Common Purpose is 30

What will your generation's legacy be?

Chicago200 Online

An online leadership program for Chicago’s youth

In 2037, Chicago will be 200 years old – how will you shape your city's future?

Do you want to connect with other amazing young leaders across Chicago to make a difference in your city?

Do you want access to some of Chicago’s senior leaders to have your say on some of Chicago’s biggest challenges such as racial and social inequality, corruption, gun violence and opportunities for young people?

Do you want to gain skills that will increase your employability and add to your resume?

If so, sign up for this free online program here!

You can also apply to the face-to-face version of the program taking place in September here.

© Andrew Merz

© Andrew Merz

First records of Chicagoland show that it was largely populated by the native Algonquian people who had long been established there and this is from where the city derives her name.

Chicago was officially incorporated as a city in 1837 when western settlers moved in and its population reached 4,000 people and quickly became a central hub for railroad transportation and trade across the United States and beyond, attracting people from all over to settle in the city.

Today, Chicago’s population has grown to over 2.5 million and is the 13th most diverse city in the world, with 77 neighbourhoods representing people from all cultures creating a rich mix of diversity.

However, Chicago is extremely divided by neighborhoods, race, class, backgrounds and religion, and will not reach its true potential unless we build bridges across these divides. Chicago200 aims to do this by convening the next generation of leaders to establish diverse relationships, facilitate crucial conversations, and utilize the diversity for innovative and creative solutions to the challenges Chicago faces.

Legacy programs

Chicago200 Online is part of Legacy; a global campaign by Common Purpose, which invests in young people across the world so they can become a connected generation of leaders with a clear vision for what their legacy will be.

Program outcomes

Social capital

Over the years, a diverse generation of young leaders will emerge who see themselves as Chicago200 leaders: thinking beyond tomorrow and connecting beyond their part of Chicago.

Youth action

As Chicago200 alumni begin engaging as citizens, they will use the skills developed to begin to collaborate and take the lead on ideas and projects to benefit the city.

Leadership insight

Chicago200 participants will communicate their vision and language of leadership to established leaders across the city, while learning from their experiences. 

Global connectivity

Chicago200 alumni will forge links with the alumni of the many other Common Purpose programs worldwide.

Oluwaseyi Adeleke, Chicago200 Alumni

“Chicago200 has helped me understand what kind of leader I am, and the way I should think as I move through my leadership journey. Being able to discuss with young people around the city, I was inspired by goals, visions, and work many people have planned.”

Why take part?

Chicago200 Online is your opportunity to network with other young Chicagoans and think through what your generation’s legacy will be. You will be part of a diverse group of 18-25 year olds from all corners of Chicago, that will come together to learn leadership skills and develop the Cultural Intelligence (CQ) needed to work together to bridge the divides that separate us.

The future needs leaders with lots of CQ, leaders who can deal with complex challenges in a way that brings people together and makes progress in society.

Everyone who completes the program will receive the Common Purpose Legacy Leadership Badge: a digital badge you can add to your resume. You will also become part of the 85,000+ Common Purpose Alumni around the world.


Who can take part?

Chicago200 Online will be open to all young people in or from Chicago, ages 18-25.

When is Chicago200 Online?

This free program will open on June 16, there is approximately 4 hours of content that you can complete at your own pace over 6 weeks. In addition, there will be optional weekly free webinars that you will be invited to be a part of.



The Chicago Community Trust

The Chicago Community Trust is a community foundation dedicated to improving our region through strategic grant making, civic engagement and inspiring philanthropy. We are here to serve the nonprofit organizations, the generous donors and the thoughtful residents who strive to make a difference, helping their bold vision create lasting community change. We work with a number of partnerships and initiatives to accomplish this work.

As businesses, local governments, and organizations strive to solve pressing challenges, the Trust brings these key actors together. Working together, we leverage collective knowledge, creativity and resources for a greater impact than any of us can make alone.


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Program images courtesy Andrew Merz