Train. Organize. Win. Training from the POWER Institute – Spring 2019

Date(s) - 05/01/19
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

GCE Lab School

Hosted by
Civic Lab

Wed, May 1, 2019  7:00 PM – 9:00 PM



Why is Chicago so corrupt? What does a community organizer do? How can you help someone run for local office? What is a TIF and how does it impact your copmmunity? Get the answers – and much MORE – at the POWER Institute’s Fall 2018 workshop series!

The CivicLab has launched the POWER Institute (People Organizing to Win, Engage & Resist) to get you TRAINED to ORGANIZE and WIN a Chicago and a world that we all deserve and can prosper in. Our trainers are super experienced in grassroots democracy with over 60 years of public campaigns between them!

Session #1 – Wednesday, February 6 – 7-9pm – “Chicago 101” – What are the basics for preparing to organize and win in a city dominated by the Democratic Machine for 75 years? Who, exactly, is Ed Burke? You will learn about the geographic and political history of Chicago from the 1800’s through the present day. The past is prologue. Learn Chicago’s past in order to change her future.

Session #2 – Wednesday, March 6 – 7-9pm – “Community Organizing 101” – Did you know Chicago is the home of modern community organizing? What does a a community organizer do? Learn the basic skills and mindsets of a community change maker. This will be a highly interactive and hands-on session as you construct a Power Matrix for a real campaign around the movement for an elected police oversight board. “Power concedes nothing without a demand!”

Session #3 – Wednesday, April 10 – 7-9pm – “Grassroots Campaigning 101 – Chicago Election Special” – What does it take to run for local office in Chicago? How do you start to think about running for office or helping others to win. This special edition of this very popular workshop will review the Chicago municipal election results. We hope to bring in a surprise guest or two!

Session #4 – Wednesday, May 1 – 7-9pm – “TIF 101 – Organizing For Economic Justice” – Did you know that Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts pulled over $493 million in property taxes out of our communities in 2017? How does this secretive program impact our communities? How can you organize around these harms? What’s the deal with the three new mega-TIFs the mayor is rushing through City Council? Learn from the TIF Illumination Project – we’ve been invited to do 75 community presentations since 2013! How powerful is this work? Watch short testimonies by community leaders who brought us to their wards here:

At this session you will learn:

– how TIFs work
– how big a deal they are in Chicago, Illinois and the uSA
– public policy issues they bring to your community
– how people are organizing around TIFs around the country

Classes will be at the GCE Lab School, 1535 N. Dayton Street. Sessions are $40 each or take all four for just $120! You can also attend three sessions for just $90 or two for $60.

All attendees will get a copy of the book with the answers – “Chicago Is Not Broke. Funding the City We Deserve” (a $15 value). Read about the book from this front page article from Gazette Chicago.

Participants at our July 2018 “Chicago 101” session said…

“Tom and Jonathan really came through! Their presentation on ‘Chicago 101’ made people mad about how Chicago works, and it made people curious, but most of all it got people engaged. This is exactly the kind of education every citizen needs in order to make meaningful change in our city. One of my favorite moments of the night was when one particularly engaged audience member literally threw her hands up and said, ‘Why doesn’t anybody teach us this stuff?’ Well, Tom and Jonathan are teaching this stuff – and I will gladly welcome them back to continue to inform, engage, and empower our community.” – Gabe Piemonte, Candidate 5th Ward Alderman

“Your ‘Chicago 101’ training was great last night!! It was the boost I needed. It reminded me of what I really care about and where I come from in terms of activism and my roots. In our activism we are working with a lot of people who have never engaged so conversation is tough because they aren’t aware of the history, there is no context. We often get caught up in nonsense and focus is lost as we try to get the newly engaged to act. Being with seasoned pros was so nice. I gained some new perspective and knowledge as well as reaffirmation of my values and goals. It was energizing and gave me some clarity, just what I needed for the burnout I’ve been feeling. I’m really looking forward to the next two sessions!” – Meaghan McAteer, Co-founder Indivisible Brookfield


These sessions are $40/person per session and all attendees will receive a copy of “Chicago Is Not Broke” and access to a private web space loaded with resources and links to more in-depth materials. Attend all four Fall sessions for only $120!

Please share this simple URL to spread the word:

Your trainers will be Jonathan Peck and Tom Tresser.

Jonathan Peck, most recently was the Development Manager for Alternatives, Inc., where he also served as the South & West Side Coordinator for Restorative Justice. He is the former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Tucson Urban League and has over 25 years experience working within the community development field facilitating projects, coalitions, and alliances at the neighborhood, citywide, regional, national and international levels. Jonathan worked as a community organizer, and later as Associate Director of the Southwest Youth Collaborative (SWYC), a Chicago based organization dedicated to the healthy development of low-income children, youth and families. Jonathan Peck has extensive experience in the international arena, most notably working on the ground in Southern Africa and Nicaragua. Jonathan has worked and visited over 15 countries across North and Latin America, Europe and Southern Africa. Mr. Peck has extensive experience as an Advisor and Consultant, providing strategic advice in the areas of organizational development, strategic planning, and nonprofit executive leadership and business management. Mr. Peck is a Master Facilitator, Organizer, Trainer, Coach and Mentor and has provided these services to over 5,000 individuals. Jonathan recently served on the Community Relations Working Group of the Police Accountability Task Force of the City of Chicago.

Tom Tresser is a civic educator and public defender. His first voter registration campaign was in 1972. In 2008 he was a co-founder of Protect Our Parks, a neighborhood effort to stop the privatization of public space in Chicago. He was a lead organizer for No Games Chicago, an all-volunteer grassroots effort that opposed Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid. In 2010 he was the Green Party candidate for Cook County Board President. With Benjamin Sugar Tom co-founded The CivicLab, a co-working space where activists, educators, coders and designers came to work, collaborate, teach, and build tools for civic engagement. Located in Chicago’s West Loop, the space operated for two eventful years closing on June 30, 2015. He is the lead organizer for the TIF Illumination Project that is investigating and explaining the impacts of Tax Increment Financing districts on a community-by-community basis. Tom is the organizer and editor for Chicago Is Not Broke. Funding the City We Deserve, which has triggered 63 public meetings across the city. That’s 63 MORE meetings than Mayor Emanuel held to discuss his 2017 and 2018 budgets! With Jonathan Peck Tom launched The POWER Institute in June of 2017.