The more I understand pro bono services and their potential for social impact, the more I fall in love with Chicago’s Civic Consulting Alliance. They have created a really powerful model in Chicago that needs to be replicated in every city as well as at the state and federal level.
The Civic Consulting Alliance is a partnership between the City of Chicago and CEOs of the top companies in the city. Every year they identify key issues facing the city and then engage the companies in pro bono projects to address the issue. Rather than having pro bono be about a million acts of kindness, Civic Consulting Alliance has harnessed pro bono to make tangible and important changes in the city.
Here are some examples of pro bono projects facilitated by CCA from their site:
- CCA helped the Department identify key goals that indicate environmental progress, and developed an environmental scorecard for the City based on these. The priorities outlined in the scorecard were used to realign DOE projects and priorities, and then were used to align the environmental efforts of all City Departments.
- – Each year, about 3 million tons of waste are generated in Chicago and sent to area landfills. In collaboration with the Department of Environment and Mayor’s office, CCA and its partners are developing a strategy for reducing and recycling waste from each of the core materials in the Chicago’s waste stream. These recommendations are now the center of the City’s waste reduction initiative.
- Five-hundred-thousand riders a day depend on the Chicago L, yet years of deferred maintenance now require billions in repairs. Faced with such a large, yet required, investment, CTA asked, “If you could build any rapid transit system in the world, what would it be?” Along with its partners, CCA identified the requirements, characteristics, and costs of “the rail of the future.” This research led to numerous planning efforts to reflect the result in current projects.
- Working with line and management personnel, CCA and McKinsey and Company is applying lean transformation techniques to help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of bus maintenance across all of CTA.
You can read about their projects with the City of Chicago at: http://www.ccachicago.org/our-work/index.html