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Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Liberties, Civil Rights

Mission: The Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago (CRFC) strengthens American democracy by providing elementary and secondary students with hands-on learning about the Constitution to prepare them for informed civic engagement. Nonprofit and nonpartisan, CRFC designs and conducts local, national, and international programs that emphasize current and historical controversies involving rights, law, and policy. CRFC was founded in 1974 as part of the Constitutional Rights Foundation in Los Angeles and became an independent 501(c)(3) organization in 1990.

Target demographics: prepare young people for informed civic engagement

Programs: The Action-Based Communities Project, Illinois Youth Summit, Equal Justice Under Law, The Edward J. Lewis II Lawyers in the Classroom Program, Primary VOICE and the CRFC Annual Professional Development Conference for Teachers in Civics, Law, and Government.

Community Stories

30 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

CRFC is a wonderful organisation. I had the honor of working as a communications intern at CRFC last year. And the learning and experience was phenomenal. The Lawyers in Classroom and the State V Wolf program are ingenious and humbling. CRFC provides a fabulous platform for students to express their opinions and understand the civic system. I am thankful for my time at CRFC and wish them good luck with the fantastic and life changing work they are doing!


--- Palak Shukla

Client Served

Rating: 5

In addition to providing positive adult role models, the attorneys who volunteer for CRFC as part of the Lawyer in the Classroom Program give my second grade students a chance to participate in real life decision making situations. These lessons require critical thinking skills, defending a position, and listening to the other side. Students love being able to decide for themselves in a non-threatening learning environment that encourages them to express their opinions and ideas.
This year, I have 5 second grade Civics classes and CRFC is finding attorneys for all of them. We are so grateful for the continued support of CRFC.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The CRFC has wonderful programs and great teacher development classes to improve civics in the classroom!

Esther10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The CRFC is a wonderful organization. I have been volunteering for the past 8 years and have learned as much as I hope the students have from the experience. The chance to mentor young students reminds us through Lawyers in the Classrom what led many of us into the legal profession in the first place. And hopefully we are helping students to learn something as well from the program!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The CRFC staff is amazing and their programs are well organized and effective. When I volunteer for them or donate I never have to think twice about whether it is going to have a genuine impact. They are the real deal!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Over the past several years, I volunteered with CRFC's Lawyers in The Classroom Project. The program is enriching for both facilitators and participants, allowing an interactive immersion into the Constitution. Keep up the great work CRFC!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

CRFC provides great opportunities for our organization to stay engaged with the public schools through the Lawyers in the Classroom program. It has strengthened our involvement and dedication to the elementary school we have partnered with for many years and provided a framework for us to provide positive, structured experiences for both the students and the volunteers.

CesarB

Donor

Rating: 5

Civic engagement is paramount to a working society and the Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago is among the best organizations that actively engages educators and other experts from the community to provide hands-on learning to students about the tools they have and will need in order to be well informed and engaged citizens. CRFC programs are effective and interactive and provide ample opportunities for community members to get involved. I have been a longtime supporter and I will continue to be as I see my contributions being used in programs that immediately and positively impact young people from all walks of life. This organization truly lives its mission of “Strengthening Democracy” and I am very proud to count myself amongst its supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I realy do not know how to say thanks to CRFC. Now i am currently a young adult that change his way of thinking about democracy. I first toght that government was for adults but CRFC showed that i can make a difference in sociaty. CRFC came to my school and gave us a chance to talk and express myself. For a moment I felt like an adult. I love this program and I wish it prosper and I will love to be part of this movement to help us have a better democracy every day. We need CRFC.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was introduced to CRFC through a friend that had previously volunteered with the organization during law school. I found the staff to be warm and engaging. When I volunteered I was blown away by the comprehensive lesson plans and the sophistication of the operation. They introduce the legal concepts in innovative ways that keep students from elementary school to high school completely engaged. Their impact on young lives is directly measurable when you see children light up about trial aspects or the constitution in general.
They are a great organization and I am proud to serve with them.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I love volunteering for Lawyers in the Classroom through CRFC. It is so much fun to engage young children in discussions about whether a "no pets allowed" policy in an apartment building extends to an ant farm or a seeing eye dog. The kids also enjoy creating their own "laws" for animals who decide to leave the zoo and move to a desert island. For some children, this is one of the first times they interact with a lawyer and have any exposure to the legal system. The other events that CRFC hosts throughout the year are designed to get students involved and engaged in the civic process by addressing and resolving issues that affect them. CRFC is a terrific organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering with CRFC has been one of the best experiences I've had. I participated in one of their conferences when I was in high school and the experience put me on the path that I am. Now as a college student, I enjoy the work I do with them. It's challenging and always interesting and I've been able to meet some amazing people as a result.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a volunteer for CRFC for six years. My experience was wonderful. As a volunteer lawyer it was the only time in my career where people were actually cheering upon my arrival. The kids are fantastic and the lessons important -- ranging from religious tolerance to understanding the difference between the strict letter of a law verses its intent. The world would be a better place if more people participated in CRFC. I consider it a privilege to have participated and look forward to doing more in the years that come.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering with the Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago is extremely fulfilling. I have participated in multiple programs for CRFC, and I am continually impressed with the kids we get to work with. Teaching kids that they are an active part of democracy, and they can influence change in their communities is priceless.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with the Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago a couple of times now, and each time the experience has been wonderful. The organization manages to bring civics (a subject frequently neglected) to life in an engaging manner for young people.

I took part in a debate where high school students debated such consequential issues as lowering the voting age, and decriminalization of marijuana. I was thoroughly impressed with the format of the event as well as the maturity and sophistication that the students displayed.

I look forward to volunteering again as I'm sure it will be just as fulfilling.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a teacher that uses ABC project every spring with my seventh grade students. The program promotes civics through doing! The student-centered project engages my students in problem solving and making a difference in their community. My students conduct research, create documents and charts, write arguments and learn who the decision makers are in their community. Through firsthand experience they share their findings and make a difference in their world. They often realize that working for the common good is rewarding and meaningful.

In addition, my eighth grade students benefit from CRFC Lawyers in the Classroom. Hearing lawyer voices and perspectives increases awareness of our justice system. The lawyers are professional and present the curriculum in an engaging way. The lessons require truthfulness and reflection.

CRFC provides me a range of lessons and resources that help me to round out my curriculum. My teaching has improved and my students learning has too!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I teach in Chicago Public Schools, and my students and I benefit enormously from CRFC's work. From highly engaging lesson plans, to the best professional development around, to the wonderful lawyers in the classroom, I can say with assurance that my teaching would not be nearly as strong as it is without CRFC. This organization is wonderful.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

During my junior and senior years of High School I participated in numerous CRFC events including the community outreach programs. CRFC is more than a non-profit it's a structure that assisted in my personal development as I prepared for college. CRFC offered many speakers, leaders and role models from within the Chicago land area to assist in this mentorship. For this I'm very grateful.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a teacher who uses CRFC all the time. I have benefited from workshops offered, to programs like Lawyers in the Classroom, to being able to collaborate with fellow educators on new civics education. CRFC has helped me become a better teacher and in turn pass that along to my students.

Client Served

Rating: 5

CRFC is a great organization that provides my students with opportunity to learn about the jury system and the role that citizens have. It ties into the CCSS with what we are learning in Social Studies and other curricula. I have been with this program for two years and my students are so engaged and excited every time the volunteer lawyers come into the classroom. I can't wait until next year to implement different resources and activities that evolves around this program. They are just wonderful people to work with and I have enjoyed all the professional developments that they provided for the teachers. I would love to see this program expand in our entire school starting with first grade to eighth grade, so there is a connection within the school and students.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CRFC is an amazing organization. In my 16 years as an educator I have had multiple opportunities to participate in many different CRFC professional development programs. You leave these professional developments with programs that you can immediately use in your classroom. Some of the programs that I have used and continue to engage my students with include Engage, More Perfect Union, ABC (Action Based Communities) Project, Lawyers in the Classroom, and Weber vs. Chase, a mock trial program. These programs have an immediate impact on my students and our school as a whole.

The CRFC programming works well with the C3 Framework (College, Career, and Civic Life). Students learn to engage with one another in civic based conversations and problem solving. Students who have participated in the ABC Project realize that they can make a difference in their community by being actively engaged in the decision making process.

I continue to work with CRFC because I see the benefits that my students receive from their programming. All of the programs that I have used from CRFC are engaging and lead my students to being active participants in our democracy, this not only impacts our classroom, but also our school community.

I would highly recommend anyone who works with children to participate in the many CRFC professional development opportunities.