CLF programs build hope


We began the Civic Leadership Foundation in order to engage and empower people from underserved communities to understand that their leadership matters for themselves and for others.  Through our programs, young people learn to believe they can accomplish more for themselves and their communities than they ever thought possible.  Faced with the threat of violence, the impact of poverty and the breakdown of bonds that enable communities to thrive, some youth are at risk of becoming disengaged from their communities while other people have found themselves entangled in a justice system that provides few supports for re-integration and re-engagement.  It is to both groups that we at CLF have dedicated our work and skills:

  • young people still in school but who are in need of social-emotional support as well as opportunities to build and practice skills they will need to be successful in school and career.

  • youth in the justice system who need the same support, skills and opportunities to find a productive place for themselves and their families by re-engaging in their communities

We build our programs to engage and empower participants, helping them build the support they need to successfully make critical transitions and then to create self-directed community projects that enable them to see themselves as leaders in their communities.  Through research based curriculum and effective training of teachers and facilitators, CLF has reached more than 15,000 people in our short history.

This past year was one of significant growth in our programs and partnerships.  A few highlights: we were selected by After School Matters to develop the program and training for their summer – Peacemaker’s Program; we expanded our high school readiness work by developing and implementing a multi-year program at Mark Sheridan Math and Science Academy for 6th through 8th graders that has changed the culture and enhanced the performance at the school; we launched a new program with Cook County Sheriff’s office to help men about to be released from the County Jail make the transition successfully back to their communities.  All of that was in addition to our on-going work throughout Chicago. 

We don’t do this work alone: we have the great privilege of working with incredibly dedicated partners who are on the front line of this important work, with donors and supporters who with their generosity make our efforts possible, and with some of the most talented and dedicated staff who tirelessly help ensure that participants gain the skills and experiences they need to succeed in school, at work and to make a positive difference in their communities. 

CLF programs build HOPE!
We hope you will read some of the stories of our participants to understand what they are over-coming, what they are learning, and the role CLF has played. 

Thanks for joining us in this important work.  



Howard Rossman