GROWCommunity (GROW) is a community-wide effort that seeks to build a high-quality K-12 system across Chicago’s north side. The initiative aims to strengthen school organization, infrastructure and enrollment across one neighborhood network of schools through interventions that improve outcomes and change community perception. GROW seeks to demonstrate citywide that a diverse group of stakeholders can improve neighborhood schools when working collaboratively and purposefully.
Why We Invested
GROW represents a compelling opportunity to improve student outcomes by making an investment in neighborhood schools. GROW’s partnership with UChicago Impact to provide coaching to school leaders has already shown early signs of success. Both Amundsen High School and Lake View High School improved their CPS School Quality Rating after their first year of support. We anticipate that this work and continued momentum will change perceptions about neighborhood schools, increase collaboration among elementary and high schools and meaningfully improve performance across a number of key indicators for college success. With substantial support from community members and a deeply committed leadership team, GROW’s efforts to build a great neighborhood school system will prepare students for future success while building a thriving community.
GROW currently serves 2,446 students. As a school transformation strategy, this number will stay steady until GROW is ready to expand beyond its current neighborhood school system. GROW continues to define its key competencies and model. The organization is engaged in a feasibility study to define its approach and determine its ability to expand beyond its current community. If there is an opportunity to increase GROW’s impact, A Better Chicago would be eager to find ways to continue our support. If GROW determines expansion is not in its future, we plan to work with GROW to diversify its funding to sustain work within the Lake View and Amundsen communities.
- Fundraising Strategy: GROW worked with the Alexander Ross Group to develop a comprehensive fundraising strategy. A Better Chicago scoped the project, vetted potential consultants and covered 75 percent of the fees.
- Marketing Strategy: GROW worked with Ando Advisors to understand and communicate its value proposition to stakeholders. A Better Chicago scoped the project, vetted potential consultants and covered 75 percent of the fees.
- Business Plan: GROW worked with The Silver Line to complete its first business plan. A Better Chicago supported GROW in finding a vetted consultant, participated in the project and covered 75 percent of the fees.