Who We Are


Rob Paral

Rob Paral is a writer, analyst and communicator with many years of experience working in community development, human services, and immigrant integration. Rob is principal of Rob Paral and Associates, a consulting firm that helps philanthropic foundations, service organizations and government agencies understand the communities they serve through applied research methods.

Prior to establishing Rob Paral and Associates in 1998, Rob was Research Director at the Latino Institute in Chicago, and was the Senior Research Associate of the Washington, DC office of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. He has held research fellowships at the American Immigration Law Foundation, the Institute for Latino Studies at Notre Dame University, and Roosevelt University in Chicago. He has been a visiting scholar at DePaul University. Rob is currently a Non-Resident Fellow in the Global Cities Program of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Jim Lewis, Senior Associate

Jim Lewis brings over 25 years of experience analyzing, writing about, and actively engaging a variety of social policy issues. He was a principal investigator on Northwestern University’s Illinois Families Study, the official evaluation of welfare reform in Illinois, was the City of Chicago’s statistical consultant on three of its point-in- time counts of homeless persons, and provided expert testimony and affidavits in 1990s federal redistricting litigation regarding the Chicago Ward and Illinois Congressional remaps. Dr. Lewis has conducted program evaluations dealing with high school reform, insurance industry innovation, public housing relocation and workforce development.

Dr. Lewis has held the positions of Vice President for Research and Planning at the Chicago Urban League, Director of the Institute for Metropolitan Affairs at Roosevelt University, where he also taught urban studies and research methods, and Senior Program Officer and Director of Research and Evaluation for the Chicago Community Trust where he headed grant-making in human services, workforce development, policy advocacy and organization mergers.

Dr. Lewis holds his Ph.D. from Northwestern University in American History and has an appointment as a senior researcher in the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Lewis’ expertise includes statistics and modeling, survey design and interpretation, program evaluation, indicator and metrics systems design, and policy analysis.