The Civic Leadership Academy is an interdisciplinary leadership development program for emerging and high-potential leaders in nonprofit organizations and local government agencies within the City of Chicago and Cook County.


The Civic Leadership Academy was developed by the University of Chicago Office of Civic Engagement in partnership with LISC Chicago and the Civic Consulting Alliance, with funding from the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, and McCormick Foundation. The program is designed to develop a pipeline of talented leaders to help nonprofits and government agencies thrive.

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Civic Leadership Academy fellows engage in a six-month interdisciplinary leadership development curriculum that includes lectures, case studies, workshops, conversations with civic leaders throughout Chicago, as well as a week-long global practicum in Delhi, India.

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A three-year evaluation of the Civic Leadership Academy, conducted by Outlier Research & Evaluation, found the program has a positive impact on the fellows, their organizations, and a collective network of leaders in Chicago.

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Faculty from all five UChicago professional schools and the College, representing a variety of disciplines, teach in the program alongside civic practitioners.

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Civic Leadership Academy fellows are high potential leaders of nonprofit organizations and government agencies that serve residents and communities across the city of Chicago.

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The Civic Leadership Academy conducts an annual application process. Successful fellows are intellectually curious, reflective, ambitious, innovative, collaborative, and committed to positive change.

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