Salute to Alex Linares! Great Cities will miss him and wishes him the best.

Salute to Alex Linares!

Great Cities Institute (GCI) staff member Alex Linares is transitioning GCI to work for IFF, a community development financial institution. Alex Linares’ last day with the Great Cities Institute was on January 16th. We wish him well as he embarks on his next career move.

Alex Linares has been a key team member of GCI’s Participatory Budgeting (PB) work in Chicago. Initially starting with PB in Schools, he then went on to collaborate with the 1st, 30th, 35th, 36th, and 39th wards in providing technical assistance during each phase of PB. He implemented trainings for volunteers, assisted ward subcommittees during proposal development, and set-up the online voting for wards via the PB Platform.

He was also a project member for GCI’s Latino Research Initiative. Some of the projects and reports on which he worked for the Latino Research Initiative include Who Lives in Pilsen: The Trajectory of Gentrification 2000-2020, the Western Suburban Latino Communities Microsite, the Latinos in the Suburbs: Challenges and Opportunities report produced with the Latino Policy Forum and Metropolitan Planning Council, and the 2024 Raíces Conference Report for the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus (ILLCF). Last year, Alex also presented at the Illinois Welcoming Center Learning Symposium, the Unidos US conference, the Raíces Conference for ILLCF, and the Latino Research Initiative Launch at GCI.

Along with PB and the Latino Research Initiative, Alex has collaborated on various reports for GCI partners including Policy Recommendations for Amendments to the State of Illinois Worker Cooperative Statute, the North Lawndale Service Area Databook and Making it Count: Documenting and Building the Civic Infrastructure for the Illinois 2020 Census Program.

Alex was central to GCI’s work with several universities across the country on the role of community engagement in student success and was a co-author of the “Effects of Service-Learning and Community Engagement Programs on the Academic Outcomes of Undergraduate Students: A Focus on Underrepresented Students,” which was published in Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement in September 2023.

Alex would like to thank all the project partners from PB to the Latino Research Initiative and more as he worked together with partners and GCI staff to implement GCI’s mission to link academic resources to address urban issues via research, policy analysis, and program development. We have a great deal of respect for Alex and will miss him. If you need to reach Alex, he can be emailed at