Our Mission

Umoja equips young people to succeed in college and confidently claim their future. 

Umoja's founder, Lila, with students

We do this by building a web of dynamic relationships that brings together schools, families and community partners to bridge the gap between the talents and ambitions of low-income youth and the resources they need to thrive. 

Umoja believes that education is the great equalizer. If we as a community are serious about Chicago standing as a competitive global city, then we must be equally serious about educating each and every one of our young people in every Chicago neighborhood.     

Umoja's Key Beliefs

Umoja is committed to:

  • A holistic youth-centered model
  • Purposeful relationships with young people 
  • Improving adult knowledge and skills as a key lever in increasing student outcomes
  • Thought leadership and support to principals, counselors and teachers 
  • High expectations for students, teachers and administrators
  • Measurable outcomes 
  • Recruiting and retaining high quality staff and volunteers 
  • Engaging the business community in support of young people and schools
Learn more about Umoja's name and its meaning

Watch a video about Umoja: