The Chicago Community Trust has released an Open Neighborhood Investment Call for Ideas.
According to the trust, while philanthropy is generally more strategic than government and quicker to invest than private capital, responsiveness and accessibility are ongoing challenges for most foundations. An open call for ideas changes that by creating a virtual “open door” through which the trust can hear new ideas, respond more quickly to time-sensitive opportunities, and listen to new voices. The Chicago region has a robust and continually evolving community investment ecosystem. Thousands of stakeholders from across the city, region, and state collaborate every day to bring financial capital to underinvested communities using planning, catalytic assets, finance, and policy interventions. The Neighborhood Investment Open Call is looking for ideas within and across these interventions.
The Trust defines neighborhood investment as strategic investments made by, for, and with the community for the purpose of attracting and deploying socially driven financial capital. Neighborhood investment aims to improve local and regional economies where conventional market activity does not fully meet community needs. Ideas may incorporate one or more of the trust’s neighborhood investment interventions, which include the creation and implementation of place-based and issue-area plans and initiatives that advance neighborhood investment goals; the creative use of community assets that serve as catalysts for neighborhood investment; finance and development tools that facilitate neighborhood investment and ownership; and neighborhood investment policy solutions. For an idea to be invited to a full proposal it must have the potential for replication in underinvested communities and tangibly benefit communities of color.
Ideas may be submitted by those who do not work for a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization or a government entity, although for an idea to be invited for a full proposal applicants will need a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit or a government partner to serve as applicant or fiscal sponsor. Ideas that benefit the residents of Cook County, including the City of Chicago, are eligible, as are ideas with a regional focus, which may include any combination of the counties of DuPage, Lake, Kane, Kendall, McHenry, and Will, when the residents of Cook County also benefit. Ideas with a statewide or national focus are eligible when the residents of Cook County also benefit.
Letters of Inquiry will be accepted on an ongoing basis. Upon review, selected applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal.
See the Chicago Community Trust website for complete program guidelines and application instructions.