FY 2015
YTD totals



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Banking on Chicago 

Jarrett Brotzman

Analyst, The PrivateBank

Teddy Raskin

Analyst, The PrivateBank



As new financial analysts at The PrivateBank in Chicago, we typically don't work closely with top public sector executives to address the city's most pressing needs. Our externship at Civic Consulting Alliance was anything but typical. 

First, using analytic skills honed through PrivateBank training and experience, we supported efforts of the Office of the City Treasurer to save taxpayer dollars by reducing pension costs.

We also supported development of a financial literacy plan to help children and adults across the city manage money. Our work was spotlighted when US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited Chicago and declared it a "Model City" for financial education.
Our externship allowed us to interact with a diverse group of civic leaders, provided us with opportunities to present our ideas to senior public sector executives, and gave us a big role in finding solutions for Chicago. We also developed analytic and presentation skills that we will use for years to come. We return to The PrivateBank as better corporate citizens, and remain inspired by our peers at Civic Consulting Alliance.

-Teddy Raskin and Jarrett Brotzman, The PrivateBank

For more information on externship opportunities with Civic Consulting Alliance, please contact Melanie Halvorson.

Big data meets food safety in public-private analytics collaboration 

Pro bono partners:



Three dozen inspectors from the Chicago Department of Public Health are responsible for inspecting more than 15,000 food establishments across the City. To improve food safety for Chicagoans by increasing the speed at which violations are uncovered, an innovative risk forecasting method was developed by Chicago's advanced analytics team, the Department of Public Health, Civic Consulting Alliance, and Allstate.

Using public data sources and a newly-developed analytics model, the Department of Public Health was able to prioritize food establishments to be inspected. The result: an increase of four percent in the number of critical health code violations identified. 

"This project shows the potential of big data to serve all Chicagoans - keeping us healthier and safer, while increasing the efficiency of city services," said Brenna Berman, Chicago Chief Information Officer. As Chicago's data analytics team continues to innovate, residents can expect to see more public services enhanced through savvy data use.

For more information, please contact Brian Fabes. 


Taking care of business

Pro bono partners


Dykema Gossett PLLC


Jan Nicholson

Local governments spend billions of dollars each year procuring goods and services, but their procurement processes can be complex and time consuming. To simplify and improve the City of Chicago's procurement processes, Civic Consulting Alliance, Jan Nicholson and Dykema Gossett PLLC helped the Chicago Department of Procurement Services to streamline contract forms and identify opportunities across three large departments to deliver payments more rapidly to vendors. 

The changes are expected to decrease costs and improve the quality of city services by increasing competition among vendors for city contracts. Lessons learned are being shared region-wide through coordination with a 60-member group of procurement executives from city, county, state, and federal governments.  



As Chicago helps all vendors-especially small and medium-sized businesses-to do business with the City, its procurement costs are expected to decrease. Says Chicago's chief procurement officer Jamie Rhee, "Our partnership with CCA accelerated our progress in streamlining regional procurement beyond what would have been possible on our own. This work will produce savings and more equitable processes, which will have a positive impact on our region for the years to come."

For more information, please contact Liz Coon.


In other news...

  • Nearly three-fourths of individuals in Cook County Jail have been arrested for nonviolent crimes. Many could be safely released but remain in detention because they can't afford to post bond. Last month, personal recognizance bonds, which do not require the defendant to post a monetary bond, accounted for 41 percent of all Cook County Central Bond Court orders, double the level in 2013. This increase was achieved as a result of systemwide efforts to reduce the jail population by the Illinois Supreme Court, the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, and Cook Country criminal justice stakeholders. Pro bono partners A.T. Kearney and Mayer Brown have supported work to reduce the jail population.
  • Students at four south side selective enrollment high schools (Brooks, King, Lindblom, and South Shore International) achieve ACT scores 2.5 points higher than the district's average. Nevertheless, these schools are often overlooked by parents and students. Civic Consulting Alliance and partner Towers Watson helped principals at these schools develop a marketing plan to enroll more students. With help from the new plan, more families will find the right high school for their children, allowing more Chicago students to succeed in college and careers. For more information, please contact Melanie Halvorson. 
  • The Chicago Forum on Global Cities kicks off on May 27th. This three-day conference brings together global city and civic leaders to discuss the future of cities, and has engaged Civic Consulting Alliance as a knowledge partner. The forum's recently announced list of speakers, including mayors, CEOs, academics, and architects, can be found here.

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