New Member Application - Now Live!

Join us as we launch our new Membership pipeline through BoardLead – a program to help YOU get connected to nonprofit board service and support you along the way!

RSVP HERE for the April 11th Information Session and Reception or to Risa Rifkind ( or 312-616-8000 x 263) and include any accommodations needed. You must attend the information session in order to apply.

Applications are now open! For questions, please contact Risa Rifkind, or 312-616-8000 x 263.


Welcome 2019 Fellows & Congrats 2018 Fellows!

2018 Fellows and 2019 Fellows seated at the front of the room for a group photo. The group contains a diverse group of individuals with disabilities

Advancing Leadership envisions a Chicago region where people with disabilities lead with power and influence for full participation and equal opportunity. During the past twelve months, ADA 25 Advancing Leadership has made major strides towards realizing our vision that people with disabilities will lead with power and influence for full participation and equal opportunity.

"We congratulate 18 new Fellows of the 2019 Leadership Institute, as well as new participants in our 96-Member Network, including 18 graduating Fellows and 4 newly-invited established leaders with disabilities..." Click here to read the full blog post by Emily Harris

In addition to celebrating graduating Fellows and new members Advancing Leadership celebrates more than 100 civic advancements of members who are volunteering in their communities, on nonprofit boards and public task forces. Thanks to our many funders who support our Civic Connections Project including the MacArthur Foundation.

The MacArthur Foundation’s Chicago Commitment supports the promotion and advancement of diverse leadership whose influence will inform and improve decision making across the city. We are pleased to support ADA 25 Advancing Leadership’s Civic Connections Project, which connects leaders with disabilities to nonprofit board service and a variety of other public service opportunities. We believe that having people with disabilities lead with power and influence will improve the region for all.
– Tara Magner, Director, Chicago Commitment, MacArthur Foundation

Thank you to our Members, partners, and supporters for helping us advance leadership, expand full participation, and increase equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in the Chicago region!

As we welcome our fourth class of Fellows to the Leadership Institute, we invite you to be a part of this important and exciting venture.

Would you please demonstrate your belief in the value of Advancing Leadership by making a gift today? Your gift equips leaders.

ADA 25 Advancing Leadership

Disability is a natural part of the human experience and more than 56 million Americans have disabilities. Yet, people with disabilities have the highest unemployment and poverty rates in the nation. We are guided by the equal opportunity principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that pointed to a future where people with disabilities fully participate in American society. Changing the paradigm means including people with disabilities in leadership

- and it starts in Chicago.

ADA 25 Advancing Leadership, a signature initiative of The Chicago Community Trust, is the first program of its kind in the nation designed specifically to ensure that Chicago’s vibrant civic and professional life fully includes leaders with disabilities.
The initiative is composed of three facets:

Meet Our Members

Over the last three years, ADA 25 Advancing Leadership has seen huge growth. In this blog post, Executive Director, Emily Harris, highlights the impressive evolution of this one of a kind program. Be sure to continue to check back in the coming weeks for new updates to the Leadership Institute, the Members Network, and the Civic Connections Project.