Our primary goal is to improve fellows’ leadership skills within their organizations, so that in turn, their organizations are better able to carry out their missions. The CLA has a secondary goal of building a collaborative network that “breaks down silos” by bringing together fellows across sectors in ways that ultimately will contribute to Chicago’s civic infrastructure.


Outlier Research & Evaluation has now concluded a three-year evaluation examining the impact of the Civic Leadership Academy on its fellows, their organizations, and their networks - See the links below to read the press release and browse the report.

Outlier Report

Cassata, A., Talbot, M.E., & Century, J. (2018). Civic Leadership Academy Final Evaluation Report.
Outlier Research & Evaluation, UChicago STEM Education, University of Chicago.

Sector balance



Topics represented by fellows

  • Education
  • Public Safety
  • Social Service
  • Transportation
  • Arts and Culture
  • Environment
  • Legal
  • Philanthropy
  • Workforce Development
  • Criminal Justice
  • Energy
  • Economic Development
  • Community Development
  • Religious Communities
  • Community Organizing
  • Technology

Geographical reach

Organizations that serve people citywide and organizations that serve specific neighborhoods including: Austin, Little Village, Gage Park, Pullman, Belmont-Cragin, Back of the Yards, Humboldt Park, Logan Square, Brighton Park, Auburn Gresham, Uptown, Englewood, North Lawndale, Greater Grand Crossing, Bridgeport, East Garfield Park, Near West Side, McKinley Park, Pilsen

Chicago neighborhoods

An evaluation of CLA showed that there was a significant increase in professional growth from the beginning to end of the program.

Shared professional resources

Shared professional resources

Professional feedback or advice

Professional feedback or advice

Worked in collaboration

Worked in collaboration

Differences highlight, on average, the change in the number of fellows engaged with for each networking activity.

of fellows agree that since participating in the CLA, their leadership skills have greatly improved (77% said strongly agree or agree and 23% said somewhat agree)

Organizational outcomes

There are at least 10 examples of capstones that had a positive impact on organizations.

There are at least 5 examples of cross-sector collaboration that would not have happened, if not for CLA.