About Thrive Chicago


What is Thrive Chicago?

Thrive Chicago is a local initiative modeled after and supported by the national StriveTogether Network, which provides a roadmap for harnessing the power of collective impact. By bringing together organizations across multiple sectors, agreeing on common outcomes of focus, and uniting efforts spanning the entire continuum from cradle to career, Thrive Chicago will result in citywide alignment that benefits all children.


In June 2013, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Office brought together nearly 200 organizations for a daylong Design Institute that marked the launch of Thrive. Participants included colleges and universities, nonprofit providers, research and advocacy organizations, cultural institutions, education systems and industry and philanthropic partners. The partners identified 10 key outcomes along the cradle-to-career continuum to mark critical stages for a child’s growth and development, and then used a data driven approach to select their first five areas of focus: kindergarten readiness, engagement in enrichment and academic activities, high school graduation, college completion and employment at living wages.


What are Change Networks?

Once the five initial outcomes were determined, public and community-based leaders convened organizations with subject matter expertise in each area. The resulting groups are called Change Networks. Each Change Network has a charter to guide its work and accomplishes targeted priorities through smaller work groups.


Outcome Initial Focus Area(s) Convener(s)
Kindergarten Readiness Outreach and enrollment plan for hard-to-reach families Early Learning Executive Council
Engagement in Enrichment and Academic Activities Broadening access and improving learning outcomes Hive Learning Network, Chicago Public Schools (CPS)
High School Graduation Outreach, engagement and retention of off-pace and Opportunity Youth UCAN/Peace Hub, CPS
College Completion Increasing 1st to 2nd year persistence with more effective supports for student success, exposure, and advising Chicago Collaborative for Undergraduate Success, City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), CPS
Employment at Living Wages Removing employment barriers for young adults with justice system involvement Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs Workforce Dev’t Group, Cabrini Green Legal Aid



Who Leads Thrive Chicago?

Thrive is guided by its Leadership Council, a diverse group of 30+ executive leaders from the public, private, philanthropic, and non-profit sectors and supported by nine local and national philanthropic partners. After being incubated in the Mayor’s Office for 18 months, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation now serves as Thrive’s fiscal sponsor and host. Thrive’s Director, Jennifer Keeling, leads strategic and operational aspects of the initiative. For more information, email info@thrivechi.org.