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Mayor Lightfoot announces 79 new finalists for community development grant funding

The new round of grants will support $97.8 million in neighborhood investments 

 Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announced on Monday, July 18, that nearly $50 million in Community Development Grants will support 79 economic development projects to enhance the vitality and livability of local neighborhoods.  

 Ranging from approximately $23,000 to $13.5 million, the grants will support workplace improvements involving interior and exterior renovations, building system upgrades, new construction, and other eligible expenses. Total project costs are estimated at $97.8 million. 

 “These grants invest directly in Chicago’s future by creating more resilient and economically vibrant communities across our city,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “When our local entrepreneurs have the tools they need to grow their small businesses, they can thrive and make our neighborhoods that much more livable, functional, and enjoyable. I want to congratulate each and every one of our 79 finalists, as well as thank them for helping to fulfill a need within their respective communities.” 

 Finalists were selected from approximately 600 applications based on business readiness, viability, location, design, neighborhood needs, community impact, and other factors.  

Large grant finalists include: 

  • CircEsteem, 4730 N. Sheridan Rd., Uptown 
  • National Public Housing Museum, 1322-42 W. Taylor St., Near West Side 
  • Chicago Market, 4620 N. Broadway Ave., Uptown 
  • G. Woode, 1022 W. 63rd St., Englewood 
  • Juan Teague | Batter & Berries, 5924 W. Chicago Ave., Austin 
  • Rome’s Joy Catering, 4455 S. King Dr., Grand Boulevard 
  • The Ave Café, 5249 W. Chicago Ave., Austin 
  • Yellow Banana, 10700 S. Halsted St., Morgan Park 
  • Yellow Banana, 2858 E. 83rd St., South Chicago 
  • Yellow Banana, 420 S. Pulaski Rd., West Garfield Park 
  • Yellow Banana, 4439 W. 63rd St., West Lawn 
  • Yellow Banana, 7240 S. Stony Island Ave., South Shore 
  • Yellow Banana, 7908 S. Halsted St., Auburn Gresham 
  • Esperanza Community Services, 520 N. Marshfield Ave., West Town 
  • Bourdeau Griffin Design Center, 8233 S. Princeton Ave., Chatham 
  • Urban Market Exchange, 525 E. 67th St., Woodlawn 

 Sixty-three small grant finalists were selected for awards of up to $250,000 each. The final design and scope of each project will be finalized in the months ahead with construction expected to be completed in the subsequent 18 to 24 months.  

 A list of all finalists, addresses, and grant amounts is available on the Department of Planning and Development’s (DPD) website.  

 Projects are located in 36 of the city’s 77 community areas across 35 wards.  

Thirty-five finalists selected are in community areas participating in Mayor Lightfoot’s INVEST South/West initiative totaling more than $20.2 million. INVEST South/West is an unprecedented community development initiative to coordinate the resources of multiple City departments, community organizations, and corporate and philanthropic partners toward 12 commercial corridors within 10 South and West Side community areas. The initiative has already marshaled over $1.4B in public and private investments that will support small businesses, create public realm improvements, restore historic buildings, and foster equity and resilience where it’s needed most. 

More than half of the awardees are food-related businesses such as restaurants, cafes, and grocery stores. They include six Yellow Banana supermarkets planned for Auburn Gresham, Morgan Park, South Chicago, South Shore, West Garfield Park, and West Lawn; the Chicago Market grocery store planned for the historic Wilson Avenue CTA station in Uptown; and the Cultivate Collective neighborhood marketplace in Garfield Ridge. 

“Recovery Grant funding helps existing and new entrepreneurs to improve neighborhoods one address at a time, creating new jobs, new destinations, and new amenities that make Chicago neighborhoods so special,” DPD Commissioner Maurice Cox said. 

 Twelve finalists provide personal or professional services, including Esperanza Community Services in West Town, The Bloc youth development center in Humboldt Park, Level Architecture Inc. in Avondale, Wonderland Child Care in Dunning, and Bourdeau Griffin Design Center in Chatham. 

 Eight finalists are arts and cultural entities, including the National Public Housing Museum planned for the historic Jane Addams Homes on the Near West Side; Facility Theatre Community Arts Space in Humboldt Park; G.O.A.T. Museum in Grand Boulevard; and En Las Tablas Performing Arts in Humboldt Park. 

 The remaining finalists include retailers, commercial office entities, and other businesses. The grants are intended to support the City’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and other forms of neighborhood disinvestment.   

 A previous round of 26 grant finalists was announced this May. The deadline to apply for a final round of grants in 2022 is August 19.  

 For more information about the Chicago Recovery Plan, finalists, and grant amounts, visit



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