Partnerships

Allies for Community Business works with public, private, and nonprofit partners to invest in underserved communities.

Public Partners

State of Illinois

In 2020, with the Department of Commerce and Economic Development and a number of other nonprofits, we administered the Hospitality Grant, Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan, and Business Interruption Grant programs. Through these pandemic response programs we provided 10,000 small businesses with over $300 million in grants and loans to help stabilize their businesses.

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City of Chicago

In 2020, with the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection and a number of other nonprofits, we administered the Together Now grant, Hospitality grant, and Small Business Resiliency Fund programs. Through these pandemic response programs we provided over 9,000 small businesses with over $45 million in grants and loans to help stabilize their businesses.

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Cook County

In 2020, with the Bureau of Economic Development and a number of other nonprofits, we supported the Resiliency Fund and Coaching/TA programs. Through these pandemic response programs we provided over 200 small businesses with approximately $3 million in grants and loans to help stabilize their businesses.

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Will County

In 2020, with the County and Bronner Group, we administered an emergency pandemic response grant program through which we provided nearly 1500 small businesses with over $20 million to help stabilize their businesses.

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Lake County

In 2020, with the County and Lake County Partners, we administered an emergency pandemic response grant program through which we provided over 1200 small businesses with over $17 million to help stabilize their businesses.

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City of South Bend

In 2020, with the City and CDFI-Friendly South Bend, we administered emergency pandemic response loan and grant programs through which we provided over 65 small businesses with nearly $500 thousand to help stabilize their businesses.

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Private and Non-Profit Partners

Neighborhood Entrepreneurship Lab

Developed in partnership with The Chicago Community Trust, the Neighborhood Entrepreneurship Lab (NEL) pairs small business owners with investors, advisors, and analysts who provide intensive mentoring as well as introductions to influential contacts within their personal networks. In addition, each entrepreneur receives a $20,000 grant to grow his or her business. In 2020 we launched our fifth cohort.

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Chicago Inclusive Growth Coalition

Allies for Community Business co-leads a collaboration of more than 30 business support organizations called the Chicago Inclusive Growth Coalition. The coalition meets quarterly to share best practices and ideas on how we can work together to improve the ecosystem for underserved entrepreneurs in Chicago’s neighborhoods.

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Entrepreneurs of Color Fund

Through this fund, Allies for Community Business and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) provide capital and coaching to small businesses on Chicago’s South and West Sides to stimulate economic growth. The program was launched in July 2018 with support from JPMorgan Chase and Fifth Third Bank, and has grown through additional support from First Midwest Bank, U.S. Bank, The Coleman Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, and Providence Bank & Trust.

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West Side United

A collaboration of more than 30 organizations led by six hospital sponsors in Chicago, West Side United has partnered with JPMorgan Chase to support Chicago businesses on the West Side through a small business accelerator grants program. Allies for Community Business serves as the fiscal agent for the grant pool, and we have collectively provided grants totaling over $1 million to over 60 West Side businesses through the first three years of the program.

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Microfinance Impact Collaborative

The Microfinance Impact Collaborative works to inform, strengthen, and accelerate the efforts of US microenterprise finance organizations that are committed to significantly increasing the impact of their work. Led by the Aspen Institute and comprised of several leading microlenders from across the United States, including Allies for Community Business, Ascendus, DreamSpring, Justine PETERSEN, LiftFund, and Opportunity Fund, the collaborative provides participating organizations with a venue and mechanism for collective learning and action.

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Food:Land:Opportunity

Through Food:Land:Opportunity – Localizing the Chicago Foodshed, Allies for Community Business is providing local food and beverage entrepreneurs with the capital and coaching they need to grow their businesses, which create jobs and wealth in their communities while also contributing to a more sustainable local food system.

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Chicagoland Opportunity Zones Consortium

The Chicagoland Opportunity Zones Consortium facilitates connections through matchmaking, education, and technical support to attract investments that create jobs, build wealth, and promote equitable development in Chicago and suburban Cook County. Nearly 30 entities came together to create the Consortium, which seeks to achieve five core goals: Attract Opportunity Zone Investments, Inform and Support Community Partners, Create Jobs and Build Wealth, Transform Communities through Equitable Development, and Facilitate Lasting Partnerships.

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Entrepreneur Backed Assets (EBA) Fund

Entrepreneur Backed Assets (EBA) Fund strengthens the capacity of community-based financial institutions to lend to small businesses in low-income communities. Created by the Aspen Institute and the Microfinance Impact Collaborative (of which A4CB is a founding member), the fund created and operates a secondary market for loans originated by community-based microlenders like A4CB. It was launched with initial grant funding from the Citi Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights

Through this partnership, Allies for Community Business will help community business owners who require legal assistance to prepare for, and then work with, a pro bono attorney to handle pressing legal matters. Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights are civil rights lawyers and advocates working to secure racial equity and economic opportunity for all. They provide legal representation through partnerships with the private bar, and collaborate with grassroots organizations and other advocacy groups to implement community-based solutions that advance civil rights.

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