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The Academy Group

  • The Academy Group
  • 222 N. Canal Street
  • Chicago, IL 60606
  • 312-964-0041

Program Description

The Academy Group is a unique, new enterprise founded to realize the long-term potential of young people from underserved communities across the United States. Designed to tap into the deep wells of often overlooked talent that exists nationwide, the Academy Group empowers youth to thrive in school, work and life.

The newly established enterprise identifies and invests in young people, supporting their full academic journey from elementary school, through high school and college and into their careers. The Academy Group offers top-tier academic programming designed to accelerate growth and support success in school and college, as well as immersive career training and personalized leadership development.

Ultimately, the Academy Group aims to generate a new class of innovators and leaders by delivering long-term opportunities for exceptional young people to own, operate and create successful companies across multiple sectors.

Co-founded and led by respected educators Shayne Evans and Timothy Knowles, the Academy Group is built on a sustainable business model that aligns the commercial and social sectors. The Academy Group takes ownership stakes in a diverse portfolio of commercial companies. The earned revenue generated from the Academy Group Companies and Partners funds the education programs, provide apprenticeships for students in high school and college, and create employment opportunities to Academy Group graduates.

"Everyone deserves to have the access, support and experiences needed to succeed in the careers of their dreams," said Shayne Evans, Managing Partner of the Academy Group. "Far too often, hard work and achievement do not ensure success for young people in our nation's most underserved communities. The Academy Group is designed to change that and make America a nation where anyone can truly rise - no matter where their journey begins.

Students entering the Academy Group in elementary school are selected randomly by lottery, while those joining in high school are based on prior academic background. In return, the Academy Group guarantees a pathway to professional employment to all of its students who fulfill requirements and successfully graduate from college.

The Academy Group launched its pilot program for students from Chicago's South and West Sides in the summer of 2017. The Chicago Academy will grow to 1,000 students.

Academy Group Programs occur during the summer, after school, on weekends and virtually. Academy Group Students have access to top-tier academic programs, including individualized tutoring, challenging seminars and leadership development. Rigorous academics are coupled with unparalleled access to business leaders, executive mentors and paid internships in leading industries. The Academy Group also provide essential supports including college counseling, academic advising and college scholarships.

"The Academy Group will educate a new generation of change agents and leaders to make a lasting impact in Chicago and across the nation," said Timothy Knowles, Managing Partner of the Academy Group. "As we do so, we will build a model for how the commercial and social sectors can partner to create robust paths to success for thousands of young people."

Backed by a consortium of investors, the Academy Group continues to build its growing portfolio of Academy Group Companies and expand its world-class team of educators, mentors and staff. Over the next decade, the Academy Group will establish programs in cities across the nation, serving up to 20,000 young people.

Services Provided

  • Academic enrichment/tutoring/study skills
  • College admissions guidance and counseling
  • College transition and retention support
  • Leadership development
  • Scholarships and last-dollar grants
  • Science, tech, engineering, & math (STEM)


Education Level and
Number of Students

  • High School: 33
  • Middle School: 0
  • Elementary School: 0
  • Post-secondary: 0
  • Non-traditional: 0

Populations Served

  • Academically At-risk


  • Less than 25%