News / Grantmaking Opportunities + Updates

CLX Invests $100,000 to Advance Digital Equity in Learning

The Chicago Learning Exchange (CLX) is excited to build on the eight-year legacy of the Hive Chicago Fund for Connected Learning and Hive Chicago Learning Network, and further its commitment to ensuring all youth--not just those with means--have opportunities to engage in hands-on, digital learning. Since CLX’s purview now extends beyond the Hive network, organizations engaged in work across all CLX programs were eligible to apply to its first Request for Proposals (RFP).

The inaugural CLX RFP challenged organizations to create hands-on, engaging programs or spaces that inspire learners to pursue their interests as well as develop skills using digital media tools and technologies. CLX partners answered the call loud and clear with close to $200,000 in requests.

CLX is supporting nine collaborative projects totaling $100,000. Projects selected to receive CLX funding encourage learners to pursue their interests while gaining “hard” digital skills as well as “soft” 21st-century competencies such as creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking.

According to the World Economic Forum, creativity will be the most important and in-demand skill for employees by 2020. Although we know that the purpose of education is not solely for employment, these skills are valuable. And, they are often acquired and developed through high-quality out-of-school time providers like CLX partners.

Sana Jafri, Program Officer for Chicago Learning Exchange

For example, inspired by NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts, Yollocalli Arts Reach and Public Media Institute will create the La Mesita program, which will train youth radio journalists and bring Chicago youth musicians to Yollocalli Studio Y, for live performances and interviews which will be broadcast on the weekly Wattz Up! radio show. Through the La Mesita program, youth will build communication and creativity skills. CoderSpace and the Adler Planetarium will support students to develop leadership and computer science skills while exploring questions about outer space. Territory NFP and BUILD Chicago will take teens through an interactive design process, and develop leadership skills while creating “wayfinding” signage at landmarks within their own neighborhoods. These are a few of the many interest-driven learning opportunities that develop 21st Century and youth leadership skills supported by CLX.

The complete list of CLX supported projects is listed below:

  1. CoderSpace will receive $15,000 for the South Side Space project to support students to develop computer science skills while also exploring outer space. Partner: Adler Planetarium
  2. Convergence Design Lab at Columbia College will receive $15,000 for the Design4Democracy project to work with Senn High School teachers and students as they imagine and build an in-school student-owned space supporting engaged community journalism and design projects. Partner: Senn High School
  3. Yollocalli Arts Reach at the National Museum of Mexican Art will receive $12,500 for the La Mesita project; as part of the program, partners will train youth radio journalists and bring Chicago youth musicians to Yollocalli Studio Y for live performances and interviews that will be broadcast on the weekly Wattz Up! radio show and live streamed. Partner: Public Media Institute
  4. Mikva Challenge will receive $12,500 for the Education Equity project, which will engage youth in developing project-based curriculum around themes of community history preservation, race‑centered education struggles, and grassroots‑led Civil Rights Movements. Partner: Kartemquin Films and Media Burn
  5. Chasing23 will receive $12,500 for the T-shirt Print Shop project, which will engage 20 African American males in a series of project-based, hands-on learning activities that support character development, civic engagement, entrepreneurship, and academic persistence. Partner: Wendell Phillips Academy High School
  6. Chicago Architecture Center will receive $12,500 for the Leveraging Technology for Design Futures project that supports design and architecture focused programming for minority youth and girls in middle and high school during after‑school, weekend and summer at their downtown location and Project Exploration’s WestSide STEM Center. Partner: Project Exploration
  7. Hyde Park Neighborhood Club will receive $12,300 for the Hidden Assets project, which will employ teens as data scientists to evaluate and synthesize pieces of community-level data. Using technology, teens will learn to visualize this data to tell compelling stories and share their findings with peers, professionals, and their community. Partner: MAPScorps
  8. Territory NFP will receive $5,000 for the Walk In Our Shoes project, which will take teens through an interactive design process, and then they will lead and create “wayfinding” signage at landmarks within their own neighborhoods. Partner: BUILD Chicago
  9. Family Matters will receive $2,700 for the PhotoVoice project to introduce teens to digital storytelling in their teen programming for girls and boys. Partner: N/A

Current contributors to the Chicago Learning Exchange (CLX) include the Illinois Science & Energy Innovation Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, McCormick Foundation, Microsoft, Mozilla Foundation, and The Chicago Community Trust.