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  /    /  Partnerships/Alliances

Forging partnerships with key individuals, organizations, officials, and funders that support and enhance your ability to turn your goals and objectives into a reality. For more insights, see our Work Highlights & Full Client Roster.

Positioning a New Player in Education

Representative Client: Chalkbeat

When the national education news outlet Chalkbeat launched its Chicago bureau in 2018, Thinkinc. helped get the new player positioned in Chicago’s education community.

We developed a grassroots, community-based convening strategy that both introduced the publication to the local communities as well as assisted the publication in understanding their local audiences.

As the bureau built its staff, we were able to use the hiring of a local journalist to raise the non-profit’s profile. And in the thick of the upcoming mayoral election, we helped behind-the scenes to assist in pulling together and publicizing a forum on the intersection between the city’s next mayor and the future of public schools. For more insights, see our Work Highlights & Full Client Roster.

Designing a strategy to pass an ordinance

Representative Client: Proactively Addressing Substandard Housing coalition (PASH)

Thinkinc. was retained by the Proactively Addressing Substandard Housing coalition to design a campaign strategy for a City of Chicago rental-inspection program ordinance. This project is an example of Thinkinc. working in partnership with a coalition that comprises a number of strategists, policy experts and community leaders. And together, we worked as a team over more than two years to build a strategy for a project that often seemed against all odds.

When PASH retained Thinkinc., they had already worked for nearly two years with a range of public-health and other stakeholders on a draft ordinance. The coalition’s next step would be engaging grassroots groups in potentially affected communities, to ensure that there were no unintended consequences that did harm to vulnerable neighborhoods. They hoped to broaden the diversity and inclusion of PASH, while building political will for the potential ordinance while the mayoral campaign was underway.

In conjunction with coalition members, Thinkinc. developed an extensive list of stakeholders and together we met with them to review the proposed ordinance. This process led to substantial revisions of the proposal, gaining many new proponents for the ordinance. Thinkinc. devised a name for the ordinance the Healthy Homes Check Up which we tested during the reviews.

We created PowerPoint presentations for the interviews, developed one-pagers for organizing purposes, provided analyses of the interviews with recommendations and walked the coalition through an extensive process of revising the ordinance.

Meanwhile, Chicago was captivated by a contested mayoral race. We recommended the coalition not choose sides but instead build relationships with various government agencies that would eventually have to implement the ordinance. When the new administration came in, we were able to facilitate with the coalition the creation of a Healthy Homes Check Up Working Group, made up of PASH members and allies, with the city’s Department of Housing and associated agencies, including the Building and Health Departments.

The project is still in progress. We look forward to seeing how the city incorporates rental inspection in their efforts to create equitable and inclusive safe housing. For more insights, see our Work Highlights & Full Client Roster.

Acting Globally

Representative Client: French Consulate in Chicago

In 2015, Thinkinc. was retained by the French Consulate in Chicago to provide strategic consulting, project management, marketing services with traditional and social media relations consulting expertise to conceptualize and generate interest in City/Cit©: A Transatlantic Exchange. Leading scholars, policymakers, researchers, community organizers, activists and artists from both sides of the Atlantic met in Chicago Nov. 2-3 to explore inequality, race and the state of urban democracy in the United States and France.

Thinkinc. coordinated with multiple institutions including the French Consulate in Chicago, the University of Chicago working with several departments within the university, the University of Illinois at Chicago Great Cities Institute, the Institute of France and the Sorbonne in coordinating and managing a seamless brand that leveraged the joint institutional assets to market and promote this transatlantic partnership. In less than six weeks, Thinkinc. developed a brand, created electronic and print promotional and marketing materials including concept, design and copy for evites, brochures and posters as well as developed a traditional and social media strategy. We drafted and distributed media materials including media alerts and news releases to a list that Thinkinc. developed of international, national and local media. In addition, we assisted in the agendas for both university’s programs as well as the day of week run including organizing a public event at the Chicago Community Trust and assisting the Consulate with a private event at the French Consul General’s home.

The events held at both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Chicago yielded significant turnout with a targeted audience of policymakers, community, civic, business and philanthropic leaders and students. Media placements included WBEZ-FM’s “Worldview” as well as one of Dawn Turner Trice’s last columns in the Chicago Tribune. For more insights, see our Work Highlights & Full Client Roster.


Representative Client: One Chicago, One Nation

Thinkinc.’s work to launch of One Chicago, One Nation, focused on bridging cultural divides and engaging a representation of the Chicago area’s 400,000 Muslims with other culturally diverse residents. Thinkinc. facilitated the collaboration of the initiative partners: One Nation, The Chicago Community Trust, Link TV, Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), and Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), to strategize, build and launch the program while also bringing together neighbors, businesses, community and government leaders, to break down barriers and encourage interfaith and intercultural understanding and relationships. For more insights, see our Work Highlights & Full Client Roster.

Strategic Partnerships

Representative Client: Target Area Development Corporation & The Developing Justice Coalition

Our work with the Target Area Development Corporation and The Developing Justice Coalition, a statewide alliance of community-based, social service, and religious organizations working together on criminal justice reform, public safety and prisoner re-entry issues; has focused on building strong partnerships and developing a public profile for these organizations. One of our most influential efforts for these organizations  a successful campaign to pass The SMART Act (Substance Abuse Management Addressing Recidivism through Treatment)  led to a series of public hearings which took place across Illinois in 2005.  Thinkinc. named the SMART Act, strategized programs to build support for the Act, and conducted the public relations for the campaign to get the Act passed. For more insights, see our Work Highlights & Full Client Roster.

Building Political Will

Representative Client: Community Renewal Society

Thinkinc. spent more than 18 months strategizing the repositioning of the Community Renewal Society, a Chicago-based social and racial justice organization and its elemental pieces: Catalyst Chicago magazine (Catalyst), The Chicago Reporter, and Civic Action Department. We worked with the Chicago Reporter to help them conceive of themselves as a journalistic institution with the power to influence and impact public policy. We also created an integrated communications plan to develop political will and bring that influence into being, guidance that assisted in the transformation of the journal. We also helped them to develop a new web-based platform that has expanded their ability to participate in the news media with timely and highly relevant stories. For more insights, see our Work Highlights & Full Client Roster.

To discuss how Thinkinc. can get your organization to the next level, contact us now at