The Chicago Debate Commission moves into a new era with a new name, Chicago Debates

Today the Chicago Debate Commission revealed its new name and logo, officially relaunching the organization as Chicago Debates. This change is the result of strategic efforts and a vision to rebrand the organization to better reflect who they are and the youth they serve.

The organization worked with Mark Drozd and his team at EPIC, a 501c3 organization from the ad and design community who create pro bono marketing and brand solutions for Chicago-based nonprofits to make social change happen.

“We found EPIC at a time when we felt like we’d outgrown our name,” explains Willa Voss, Chicago Debates’ Development and Communications Manager. “It was important for us that we have a name that better represented the energy and passion of our debaters, while capturing the unique spirit of the city we are a part of.”

At their inception in 1995, the Chicago Debate Commission was formed by a group of business and civic leaders who were passionate about finding a way to bring the benefits of debate into Chicago Public Schools. Since partnering with CPS in 1997 to launch the Chicago Debate League, the organization has grown the League from just five high schools on the south side, to the largest and most competitive urban debate league in the country. Supporting over 1600 students in 85 schools this year, including middle and high schools, they have become a national model for other urban debate leagues.

This name change comes in the middle of an expansion plan with CPS that is on track to bring debate into nearly 100 schools by 2020, as well as the recent hiring of new Executive Director, Dr. Toinette Gunn.

“I’m thrilled to join the organization at such an exciting time of growth and change,” says Dr. Gunn. “We firmly remain an organization driven by the transformational power that debate provides for young people in Chicago. Chicago Debates will persist in our mission of helping students build academic, socio-emotional, and critical life skills that position them for roles of leadership and success in whatever they go on to do.”

As part of the new brand rollout, Chicago Debates will reintroduce themselves to supporters and the public at-large through a launch party on September 27. The event is open to the public, and will include alums of the program going head to head over topics that Chicagoans have been debating for decades, like Cubs or Sox? Chicago Style Hotdogs: Ketchup or Not? Winter Parking Dibs or Not? and more.

The free event will be emceed by Mike Love, Host of The Morning Mixtape on 106.3 FM, and take place at Sanctuary in the South Loop. Visit to RSVP.