Community System Development Resources

Chicago Community Collaborations

In partnership with the Mayor’s Office, Chicago Department of Family Support Services, and Chicago Public Schools, Illinois Action for Children supports local community collaborations to advance innovative, timely, and responsive outreach and recruitment strategies to connect families with young children to Chicago Early Learning programs. Community collaborations have a deep understanding of where families are, especially those not in early learning programs, and how to reach them. They can build trust and community buy-in by strengthening relationships with diverse, community-based partners. Embedded in communities, they are positioned to identify root causes of early learning enrollment barriers and design strategies to overcome them.

Grants to Community Collaborations

Illinois Action for Children leads the initiative to attract, fund, train, and support community-based programs who can engage families and promote early learning enrollment.

IAFC developed a competitive grant program open to Chicago community collaborations. With this grant funding, collaborations will implement strategies that raise public awareness of the value of early learning, engage families, and enroll young children in Chicago Early Learning programs.

Under this program, Illinois Action for Children is:

  • Awarding and administering grants to community collaborations to support the recruitment and enrollment of families in Chicago Early Learning programs
  • Providing training and technical assistance to collaborations that are awarded funds
  • Documenting outcomes, ensuring that collaborations track their activities, family engagement, and enrollment
  • Supporting peer learning, data exchange, and information sharing to encourage system change and lasting enhancement of early childhood programming

Collaboration Activities

Although community collaborations vary on strategies for engaging local partners and families, all funded organizations commit to:

  • Raising public awareness of universal preschool and the value of early learning for young children and families
  • Implementing strategies that engage families and enroll young children in Chicago Early Learning programs
  • Maintaining collaboration meetings and activities that support local programs in engaging families and young children in early childhood programs and services
  • Communicating challenges and successes with Illinois Action for Children and city partners

Currently, these two community organizations are funded to support Chicago Early Learning enrollment now through December 31, 2022:

If you are part of an active community-based early childhood collaboration in Chicago and are interested in staying up to date on this program, please complete the interest form on this page.

Click here to learn more about Chicago Early Learning programs.

This is a joint initiative through Illinois Action for Children, the Mayor’s Office of Early Learning, Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, and Chicago Public Schools.