Donation to expand Education Lab partnership with Chicago Public Schools

$15 million AbbVie gift to further innovative approach to evaluating and guiding policy

A transformative gift from AbbVie Pharmaceuticals announced on Nov. 16 will expand the partnership between the University of Chicago Education Lab and the Chicago Public Schools to better support Chicago’s most vulnerable youth. This $15 million gift will connect underserved students with promising programs, and will enable the Education Lab and Chicago Public Schools to co-produce evidence to guide policy and practice in Chicago and nationally.

“We are proud to continue our work with the Chicago Public Schools on innovative approaches to better serve Chicago’s students,” said Roseanna Ander, executive director of the Education Lab at the University of Chicago. “AbbVie’s support will help generate evidence about the most effective ways to close the opportunity gap and ensure that all students have the support they need to achieve their potential.”

The investment builds on AbbVie’s longstanding commitment to underserved populations, on the extraordinary strides Chicago has made in tackling pressing education policy challenges, and on the Education Lab’s partnership with the Chicago Public Schools and local nonprofits in service of local students.

The gift will further this work by expanding services and generating rigorous evidence about effective solutions, specifically targeting student populations at high risk of school dropout or violence victimization. With this support, the Education Lab will work to design, implement and test the most effective ways to narrow the opportunity gap and improve academic achievement through personalization, socio-emotional supports and ambitious efforts to re-engage students at greatest risk of dropping out.

The Education Lab partners with programs and generates evidence about how cities can improve academic achievement and attainment and ensure that all students can achieve their potential. It is directed by Jens Ludwig, the McCormick Foundation Professor at the University of Chicago and Prof. Jonathan Guryan of Northwestern University.

Launched in 2011, the Education Lab is part of UChicago’s Urban Labs, housed at the Harris School of Public Policy. The Labs work to improve human lives across the areas of crime, education, poverty, health, and energy and the environment.

The Education Lab is one of three nonprofits serving Chicago’s students to receive a donation from AbbVie, including Communities in Schools, the nation’s largest organization dedicated to empowering at-risk students; and City Year, which recruits AmeriCorps members to serve full-time as tutors and mentors.

“A solid foundation in education can be life-changing for all children and allows them to gain the confidence and tools they need to recognize that their potential is limitless and their futures are bright, irrespective of where they grow up,” said Laura Schumacher, executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of AbbVie. “We are stepping up for children in our backyard of Chicago and across the nation by elevating the missions of our three new partners, who have demonstrated how their programs make a deep impact for students.”

With this support, the Education Lab and the Chicago Public Schools will work to leverage local innovation, data and evidence to ensure that every student in Chicago has the support they need to succeed in school and achieve their potential.