Incorporated in 2006, the mission of the Alliance is to "effect social change and public understanding of cultural diversity through first voice perspectives".
The Alliance began through partnerships with ethnic and cultural organizations established at the Cultural Connections program at the Field Museum in The Center for Cultural Understanding and Change (CCUC). The Alliance brings together ethnically grounded organizations in order to build relationships amongst the ethnic communities in Chicago, as well as asserting their existence to the wider public. Kerstin Lane, the first Alliance Board President, described the reasoning behind the creation of the organization: "a lot of people in Chicago have no idea there are little jewels of ethnic museums all over the city. When these museums can go out and tell the city, state and others, 'We exist,' then each of them will be strengthened."
The Core Members of the Chicago Cultural Alliance are:
The Partner Institutions of the Chicago Cultural Alliance are:
Former Partner Institutions of the Chicago Cultural Alliance
The Associate Members of the Chicago Cultural Alliance are:
The Alliance is currently working to develop collaborative programs and projects to provide organizational development assistance to its Core Members and establish cross-cultural creative opportunities for youth. The Alliance provides four areas of programming: capacity building for its members, cross-cultural public programs, education programs, and advocacy and outreach.
The advocacy and outreach work has included collaborating with several other Chicago-based arts and culture organizations in the Arts Power Chicago campaign to inform the 2011 Chicago mayoral candidates about the significant role that arts and culture plays in Chicago's neighborhoods and in its international image.