Common Purpose is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1989 that develops leaders who can cross boundaries. This enables them to solve complex problems both in organizations and in cities.

We deliver a range of leadership programs for individuals, organizations and universities in cities across the United States. 

Legacy programs

Increasingly, Common Purpose is working with local partners in US cities, including Chicago, New York, and Boston to design and deliver Legacy Programs. These programs bring together young people in a city or country to address the question: “What will the legacy of our generation be?” Because after all, they are the generation who will shape the future. 


Chicago200 is an annual leadership program that convenes young diverse leaders from across the Chicagoland area to address the question: "What will we make our city known for by its 200th Birthday?"

Over ten years, Chicago200 aims to engage and develop 2,000 diverse leaders, who are committed to reshaping their city for the next generation.

The inaugural program took place from 24 to 27 April 2019 and was brought to you by The Chicago Community Trust in partnership with Common Purpose, with support from Chicago Public Media, University of Chicago, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, City Colleges of Chicago, Chicago Votes, Northern Trust, 1871 and Civitas Child Law Center, Loyola University.

To find out more, click here.

Learn more about the impact our programs have on individuals, organizations and society.


Our approach to leadership development uses a robust methodology which creates lasting impact.

Find out more about Common Purpose US, our people and our governance.

Rakesh Khurana , Dean, Harvard College

"In our ever more complex and interconnected world which has no obvious historical parallel, Common Purpose has developed a breakthrough idea about the importance of Cultural Intelligence in order to navigate both this new world and its contradictions. This has important implications and raises questions about our current systems for those of us involved in educating and developing our future global citizens."