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Chicago Early Engagement Leadership Initiative (CEELI)

The CEELI Community of Practice (CoP) is a groundbreaking initiative in North America by virtue of its scope and outcome measures. 

Launched in 2014 and supported by the Chicago-based Crown Family Philanthropies, the project was framed in a holistic, integrative approach, recognizing that Jewish Early Childhood Centers must demonstrate excellence in compelling ways in order to remain competitive and relevant.  Common issues are identified and addressed in a collaborative, multi-faceted manner.

The composition of the cohort is unusual in that it is cross-denominational, encompassing twelve ECCs from legacy organizations, various synagogue movements and independent entities. This leads to the breakdown of competitive silos to encourage strategic innovation and problem solving across the greater community. Each leadership team includes lay leaders as well as professional staff. The lay leaders provide essential support, advocacy and a perspective from outside of the trenches.

CEELI's demand for excellence acknowledges that ECCs must demonstrate distinction across all outcome areas to sustain long-term viability.  The twelve teams understand the necessity of collaborative approaches to efficiently and effectively meet strategic challenges faced in today’s competitive early childhood marketplace.

The URJ provides professional expertise in marketing, business and sales development, technology, marketing, social media, branding, pediatrics and child development.

CEELI's collaborative approach has been instrumental in informing the framework for the 2015 cohort of CoPs.

For more information, contact Susan Zukrow at (312) 259-4493 or SZukrow@urj.org