March 2020 Newsletter
Dear partners, clients, funders, and colleagues,
Next Monday, Rebekah Scheinfeld will assume the role of President and CEO of Civic Consulting Alliance. I could not be more thrilled for Civic Consulting Alliance and for Chicago. Rebekah brings an incredible background to our partnership. As strong as we are today, I am confident that she will guide CCA in new, even more impactful directions.

As I reflect on nearly 15 years at CCA, one emotion overrides all else: gratitude. It is hard to express how grateful I am to our partners, clients, staff, funders, and everyone who has been part this decade-and-a-half journey.
If you are reading this newsletter, somewhere along the way you trusted us with your time, your talent, your funds, your priorities, and/or your good name. You turned Civic Consulting Alliance into an inspiring example of what working together for common good can be. Thank you!
In 2005, Eden Martin, then President of the Civic Committee, gave me an incredible gift: a 19-year-old organization with a stunning Board and storied history, with 2 employees and a remarkable mandate: “Do what you want and let me know how I can help.” Early on, the team came up with one core idea:  pro bono projects might be our unit of work, but our goal should be societal change, which meant we would work on big issues over time, bringing in the right partners at the right time to create true transformation. The idea worked - better than I think we imagined - because of the extraordinary commitment of Chicago’s business community to the region. Given an audacious goal and a credible path to achieving that goal, I have seen time and again competitors jump in, willing to play in the same sandbox, to achieve what no one firm or one sector can on its own, for the betterment of the entire region. 
Along the way, I have learned countless lessons, but one strikes me as worth sharing in today's context: we need effective, legitimate government institutions. Civic Consulting Alliance began as a project to reduce costs for the City of Chicago, and saving money is a good thing. There is never an excuse for waste. But we should not lose sight of the fact that cost savings are only a means to a larger goal: legitimate, effective public institutions. 
For a free enterprise system to work, we need courts to uphold contracts. We need a criminal justice system that is just. We need transportation infrastructure to move goods and people, and we need a public education system that provides a skilled workforce to run our firms. We need an assessor to accurately and fairly determine how taxes will be distributed, and more. If government cannot perform these (and other) functions effectively, free enterprise will wither. While we need to stay vigilant about costs, I hope we focus as much on the need to create effective, legitimate public institutions.
As Rebekah takes the helm, Civic Consulting Alliance has never been stronger. The past year was another high-mark. We assembled a diverse, cross-sector collaboration that helped Chicago’s new Mayor take office and hit the ground running. In the intervening ten months, we and our partners have helped the new administration set up the Mayor's Office of Violence Reduction, developed new economic growth priorities with the Deputy Mayor for Economic and Neighborhood Development, collaborated with the Deputy Mayor for Education and Human Services to affirm a vision and approach for achieving Universal Pre-Kindergarten education across Chicago, and more.
At the same time, we have continued our commitment to meaningful reform alongside leaders of the region's most important agencies, such as the Chicago Police Department, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, Chicago Public Schools, Cook County State's Attorney, the Cook County Assessor, Cook County President, and the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development. And our team and  pro bono  partners continue to make significant investments in innovative collaboratives, including  West Side United , which aims to reduce the 16-year gap in life expectancy between Chicago's West Side and the Loop, and the  Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities , which aims to reduce gun violence and increase police legitimacy in the communities most affected by gun violence.
The mission of the Civic Consulting Alliance is to make the Chicago region a great place for everyone to live in and work. With your help, we have made real progress towards that goal. With the great partnerships that are characteristic of our city, the outstanding civic commitment that each of you represents, and Rebekah’s outstanding leadership, I am confident that soon Chicago will be recognized as the best place to live and work - for everyone. 
Returning to where I started, it is hard to express the gratitude I feel for each of you. Thank you for your partnership and for sharing our commitment to Chicago. I could not be more proud of our past together, nor more excited to work with you in new ways in the future.

  • Civic Consulting Alliance is honored to be receiving Leadership Greater Chicago's 2020 Civic Catalyst Award at its annual Celebrate Leaders event on April 2.

  • Civic Consulting Alliance was honored to be nominated by Rush University Medical System for its 2019-2020 J. Robert Clapp, Jr. Diversity Leadership Award, in recognition of our work on Rush's Anchor Mission Strategy.
Questions? Comments? Contact Marie Akerman