The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced grants and impact investments totaling $26 million in support of community-driven solutions that foster economic opportunity and equity in Chicago neighborhoods.
Grants were awarded to twelve community organizations working to increase opportunity in neighborhoods that have experienced disinvestment, segregation, and isolation. They include three grants of $1 million over four years through the foundation's Vital Communities program to networks and coalitions working to promote economic development and public safety; nine grants through the foundation's Community Capital program to help community-based organizations build cash reserves, develop strategic plans, and/or invest in technology; and, as a founding member of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities (PSPC), three grants in support of proven and promising approaches to address gun violence.
In addition, the foundation will underwrite a $15 million, low-interest loan to Self-Help Ventures Fund in support of Self-Help Federal Credit Union's efforts to stabilize and grow the recently acquired operations of Seaway Bank, which historically provided banking services in African-American communities on the city's South Side.
"A more peaceful city requires urgent attention to people and places that are most affected by violence. It also demands long-term investment in organizations and efforts that get at the root causes of violence, including racial and economic inequity, disinvestment, and isolation," said MacArthur Foundation president Julia Stasch. "We want to help local leaders, organizations, and networks across the city that are tackling both with passion, persistence, creativity, and effectiveness."