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Community Organizing Institute - A Program of Organizing for Action

The Community Organizing Institute (COI) provides a platform for exchanging ideas and promoting discourse on the issues we care about. We partner with progressive groups and organizations to educate, engage, and collaborate.


Building upon the rich history of community organizing in Chicago, the COI is a place to share stories, best practices, and innovations in order to build our community and empower individuals in the fight for change. It is a shared space for organizers, policy makers, advocates, and change-agents to come together for workshops, panel discussions, presentations, trainings, film screenings, and social gatherings—building a strong foundation for partnerships.




The COI has hosted extraordinary guests, such as U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, Tina Tchen, chief of staff to the First Lady and executive director for the White House Council on Women and Girls, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Emmy-winning producer David Gelber, the Honorable Abner Mikva, and Ai-Jen Poo, visionary organizer of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Caring Across Generations.


8.12.2015 – The Empowerment Project: Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things, with special guests, Emmy-Award winning filmmakers, Dana Michelle Cook and Sarah Moshman
7.30.2015 – The Leaders of Tomorrow Intern Summit, powered by PechaKucha, with special guest emcees Peter Exley and Thorsten Bösch, co-hosts of PechaKucha Night Chicago
7.23.2015 – LGBTQ: Past, Present & Future – in the first of its kind, an abridged walking tour of the Legacy Walk, followed by a conversation reflecting on the LGBTQ movement
7.10.2015 – OFA Open House reception, with special guest, Jon Carson
5.28.2015 – Grassroots Chicago, a Kartemquin documentary film screening and panel discussion with local Chicago organizers
5.19.2015 – How Organizations Develop Activists, featuring professor and author, Hahrie Han
3.24.2015 – Caring Across America, a conversation visionary organizer, Ai-jen Poo and Chicago organizers about the future of elder care  
3.6.2015 – Personal Stories of Women in Leadership, a reception co-hosted by OFA and IWIL, with featured guest, Chicago City Clerk, Susana A. Mendoza
11.20.2014 – Celebrate Our Next Season of Organizing, with featured guest Mayor Rahm Emanuel
8.19.2014 – Years of Living Dangerously film screening, with Emmy-Award winning special guest, Executive Producer, David Gelber
8.14.2014 – Women and Working Families Summit, with very special guest, Tina Tchen, chief of staff to the First Lady and executive director for the White House Council on Women and Girls
8.04.2014 – Come Party with us in Chicago, celebrating health care reform and the President's birthday, with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Austan Goolsbee
7.25.2014 – Working in Government in Chicago, a conversation with IL State Representative Christian Mitchell, Clarisol Duque, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin's Chicago Chief of Staff, and Ken Bennett, First Deputy Chief of Staff to Mayor Emanuel
6.12.2014 – Inside Leadership, a conversation on marriage equality with IL Representative Greg Harris 
6.08.2014 – A Chicago Community Summit for Progressive Interns, with special guest, the Honorable Abner Mikva, former U.S. representative, federal judge and law professor
5.20.2014 – A Lifetime of Making Change Happen, with special guest Adele Simmons 
3.28.2014 – Stand With Women Reception, co-hosted with IWIL (Illinois Women's Institute for Leadership), with special guests, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, Deputy Govenor, Cristal Thomas, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and Debra Shore, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District
3.20.2014 – Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert, an HBO documentary film screening
3.06.2014 – A Lifetime of Progressive Politics, with the Honorable Lou Sussman, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom

Take a look at our photo gallery
for some highlights.

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