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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Chicago Freedom School

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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

4 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I recently attended a CFS training. The organizers were prepared, eloquent, and poised to handle any question directed at them. In the past CFS has opened their space for other groups I am a part of to meet there when we didn't have our own space. They are truly committed to supporting anti-oppression struggles of every kind. CFS is fierce!

Review from Guidestar