POWER-PAC IL is a cross-cultural, statewide membership organization of COFI-trained parents whose mission is to build the voice and power of low-income, immigrant, and working families by uniting parents across race and community around issues of importance to children and families.

Established in 2003 by COFI-trained parents, POWER-PAC (Parents Organized to Win, Educate, and Renew – Policy Action Council) was born out of the vision of a formal coalition of COFI-trained leaders. The name was formally changed to POWER-PAC, Illinois (POWER-PAC IL) in 2017 to reflect the organization’s growth statewide. 

Hailing from Chicago (including the neighborhoods of Austin, Englewood, Garfield Park, Hermosa, Humboldt Park, Kenwood, Little Village, North Lawndale, Pilsen, Washington Park, West Lawn, West Town, Woodlawn, and others), Aurora, East St. Louis, Elgin, and Evanston, parent leaders work side-by-side to influence, advocate for, and enact powerful change. 

POWER-PAC IL is The COFI Way in action.

Trained and supported by COFI, POWER-PAC IL is parent-led and parent-powered. Together, parent leaders have won hundreds of important victories for low-income families across the state. Over the years, POWER-PAC IL has:

  • Won $2.5 million in state funding

    to launch Children’s Savings Accounts for all Illinois families

  • An icon of a home with a heart inside

    Connected with 1,000 families

    to conduct a statewide trauma healing and mental health survey

  • Icon of a person

    Increased early childhood funding by 10%

    and extended eligibility for families to receive Early Intervention services

  • Eliminated 82% of School Resource Officers (police)

    in CPS high schools and $3.8 million reinvested in budget toward alternative supports

  • Expanded Earned Income Credit for 4.5 million families

    including immigrants who file taxes, ensuring that many more will see annual financial relief during tax season

  • Formed the agenda at over 160 local and national tables

    and ensured that expert parent voices are represented and heard

A group of parent leaders in matching blue shirts gather around a table , smiling at each other
Photo by Melissa Fox

Parents take charge on issues that matter

POWER-PAC IL leaders work on four issue campaigns that impact families in Chicago and across the state.

An African-American woman and Latina woman in blue POWER-PAC IL shirts speak during a press conference
Early Learning Campaign

Ensuring universal and equitable access for all of Illinois’ youngest generations to high-quality early childhood programs, enabling them to succeed and thrive later in life. Learn more.

A Latina mother stands in front of a gate
Elementary Justice Campaign

Breaking the cycle of criminalization of low-income youth of color by eliminating unnecessarily punitive discipline policies and practices in schools. Learn more.

A group of African-American women wearing green shirts that say End Hunger Now stand in front of a government building
Health, Food, and Recess Campaign

Addressing health disparities for children and families of color such as vastly improving access to nutritious food in schools, winning the return of recess to elementary schools, and mental health/trauma resources for children and families. Learn more.

A Latina mother and US senator stand in front of a swimming pool. The woman is holding a sign that says Child Checks Keep Families Afloat.
Stepping Out of Poverty Campaign

Decreasing the racial wealth gap by reducing or eliminating harmful fees and fines that mire low-income families in debt and winning asset building resources such as Children’s Savings Accounts and Guaranteed Basic Income. Learn more.

But first, parents tackle change on a local level

Before starting with POWER-PAC IL, new participants work with experienced leaders at the neighborhood level, and in the process begin to utilize what they’ve learned in COFI training. Working together in parent teams, with ongoing training and support, they put The COFI Way into practice and see firsthand the difference they can make, together, in their communities.

Learn more

Banner photo by Melissa Fox