Witnessing the Impact of Chicago Community Loan Fund
June 17, 2015
Our partner Chicago Community Loan Fund (CCLF) held their annual stakeholder meeting this past Tuesday, bringing together their staff, board members, investors, and supporters.
We’ve been investing in CCLF for the past 12 years to support their mission to encourage community redevelopment and neighborhood revitalization in underserved areas of Chicago through financing.
Following a review of CCLF’s 2014 milestones, financial performance and social impact outcomes, we piled into a bus to tour some of the projects and businesses that receive financing from CCLF.
First we visited Bethel New Life, a pioneering community development organization in Chicago’s West Side. Decades of divestment in the area led to high unemployment and poverty, but the area is rebounding, and Bethel New Life is providing business development training, education programs, and senior housing to facilitate that. We got a tour of their small business development center, including their 3-D printing equipment for entrepreneurs.
Next was a tour through the Humboldt Park West corridor, where we learned about the Development Council’s efforts to create a vibrant retail and residential neighborhood. One of the best success stories in the neighborhood is Turkey Chop, a sit down restaurant serving healthy turkey-themed dishes. It’s one of the few healthy food options in the corridor, and gives back in the community by serving more than 700 people at their weekly soup kitchen.
Finally we headed to the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture (NMPRAC). A former 18th century stable for wealthy patrons to park their horses as they enjoyed Humboldt Park, NMPRAC is devoted to the promotion, integration and advancement of Puerto Rican arts and culture. They received a grant from the city government to partially finance the renovation of the historic space, and CCLF stepped in to get them over the finish line. The museum opened in 2009 and features an art gallery, special events, and mixed-use space.
All in all, it was a great sample of the diverse and high-impact projects that CCLF is financing in Chicago. As an investor of CCLF, we’re proud to be a part of their continuing success.
Inspired by these stories? Invest to help small businesses transform their communities.