In total, CLA’s member organizations serve more than 18 million people each year, from young children through adults.

In 2009, a small group of literacy nonprofits came together to discuss ways to share resources.

During that first meeting, we discovered that all of us were offering programs in the same small school (Schiller Elementary) — and that none of us knew the others were there. Realizing that working together would help us avoid over-resourcing one school and underserving others, we began communicating about our work and our experiences. As time went on, we started partnering on Literacy Nights and other coordinated projects. And in 2012, realizing how valuable our collaborations had become, we formed the Chicago Literacy Alliance and began reaching out to other groups across the city.

As our network grew, so did our vision. In 2015, inspired by the possibilities of working together on an ever-closer basis, we opened the Literacenter, North America’s first shared workspace dedicated to literacy. Now, with an ever-growing slate of active member organizations and a regular schedule of programs, events, and opportunities, we are an essential part of the city’s literacy landscape and remain passionately committed to fostering cooperation and collaboration for the cause.