Community Partners

CFS deeply values partnerships and collaborations as important opportunities for advancing the field of youth-led social change and movement-building. Current collaborations include:

Cricket Island Cohort

The Cricket Island Foundation seeks to develop the capacity and commitment of young people to improve their lives and communities, as well as the world around them.  In December 2008, the Foundation launched a five-year initiative investing in grants to seven youth serving, community-based organizations in Chicago. The Foundation’s goal was to advance the practice of youth-led organizing and engagement. The members of the cohort have become important partners for CFS in our work to advance youth-led social change in Chicago.  Read more about the work of the cohort here (link to monograph).  Cricket Island Chicago Cohort members include Chicago Freedom School, Albany Park Neighborhood Council, Inner-City Muslim Action Network, Korean American Resource and Cultural Center, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, Tepochcalli Community Education Project, and the Young Women’s Empowerment Project.

Education for Liberation Network

The Chicago Freedom School is proud to serve as the fiscal sponsor for the Education for Liberation Network.  The Education for Liberation Network is a national coalition of teachers, community activists, researchers, youth and parents who believe a good education should teach people—particularly low-income youth and youth of color—how to understand and challenge the injustices their communities face.  CFS has also served as a lead organization for the Network’s Free Minds, Free People conference.

To donate to the Education for Liberation Network, please visit their site here


Project NIA

Launched in 2009, Project NIA is an advocacy, organizing, popular education, research, and capacity-building center with the long-term goal of ending youth incarceration.  Founded by CFS co-founder, Mariame Kaba, Project NIA collaborates with CFS on creating curriculum, hosting public education events, and facilitating trainings.


Chicago Desi Youth Rising

Chicago Desi Youth Rising (CDYR) is a weekend summer leadership retreat for youth ages 15 – 21 who trace their heritage to South Asia and the diaspora and who identify themselves as change-makers. CDYR commits to empowering youth to combat social inequality, and is inspired by Youth Solidarity Summer (YSS) in New York, Bay Area Solidarity Summer (BASS), and D.C. Desi Summer (DCDS).


Liberation Library

Liberation Library provides books to youth in prison to encourage imagination, self-determination and connection to the outside worlds of their choosing. Liberation Library believes access to books is a right, not a privilege. Liberation Library believe books and relationships empower young people to change the criminal justice system. 


Below are some of CFS's current and past training clients and programming partners:

826 National

About Face Youth Theatre

Access Living

American Friends Service Committee New Orleans

Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago

Broadway Youth Center


Chicago Park District TRACE Program

Chicago Votes

Columbia College

DePaul University College of Education

Dominican University

ElevArte Community Studio


Fulbright Scholar Program

Hands of Peace

Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health

Jane Addams Hull House Museum

Lurie Children's Hospital

Lutheran Volunteer Corps

Roosevelt University

Rush Medical Center

Sage Community Health Collective

School of the Art Institute

Sierra Club

University of Illinois-Chicago College of Education

University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration

Village Leadership Academy

Working Bikes

World Chicago

Young Invincibles

Youth Connections Charter School