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Why Should Community Organizations Partner with CIS of Chicago?

Communities In Schools of Chicago partners with over 200 organizations across the city to connect students and their families directly with community-based resources.

Organizations in CIS’ partner network provide a range of services, everything from academic support, the arts, and college and career readiness to counseling, health and wellness, and parent and family engagement. And through CIS of Chicago, these organizations reach students who benefit most from their offerings.


Partnership with CIS of Chicago comes with direct access to students, tailored support, help with amplifying programs and navigating schools, professional development, and even networking. With all these benefits, CIS of Chicago’s team decided to ask community organizations which aspect of the partnership resonated most with them.

CIS’ team posed:

If you were casually chatting with a colleague over lunch and they ask why you partner with CIS of Chicago, how would you respond?

Here is what they said.

CIS of Chicago grows our reach.

“We partner with CIS of Chicago to connect with more schools in the city,” said Azaria Mckay of SparkShop. “We believe our program can benefit so many teachers and students, and our partnership with CIS allows us to do just that.”

CIS of Chicago fosters positive relationships with schools and families.

“CIS provides us with the trust that we need to develop relationships with educators,” said Sue Thotz of Common Sense Education. “They do the vetting for schools and help them select quality, useful programs and services.”

CIS of Chicago provides access to communities that would benefit most from our services.

“(CIS’) mission and our mission align,” said Matthew Kearney of the Chicago Chess Foundation. “They give us a platform to reach the youth we are aiming to reach, and they provide us a platform to succeed in any environment.”

CIS of Chicago eases the process of connecting with the district.

CIS of Chicago helped me navigate the process of connecting with Chicago Public Schools, Nancy Gardner said. Nancy partners with CIS to provide individualized counseling services to students, and with COVID, she said, “it was also very challenging getting back in the classroom. I felt a lot of support to make that happen.”

CIS of Chicago offers guidance, professional development, and networking opportunities.

“We wouldn’t be able to execute our middle school programming without them!” said Shonta Durham of the University of Illinois Chicago. “It’s one thing to have ideas to reach students with supplemental education, but CIS provides us with the guidance, support, and school connections to bring our ideas to the classroom to support students.”

CIS of Chicago values and advocates for educational equity.

“(CIS) increases our ability to bring arts programming and education to more Chicago students and schools in underserved neighborhoods,” said Eilleen Mallary of Culture Shock Chicago. Taylor Pettway of Phoenix Clinic Chicago agreed, reporting that “CIS helps carry out our mission by partnering with communities of color and communities with limited financial resources to provide mental health services.”

CIS of Chicago is a trusted partner.

“CIS of Chicago has a great team of dedicated support workers and managers in schools,” said Henry Cervantes of The Peace Exchange. “They understand completely what we do and help us reach as many students as possible across Chicago. We couldn’t do this without their help.”

Whether it’s tapping into CIS’ wide network of 200 schools, leaning on the knowledge base of CIS’ team to connect with schools looking for their services, or leveraging CIS relationships across the district, community organizations agreed that CIS lives out its core values of impact, relationships, social justice, and integrity.

By strengthening relationships with school and community partners, CIS deepens the impact for students and families.



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