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Education & Early Learning

For two decades, BPI has sought to improve the quality of public education for Chicago children, particularly those living in low- and very-low-income communities.  Over the years, our work has run the gamut from waging a constitutional challenge to fix Illinois’ unfair school funding system, to sponsoring forums for educational leaders and policy makers, to facilitating joint planning and cooperation between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Housing Authority, to partnering with schools and community stakeholders in high-poverty neighborhoods.

Today, work centers around the Altgeld-Riverdale Early Learning Initiative, which BPI launched in 2012.  This partnership of more than two dozen organizations focuses on building a comprehensive system to support children from birth to age eight and their families in the Altgeld-Riverdale community, home to CHA’s largest traditional public housing development.

Read more about the Early Learning Initiative programs

Read more about BPI’s school funding litigation efforts.


  • 2016: Pre-K to K Transitions Program involving all four Altgeld-Riverdale elementary schools and its two child-care centers is begun.
  • 2014: The Altgeld-Riverdale Parenting Program, providing free doula and home visiting services to young mothers age 21 and under is launched by BPI and the Altgeld-Riverdale Early Learning Coalition.
  • 2012: BPI introduces an early childhood learning initiative in the Altgeld Gardens/Riverdale community designed to strengthen early learning opportunities for children pre-birth to eight.
  • 2010: In collaboration with pro bono partner Sidley Austin, BPI files a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Illinois’ school funding system on the grounds that it discriminates against taxpayers living in property-poor school districts.
  • 2000: BPI spearheads the formation of The Young Women’s Leadership Charter School of Chicago for middle- and high school girls seeking a superior public education in math, science, and technology.
  • 1998: BPI launches its annual Chicago School Policy Forum series, bringing advocates, educators, and the business and philanthropic communities together to consider pressing school reform topics.
  • 1995-96: BPI plays a key role in the adoption of a formal resolution supporting small schools by the Chicago Public Schools Reform Board of Trustees. Nineteen new small schools are established.


Recipient of the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions

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