Legacy Projects

ADA 25 Chicago is designed to create lasting legacies that will improve the lives of people with disabilities for years to come. Current legacy projects engaging multiple partners include:

Chicagoland Business Leadership Network (CBLN)

ADA 25 Chicago and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Foundation sought at least 25 employers to create a sustainable Chicagoland Business Leadership Network (CBLN). This business-to-business association will help employers drive performance and gain competitive advantage through disability inclusion in the workplace, supply chain and marketplace.

In addition to regular forums and educational sessions, the CBLN and ADA 25 Chicago hosted The Disability Opportunity Summit at the Blue Cross Blue Shield headquarter offices in downtown Chicago on November 17, 2015, bringing employers together to share best practices for recruitment, hiring and retention of employees with disabilities.

CBLN Partners include:

Sustaining Partners:
• Baxalta
• Comcast
• Discover Financial Services
• Grainger
• University of Phoenix

Charter Partners:
• AT&T
• BMO Harris
• Baxter
• Deloitte
• EY
• KPMG
• ManpowerGroup
• Northern Trust
• Walgreens

For more information contact Ann Kisting.


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Leadership Institute for People with Disabilities

The new Leadership Institute for People with Disabilities is designed to facilitate the full participation of people with disabilities in all facets of Chicago’s civic leadership. This Leadership Institute will be the first of its kind in the nation to directly address two needs: the desire of public officials, non-profit boards and others for a pipeline of qualified people with disabilities; and the perception of many people with disabilities that they lack access to the networks that can facilitate entry to leadership positions.

ADA 25 Chicago launched the Leadership Institute for People with Disabilities with an inaugural intensive training for a first class of Fellows December 3-6, 2015. Applications and nominations for the next phase will reopen in Spring 2016.

The Fellows program is a first step. Longer term, the Leadership Institute will work to open leadership channels for people with disabilities in private, public and non-profit sectors, adapting models such as the successful project to connect LGBT leaders to public appointments pioneered by the Victory Fund in Washington, D.C.

ADA 25 Chicago would like to thank Exelon, The Chicago Community Trust, Deloitte and ManpowerGroup for their early support of the Leadership Institute.

For more information, please visit the Leadership Institute page.


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Mayor Emanuel's Literacy Task Force

On November 16, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the establishment of his new Literacy Task Force to address the reading achievement gap between the 60,000 CPS students with Individualized Education Plans and those in the general education population. He said, “Economic and educational empowerment for people with disabilities is the next frontier in the fight for equal access. Today we have an unacceptable achievement gap of 43 percent in terms of reading proficiency between students with and without disabilities.”

The City’s first Mayoral Task Force to raise the literacy achievement of our students with disabilities will focus on children from birth through third grade. It is comprised of experts in early childhood education, literacy as well as foundation leaders. The Task Force’s charge is to identify the causes of the literacy achievement gap, develop a set of recommendations that are realistic and aggressive for closing it, and identify a mechanism to measure the results in student progress. Recommendations will be presented to the Mayor in Spring 2016. ADA 25 Chicago and the Chicago Community Trust will provide consulting support.

For further information, contact Karen Tamley, Commissioner, Mayors Office for People with Disabilities.


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25 for 25 Cultural Access Project

The 25 for 25 Cultural Access Project focuses on creating tangible, incremental change in the Chicago region’s cultural organizations in 2015 and the future. More than 30 of Chicago’s theaters, museums and other cultural organizations have committed to going above and beyond what they currently provide to make their rich cultural offerings more inclusive and accessible. Examples range from beginning to schedule open captioning regularly throughout a season, to ensuring the organization’s website is accessible to screen-reader users, to installing physical upgrades.

The volunteer group Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium (CCAC) is serving as the project’s administrator. Each organization involved will receive one-on-one guidance from CCAC to institute these changes, assess current offerings, and discuss future accessibility goals that will build on what is started in 2015. CCAC will develop a written report, with suggested next steps, in tandem with each organization.

With regular, on-going professional development opportunities and a strong, local network, the 25 for 25 Cultural Access Project will ensure a lasting legacy of increased accessibility for Chicago’s cultural organizations.

For more information, please visit the 25 for 25 Cultural Access Project page.


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