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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Student Services

Mission: The mission of the Chicago Freedom School (CFS) is to create new generations of independent thinking young people who use their unique experiences and power to create a just world. Our vision is in the spirit of the original freedom schools in Mississippi in the 1960s, with CFS serving as a catalyst for young people across Chicago to discover their own power to make change – not only for themselves, but also for their communities and the world.

Results: All of our organizational resources are allocated to support the leadership development of marginalized young people. Over 90% of Freedom Fellowship participants and alumni at the Chicago Freedom School are from low-income neighborhoods and 100% of them identify as people of color. Adult allies trained at CFS include professional youth organizers, public and private school educators, program directors at houses of workshop, and social service providers.

Programs: CFS provides training and education opportunities for youth and adult allies to develop leadership skills through the lens of civic action and through the study of the history of social movements and their leaders.

Community Stories

26 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I first learned about the Chicago Freedom School (hereinafter CFS) while an undergraduate. As a former public policy debate champion turned high school debate instructor, CFS' mission quickly caught my attention, and I knew that I wanted to get involved with the organization. It blends civic engagement and action through teaching about past social movements and making connections to current situations. It does so by engaging inner-city youth in discussions that lead them to think more critically and analytically. Youth develop a sense of individuality, while learning to collaborate with the community at-large, in addition to a sense of purpose and power that enables them to effectively translate ideas into actions.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We have watched the Freedom School transform the most challenging youth into courageous young people with a true voice in their community. The adults at CFS are caring and connected these youth in their lives. Students learn to work towards critical goals and develop strategies for developing action plans.

Review from Guidestar

Genesis G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love this place, it's warm and welcoming. The minute you walk through the door (front or back, haha) you feel like your home! This place always has something going on, between meetings and open-events, its a place where youth and adults can come together with no boundaries. I love this place, it really is like a second home to me.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I came to know the Chicago Freedom School through my partner, who has been involved for several years. I've attended several public education events--all of them excellent--and also occasionally helped out. I know of no other organization that does such great work to improve the social understanding of political action, both in its history and in its practice. And in a time when public education is being transformed into a single, 12-year exercise in test preparation, CFS's work to help youth (and adults) think critically about the world is absolutely crucial.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Chicago Freedom School is incredible! I work with a childcare organization that helps parents participate in community organizing, and the Freedom School has been one of our biggest supporters. I am also a part of another collective focused on the prison industrial complex and popular education, and CFS has similarly served as a huge resource and ally to our volunteer-driven, grassroots-funded and/or un-funded work. Beyond even their own incredible programs, they do so much for the community that they are a part of. Thanks CFS!

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I had a chance to meet youth and staff from the Chicago Freedom School at a conference. We established a relationship and then I learned more about CFS. The CFS youth helped me by allowing me to interview them about their experiences w/CFS and what impact it had in their lives. I learned that it really helped them to recognize and pursue transformative justice in their lives and those around them. Then, the CFS allowed a colleague and I to visit and observe one of their programs in action. We witnessed the "Cradle to Prison Pipeline" training which they did in partnership with other organizations and we learned SO much from that. I appreciate, support and believe in the things that CFS is doing and HOW they go about doing things! Much love from Detroit!!!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began to look at life differently thanks to Chicago Freedom School in 2009. Our program was all the way until May 2010. In our summer program, we received the chance to learn about oppression and build leadership skills. I never knew how these skills would develop throughout my outside life. In school I began to challenge my teachers and surroundings without even thinking about it. Being a liberator became my priority.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I became aware of Chicago Freedom School in late 2008 when I was able to sell my expertise in typesetting and design forms and documents for the organization. The staff made me feel welcome from the moment they met me but what really impressed me was the history of the organization and their commitment to the youth they serve. The organization practices what they preach. A source of inspiration for kids whether impoverished, misunderstood, minority, LGBT, etc. I am still very impressed by the entire staff and Mia Henry's dedication and drive.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Chicao Freedom School has blessed me with the experience of learning about history of people of color and the importance of social justice. The Chicago Freedom School has provided me with a safe environment and a support system I can count on whether I am in Chicago or away at school. The staff is a group of sincere people who care about educating the young and old about the injustices of the world and giving youth the confidence to change the world a little bit at a time.

I love this organization and I am forever indebted to what this organization has given me.

Review from Guidestar

Cristina R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became a Freedom Fellow in 2009 at the Chicago Freedom School. Through the trainings and the guests speakers I gained a lot of knowledge. I developed skills like, leadership skills and public speaking skills. I learned about issues that affected my community. In this place, I was able to talk to other youth and adults and I learned about oppression. This opened my eyes to reality and now I am able to step up to issues that make me feel uncomfortable.

Review from Guidestar