The 30 members of the 2017 Civic Leadership Academy celebrated their graduation on June 16, at the David and Reva Logan Center for the Arts.

The application for the 2018 Civic Leadership Academy is now open. The deadline to apply is October 10, 2017.

Learn more about the program at one of these upcoming events:

Inside Look: Conversation with Alumni
Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative
1456 E. 70th St., Chicago, IL 60637
September 7, 2017
Inside Look: Conversation with Alumni
Garfield Park Conservatory
300 N. Central Park Ave., Chicago, IL 60624
September 12, 2017
Sample Class: What Defines Civic Leadership?
NBC Tower
455 N. Cityfront Plaza Dr., Chicago, IL 60611
September 21, 2017

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. Developed by the University's Office of Civic Engagement, in partnership with LISC Chicago and the Civic Consulting Alliance, the program is designed to develop a pipeline of talented leaders to help nonprofits and government agencies thrive.

Nonprofit organizations and government institutions in urban areas often tackle difficult social issues with limited resources, including time to invest in developing leaders. The Civic Leadership Academy at the University of Chicago is an interdisciplinary certificate program for high-potential government and nonprofit professionals combining academic course work with action skills and a capstone project. The Civic Leadership Academy aims to enhance the capacity of these leaders to perform effectively in their positions and within their organizations, thereby strengthening the communities they serve and the city of Chicago as a whole.

Learn more about the Civic Leadership Academy. Video Link:

The Civic Leadership Academy was developed by the University's 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.


The Civic Leadership Academy is grounded in the leadership development framework conceived by Chicago Booth Professor Harry Davis and Robin Hogarth.

Interdisciplinary Academic Curriculum

The Civic Leadership Academy brings together faculty from the University’s five professional schools and other institutions to teach with expert practitioners.

Project-Based Learning

Academy Fellows have the opportunity to apply the leadership skills they develop to real world situations through a capstone project and global practicum.

Cross-Sector Network

After completing the program, the Fellows become part of a network of alumni who will continue to collaborate for positive social change in Chicago.

Download the Civic Leadership Academy brochure.

View the curriculum.

Download the application questions.

Civic Leadership Academy participants will learn to:

  • Successfully manage challenging projects, from articulating a vision to getting it done
  • Observe, collect, and analyze data
  • Anticipate and manage crisis with strategic communication
  • Understand the role of policy advocacy and how power works
  • Manage stressful situations and negotiate with confidence
  • Build networks across multiple sections
  • Create a budget that aligns to strategy
  • Lead and manage people more effectively
  • See change through a new global lens
Hear about the Civic Leadership Academy experience from the 2017 fellows. Video Link:
  • Office of Civic Engagement
  • Chicago Harris School of Public Policy
  • School of Social Service Administration
  • Chicago Booth School of Business
  • University of Chicago Law School
  • Institute of Politics
  • Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies

LISC Chicago
Civic Consulting Alliance
City of Chicago
Cook County


Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust
JPMorgan Chase
Robert R. McCormick Foundation

Meet the Civic Leadership Academy Fellows Class of 2017.

Subscribe to the Civic Leadership Academy mailing list.

Make a gift to support Civic Leadership Academy scholarships.

For more information, contact:
Joanie Friedman
Executive Director of Civic Leadership, Office of Civic Engagement
The University of Chicago
Edward H. Levi Hall, Suite 101
5801 S. Ellis Ave.
Chicago, IL 60637
Phone: 773-702-1035