The Literacy Equity Initiative (LEI) is a robust, data-driven effort led by the Chicago Literacy Alliance (CLA) to build collaboration with Chicago neighborhood community leaders, to direct literacy services for the greatest impact. 

In order to address the distinct challenges of Chicago’s communities, we must design solutions that increase equitable access to resources, creating pathways to greater civic fluency, personal agency, and progress. To further mobilize the Alliance, the LEI employs a consciously anti-racist lens, building in an asset-based, community-informed approach to advancing literacy, civic fluency, and personal agency for all learners.

The Literacy Equity Initiative includes:

Chicago Community Confabs create opportunities for authentic connection and a deeper understanding between CLA members and communities facing barriers to literacy resources. In each Confab, we’ll highlight one of Chicago’s communities, working with community members to learn about community history, barriers to literacy, opportunities for collaboration, and more.

Click here to find out more and RSVP for upcoming Confabs.

The Equity Through Literacy Framework is a research-based, equity-focused theory of change that connects greater literacy to positive social outcomes. Developed by the CLA, this framework demonstrates literacy’s connection to access, equity, engagement, civic fluency, and ultimately community progress.

Check out the framework here.

LEI: Insights, powered by Innovare, is a powerful new dashboard for Chicago’s literacy and education organizations. LEI: Insights provides a shared map and a common set of data to empower the CLA and our member organizations to make strategic, data-informed decisions to address the opportunity and access gaps facing Chicago communities.

Find out more about LEI: Insights here.

Our focus has always been to support Chicago’s literacy and education organizations through capacity building, alignment, and advocacy.

Capacity building empowers our members by forging bonds of trust and collaboration in the literacy sector. Alignment and advocacy create coordination and cohesion for increased, community-wide impact. Through the Literacy Equity Initiative model, we’re building on these foundational strategies as we significantly expand our efforts around alignment and advocacy.

Redefining Literacy for the Philanthropic Community: About the Literacy Equity Initiative and our work.

Forefront and the Chicago Literacy Alliance, September 2021