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We Rise Together grants direct more than $7 million to real estate projects worth $198 million in Chicago’s disinvested communities  

Projects will bring a wide range of services and amenities to communities, including healthcare, childcare, retail, and recreational facilities, with some projects structured to build in community ownership  

March 4, 2024 

(Chicago …) We Rise Together: For an Equitable & Just Recovery, a funders collaborative that supports thriving local economies and a stronger Chicago, has awarded more than $7 million in grants to eight development projects in long-disinvested Chicago communities, bringing total grantmaking for the initiative to nearly $46 million since September 2021. 

The eight awarded projects will improve healthcare and childcare options, bring new retail and sit-down restaurants to communities, create recreational and community gathering spaces, and more. Some of the grants will support innovative community ownership models, helping to build community wealth.  

With these projects, We Rise Together has invested in some 40 real estate developments in the past two-and-a-half years. Thirteen of these projects have already opened their doors, and many others have broken ground and are under construction.  

We Rise Together complements its real estate investments with support for organizations working in the same neighborhoods to strengthen Black and Latinx-owned small businesses and increase quality, resilient employment. The initiative has made $7.5 million in grants to organizations that support small business development and workforce development.  

One of the new grants will support a food hub in Englewood, bringing two new restaurants to the neighborhood, which currently has no sit-down restaurant options. The development also will have a training kitchen that food entrepreneurs can use to develop and launch their offerings. 

“It is E.G. Woode’s mission and privilege to help entrepreneurs realize their business dreams. This grant is an incredible opportunity to help not only Englewood Kitchen get their food incubator program off the ground, but also help all of the aspiring food entrepreneurs that they will be supporting,” said Deon Lucas, member, E.G. Woode. 

“We are thrilled to support another set of real estate projects that will bring new amenities and services to communities, create new gathering spaces, and help anchor and attract additional economic growth,” said Christen Wiggins, program director, We Rise Together. “We’re also excited to explore ways for communities to secure and retain long-term ownership of some of these projects, contributing to community wealth.”   

We Rise Together awarded grants in February to the following eight projects:   

Rooted and Rising, Back of the Yards, $500,000: Led by Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council, Rooted and Rising will be a $69 million mixed-use development at 4630 S. Ashland Ave. and 4615 S. Marshfield Ave. that will convert an abandoned commercial space into a modern and welcoming family hub. The development will include 99 units of affordable rental housing for neighborhood families and individuals, a performing arts center, three community-based service providers, a new Chicago Public Library Branch, and a federal qualified health center, as well a retail space.  

E.G. Woode Food Hub, Englewood, $500,000: Located at 1022 W. 63rd St., this $7.1 million, 9,000 sq. ft. development will renovate an existing building to house emerging food entrepreneurs from Englewood, providing access to two new sit-down restaurants and a training kitchen for aspiring food entrepreneurs to prepare for their launch. Planned tenants will include Pass the Peas, Englewood Kitchen, and Ellie’s Urban Grill. The space is developed and owned by minority-led company E.G. Woode, L3C, which builds thriving neighborhoods of color through collectively owned real estate development and entrepreneurship. 

Alivio Medical Center, Garfield Ridge, $1.25 million: This project will bring a bilingual and bicultural health center to the greater LeClaire Courts Redevelopment Project at Mosaic Square, on the 4400 block of S. Cicero Avenue, led by Alivio Medical Center. Services will include primary and preventative care across the lifespan, behavioral health, internal medicine, an urgent care center, full-service pharmacy, dental care, community education and outreach, benefits enrollment, and other supportive services.  

Carole Robertson Center for Learning, Little Village, $750,000: To build on more than 45 years of service, Carole Robertson Center for Learning will renovate their flagship site at 2929 W. 19th St. The site includes 40,000 sq. ft. of indoor space and 40,000 sq. ft. of outdoor space, with 23 classrooms that serve more than 300 participants.  

Pullman Hotel, Pullman, $1 million: A new Hampton Inn by Hilton, to be developed near 111th Street and Doty Avenue, will provide high-quality lodging for this burgeoning tourism area of Chicago that is home to the Pullman National Historic Park and numerous related sites. The We Rise Together grant will be structured as an equity-like investment by Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives into the project, which is owned and operated by a Black-led group of entrepreneurs who are also native South Siders. 

Starling, North Lawndale, $650,000: Led by Duo Development, this 6,000 sq. ft. indoor-outdoor development at 3243 W. 16th St. will feature a café and flexible spaces for residents and organizations to lease on a short-term basis, as well as free communal space for people to gather. Slated to open in fall 2024, the project will share profits with neighbors and foster collective ownership.  

Fillmore Center, North Lawndale, $1.25 million: This project will redevelop a 110-year-old, five-story, 168,000 sq. ft. building at 4100 W. Fillmore St. to create space for anchor tenant Fillmore Linen Services, a 45,000 sq. ft. commercial laundry facility, and for various small businesses including a coffee roastery and a wholesale flower distributor. The building will ultimately be placed into a Community Benefit Trust enabling local residents to own the building at the end of the compliance period. 

The Robert R. McCormick Leadership and Economic Opportunity Center, Woodlawn, $1.25 million: Led by Project H.O.O.D., this new three-story, 85,000 sq. ft. mixed-use center at 6615 S. King Dr. will be a hub for a range of retail amenities and community services, including restaurants, banking, an urgent care facility, a trade school, and recreational facilities including an Olympic-sized pool.  

About We Rise Together    
We Rise Together: For an Equitable & Just Recovery is a funders collaborative of more than 160 corporate, philanthropic, and individual donors making focused investments with and in long-disinvested Black and Latinx neighborhoods hit hardest by the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed how chronic disinvestment exacerbated health and economic risks and left communities of color uniquely vulnerable. In response, this five-year initiative, which made its first grants in September 2021, is developing a model for hyper-local community reinvestment at scale by making grants, transforming business practices, and changing policies to support investment in disinvested neighborhoods, strengthen Black and Latinx businesses, and increase quality, resilient employment.   

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