Community Violence Intervention

CVI Leadership Academy

Vice President Kamala Harris Recognizes the CVILA at White House Ceremony

On February 9, Vice President Kamala Harris will recognize the work of the University of Chicago Crime Lab’s Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy (CVILA) at an event that will acknowledge the accomplishments of its inaugural cohort at the White House.

The Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy is a first-of-its-kind program to train the next generation of community violence intervention leaders from across America.

Challenge

American cities are facing a public safety crisis, and the urgent day-to-day work of saving lives falls primarily to two sectors, community violence intervention organizations, and police departments, that have historically lacked investment in human capital that has transformed other sectors. The CVI sector, in particular, is facing a resource shortfall, limiting its capacity to develop leadership skills.

Opportunity

To address this challenge, the Crime Lab established the Community Safety Leadership Academies (CSLA), an initiative focused on bringing the leadership and management practices of CVI and policing into the 21st century. Composed of the Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy and the Policing Leadership Academy, CSLA brings together emerging CVI and police leaders for a rigorous education program on data-driven management, violence reduction, and community engagement. CSLA is the most ambitious and robustly evaluated public safety leadership and management training ever offered in the United States.

Project Overview

The Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy (CVILA) offers emerging leaders hands-on training on staff management and retention, data use, violence prevention and reduction, and community engagement – ensuring CVI programs turn new funding into on-the-ground impact. The coursework combines the theoretical expertise of higher education experts with the real-world knowledge of community leaders and practitioners. Its purpose is to better prepare present and future CVI leaders with the skills, information, and training required to effectively lead organizations responsible with protecting community safety. The six-month curriculum combines classroom instruction with immersive learning labs. During the first cohort, CVILA students participated in immersive learning labs in Chicago, New York, and Oakland hosted by UCAN, Life Camp, and Live Free, respectively.

Watch a recap of the CVILA Immersive Lab in Oakland, California.

A team of key community violence intervention leaders from across the country serve on the CVILA Steering Committee. These leaders helped craft a curriculum and aided in the academy’s development to provide participants with transferable skills that they can leverage to support other organizations and groups, fostering well-rounded and skilled leaders within their communities and strengthening public safety, public trust, and equal justice.

Year Started

2022 – present

Project Leads

Ashna Arora

Ashna Arora

Research Director

Rodrigo Canales

Rodrigo Canales

Kelli Questrom Associate Professor of Management and Organizations Academic Director, Social Impact Program, Questrom School of Business

Alesisia Cobb

Alesisia Cobb

Program Manager, Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy

Mark Saint

Mark Saint

Director of Curriculum and Learning

Kim Smith

Kim Smith

Director of Programs

Chico Tillmon

Chico Tillmon

Executive Director of the Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy

Arin Zwonitzer

Arin Zwonitzer

Program Fellow

Related Resources
2024 Video: Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy (CVILA) Inaugural Cohort
Video

2024 Video: Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy (CVILA) Inaugural Cohort

Feb 2024

Watch our latest video about the inaugural cohort of the CVILA.

Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy Brief
Research Brief

Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy Brief

Feb 2024

Learn more about the Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy in this brief.

Community Violence Intervention (CVI) Leadership Academy Spotlight
Video

Community Violence Intervention (CVI) Leadership Academy Spotlight

Nov 2023

Watch violence prevention experts speak to the significance of our CVI Leadership Academy in this short video.

Community Safety Leadership Academies: Brief
Project Overview

Community Safety Leadership Academies: Brief

Aug 2023

Learn more about our Community Safety Leadership Academies.

Join the CVILA!

We are pleased to announce that the University of Chicago Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy is now accepting applications for Cohort 2, scheduled for April 2024 – September 2024. Since each cohort is limited to 35 individuals, some applicants may be admitted to future cohorts, beginning in Spring 2025 or Summer 2025. Candidates are required to complete an online application, which includes two required letters of recommendation (submit here).

Applications open until February 29, 2024 at 11:59 PM CST.

Questions? Please contact our team at cvileadership@uchicago.edu or watch our information session. Click here for the recording and here for the slide deck.

Steering Committee Members

  • Shani Buggs, Ph.D., M.P.H., Assistant Professor, Violence Prevention Research Program, University of California Davis
  • Dr. Antonio Cediel, Managing Director of Live Free USA
  • Erica Ford, CEO and Founder of LIFE Camp
  • Marcus McAllister, a national violence prevention expert
  • Pastor Michael McBride, Executive Director of Live Free USA
  • Oresa Napper-Williams, Executive Director of Not Another Child
  • Anthony Smith, Executive Director of Cities United
  • Dr. Chico Tillmon, Executive Director of the CVILA, University of Chicago Crime Lab

 

Watch this short video on the significance of our CVI Leadership Academy.

 

We stand as the nation’s first university to spearhead such an initiative, directly translating our research into action to combat community violence nationwide. Our graduates are living proof that academic rigor and community leadership can converge to forge significant, life-saving change. This program is a proud example of our commitment to creating safer communities through scholarly excellence and practical application.

Paul Alivisatos

University of Chicago President

Every time you make sure that we address the gun violence crisis not just from the angle of public safety—but also from the angle of public health—the work these graduates are doing will saves lives.

Wes Moore

Maryland Governor

Headshot of ‘Crime Lab’ staff person

Thanks to CVILA’s leadership education, our graduates are primed to implement sustainable CVI solutions, paving the way for healthy, thriving communities.

Dr. Chico Tillmon

CVILA Executive Director

Program benefits

  • A 6-month CVI executive leadership development and management certifi­cate program.
  • 1 week per month of in-person learning; travel required.
  • Instruction delivered by university faculty, non-profit, public sector, and private sector leaders.
  • Learning alongside a national network of CVI leaders.
  • Access to mentors and executive coaches to guide your personal development and organizational growth.
  • Participation is free for those selected; the full cost of the program, including travel and tuition expenses, will be covered by the University of Chicago.

Eligibility

  • Minimum five years of experience in the field of CVI.
  • Currently hold a senior or executive-level position within a community-based CVI organization that serves Black and Brown Communities disproportionately impacted by gun violence.
  • While there is no minimum educational level requirement, candidates must demonstrate a high degree of motivation and interest in enhancing their leadership skills and the impact of their work.
  • Demonstrated experience implementing CVI strategies in alignment with the values and principles embraced by the CVI Academy.
  • Commitment of support from current place of employment. It is preferred that candidates come from an organization with an annual budget of at least $300,000 and a minimum of three employees.

Modules

  • Personal & Organizational Leadership
  • Strategic Decision Making
  • Building Healthy Communities
  • Community Violence Intervention Strategies
  • Community Engagement
  • Operations & Management + Capstone Presentations

View a gallery of photos from the inaugural cohort of the CVILA.

Erica Ford, CEO and Founder of LIFE Camp and Pastor Michael McBride, Executive Director of Live Free USA speak at the CVILA launch event.
CVILA students attending their first day of class.
CVILA students attend an immersive experience at one of our partner sites.

Latest Updates

A New Way To Address Gun Violence You’ve Never Heard Of | Opinion
Op-Ed
Newsweek
Feb 2024

A New Way To Address Gun Violence You’ve Never Heard Of | Opinion

Former Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department Charlie Beck, Crime Lab Faculty Director Jens Ludwig, and CVILA Executive Director Dr. Chico Tillmon penned this Newsweek op-ed on the importance of raising awareness about community violence interventions and how they can be used to continue the gun violence reduction trends we saw in 2023.

Vice President Kamala Harris Recognizes the CVILA at White House Ceremony
Event
White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention
Feb 2024

Vice President Kamala Harris Recognizes the CVILA at White House Ceremony

On February 9, 2024 Vice President Kamala Harris recognized the work of the University of Chicago Crime Lab’s Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy (CVILA) at an event that will acknowledged the accomplishments of its inaugural cohort at the White House.

Exclusive: Biden White House readies week of events on combatting gun violence
Media Mention
USA Today
Feb 2024

Exclusive: Biden White House readies week of events on combatting gun violence

In this exclusive by USA Today, Joey Garrison writes about The White House recognizing this week as Community Violence Awareness Week and the planned series of events which culminate with a White House ceremony to honor the 31 graduates of the inaugural cohort from the Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy.