with any newsletter feedback.