Same Hive, New Steward

The Headline

In January 2018, stewardship of the Hive Chicago Learning Network will transition from Mozilla to a new local non-profit dedicated to connected learning and digital equity. That new non-profit is called the Chicago Learning Exchange (CLX).

The Hive will still be the Hive. It remains a member-driven network, operating as one program of the new org, CLX.

As we shared with a room of nearly 90 people at our November meetup, below are the details about what’s happening, why, and what’s next.

What’s Happening?

While the stewarding organization is changing, this is not the first time for this kind of change. Hive Chicago was first stewarded by DePaul University from 2009 to 2013, then by Mozilla from 2013 to 2017, and now by CLX as of 2018. Throughout these transitions the network remains a strategic partnership between the network’s organizations and the staff.

We use the term “steward” to refer to the organization that employs the staff of the network because Hive Chicago is a strategic partnership between the network staff and the network organizations–its members and allies. Stewardship of a member-driven network is a partnership.

In 2018 the current structure above will evolve to a new structure below.

As illustrated above, CLX will bring together three strands of work:

    • LRNG: CHI - a digital badging platform for the development of pathways connect9ing learning experiences to future academic, programmatic, and career opportunities.
    • Grantmaking - funding to support programmatic innovation by youth-serving educators and organizations, and support for illuminating research.
    • Hive Chicago - a peer learning community for innovation in education, using technology to increase engagement in and broaden access to teen learning opportunities.

So what is the Chicago Learning Exchange? And Why Exchange?

We know that learning happens everywhere and that it is most relevant when it’s active, production-oriented and shared with peers (see So, learning is a continuous exchange of knowledge that can happen anywhere, among anyone. Under CLX, we will continue to bring people together to participate in an active exchange of insight and innovation.

The mission of the Chicago Learning Exchange is

To inspire and support innovation
that equips digital-age learners and leaders
to close Chicago’s opportunity gap.

CLX is committed to values that resonate with the Hive Network:

  • Equity
  • Innovation
  • Collaboration and Partnership
  • Focus on Impact
  • Respect

Over the next few months, CLX will actively engage our stakeholder communities as we develop a strategic plan that refines how CLX’s programs and partnerships can achieve this mission.

The work of this new organization will be moved forward by a committed team. In the short term, while we await our non-profit designation, the CLX team will be employees of The Chicago Community Trust. Once our 501c3 status is obtained, the team will move to CLX and add a sixth full-time member early in 2018. See below for information about the part-time consultant being hired in the meantime.

All CLX staff, not only the Network Manager, will be a resource to the network. Once the Network Manager position is filled, Hive members should feel like the network is now supported by six full-time staff, not just four.

For info about CLX, email us at, or contact us individually at:

Firm Foundation for the Future

While we have funding support into 2019, strategic fundraising will be an important priority of the organization.

The future of this work is made possible through the ongoing support of our core funding partners at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, and the Mozilla Foundation. We are also grateful for the support of funding partners who have helped us bring our work this far, including the Susan Crown Exchange (SCE), the Illinois Science and Energy Innovation Foundation (ISEIF), the Burberry Foundation, and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Why Now? What’s the Context for This Change?

For years Hive Chicago has been in conversations with our partners about how to ensure the long-term sustainability and impact of our shared work. We now have a moment of opportunity to realize this vision.

The Mozilla Foundation is spinning out or winding down Hive Networks and Clubs initiatives. While Mozilla will remain active in web literacy work through fellowships, research, and curriculum, it will no longer directly run local, on-the-ground programs. This will impact Mozilla-run Hive and Gigabit networks in other cities including Hive Toronto and Hive NYC in 2017 and Gigabit Hives in Austin, Chattanooga, Eugene, Kansas City and Lafayette in 2018.

There are two reasons for this decision: external funding for these programs through Mozilla is ending, in particular large multi-year grants from MacArthur and National Science Foundation; and Mozilla is sharpening its focus on Internet health and advocacy, which makes it impossible to sustain direct, on-the-ground web literacy programs, especially without outside funding.

What’s Next?

Ongoing Support for Hive Member Work

With CLX as Hive’s new steward, Hive members can expect sustained support for our shared work. Specifically we will continue support for:

  • Hive RFP
  • Monthly Meetups
  • Membership
  • Professional Development
  • Moonshot Working Groups