Curtis Amir Toler
Director of CVI Innovation
A Chicago native and the former leader of one of the city’s most notorious street gangs, Curtis Toler serves as Director of CVI Innovation for Chicago CRED. He is committed to impacting the culture of violence in Chicago by linking at-risk young men with chances to reset their lives through job training and permanent employment opportunities.
Before joining CRED, Curtis was a gang-intervention specialist and spokesman for the peacemakers at the Faith Community of St. Sabina Church. He worked as a lead trainer and community liaison for the National Center for Violence Interruption and as an outreach supervisor at Ceasefire. Curtis also worked as a co-creator and coach for the Chicago Peace Basketball League. The league uses the game of basketball as a tool for reshaping the mindsets of young men, encouraging them to embrace nonviolent methods to solve disagreements.
A member of the Community Justice Task Force and a Chicago Gang Historian, Curtis has received recognition from the State of Illinois Senate for his leadership efforts to bring peace to the streets, his commitment to improving the quality of life in the community, as well as for his commitment to advocating for positive changes to reduce violence in our neighborhoods. He’s also a lecturer and motivational speaker around the issues of violence at high schools, universities, and community-based organizations all over the country, and plans to create non-traditional methods of peace that can lay the foundation for a curriculum for teaching the practice of peace in urban centers struggling with gun violence.