In 1894 a group led by several of Chicago’s most prominent citizens, including Jane Addams, Bertha Palmer and Lyman J. Gage, coalesced around a serious issue: the need to address deep concerns about the city’s economic, political and moral climate at the end of the 19th century. The resulting organization, called the Civic Federation, evolved during the 20th century to become a leading advocate for governmental fiscal responsibility and an effective champion of rational tax policy. The work of the Federation continues to evolve in the 21st century as a greater emphasis is placed on working with government officials to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of Chicago-area governments.
The Civic Federation’s new research institute, the Institute for Illinois’ Fiscal Sustainability (IIFS), began its work in 2008 thanks to a generous grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The Institute’s mission is to improve the State’s decision-making process by providing timely fiscal policy analysis and recommendations to State officials, the media, and the public through education and digital outreach. Visit the IIFS section of this website.