The practice of civic engagement — the exchange of resources between the University and its surrounding communities — has been important to UChicago since its founding in 1890. Today, the University has a sustained and conscious commitment to this engagement through a variety of programs and collaborations that are extending education, advancing urban research, and spurring innovation. As an anchor for nearby neighborhoods, the University aims to be a consistent and reliable partner in catalyzing expanding opportunities, engaging arts and culture, and improving public health and safety resources to support strong communities.
How We Helped
Next Street partnered with the University of Chicago to develop and launch UChicago Local, a comprehensive live, buy, and hire local program including a purchasing initiative that provides business skills-training and advisory services to help locally owned businesses in neighborhoods near its campus prepare to compete for contract opportunities with the University and the University of Chicago Medicine. In addition, Next Street is collaborating with the University’s Office of Civic Engagement on planning and implementation of several new strategic initiatives to drive additional impact in the community.
UChicago Local has been recognized nationally as a leadership example of innovation and impact in anchor civic engagement.
The UChicago Local business advisory program (delivered by Next Street) has equipped 20 businesses from the mid-South Side of Chicago with the skills needed to execute contracts with the University and other anchors. To date, relationships have led to approximately $400,000 in revenue for small business participants in the program as well as near-term opportunities for at least $5 million in revenue potential.