The COFI Way Builds Parent Power

Parent leaders are making real change in Chicago, in Illinois communities and statewide, and are now building parent-to-parent relationships across the nation.

Parent teams work on neighborhood change first

COFI starts by working at the local level, helping community parents reach the critical first step of seeing themselves as leaders. Training and support continues as leaders work together in parent teams to create neighborhood change. With new confidence, sophistication, proven ability to make change, and the itch to take on larger issues, many parent leaders are ready for a next step.

Next is citywide action

Local parent leaders join in action at the citywide level, and plug into the organizing efforts of POWER-PAC. Through this parent-led membership organization, experienced leaders from across Chicago come together and build power to make policy and systems changes that make everyday differences in the lives of low-income families.

Working in partnership with advocates, POWER-PAC won the return of recess for elementary school students to the Chicago Public Schools, the end of asset limits for TANF recipients and got zero tolerance removed from the Chicago Student Code of Conduct.

POWER-PAC parents use their collective expertise to come up with innovative and practical solutions to issues that low-income families face. Parent leaders have been very successful in establishing new programs, gaining new resources, and putting new projects into action. Parent Initiated Projects include the Head Start Ambassadors, Parent Peace Centers, the Walking Preschool Bus Program and more.

Projects across the nation

Our unique model of leadership, organizing, and parent success in changing policies have gained national attention and created opportunities to build the power of parents in Illinois communities outside of Chicago, including Aurora, East St. Louis, Elgin, Evanston, Skokie and West Chicago, and to partner with projects across the nation, including in California, Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico and Wisconsin.

Read all about local Victories in the Neighborhoods and the exciting citywide work of POWER-PAC!