Benefit Chicago is a new collaboration that aims to mobilize $100 million in impact investments for nonprofits and social enterprises working throughout the Chicago, Illinois region. Its primary backers are The Chicago Community Trust (CCT), the MacArthur Foundation, and the Calvert Foundation.
Benefit Chicago is a long-term initiative with a rolling application process. There is no deadline for submissions. Applications will be evaluated based on eligibility, creditworthiness and the potential for the capital to contribute toward a positive impact that would not otherwise be possible.
Benefit Chicago is designed to provide financing to:
- Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and other nonprofit financial intermediaries that lend and invest in low-income areas,
- Nonprofit organizations looking to expand their reach, and
- Businesses that have a clear social purpose based on their mission and operations (i.e., social enterprises).
Research commissioned by MacArthur and The Chicago Community Trust and summarized in a new report found a significant unmet need for financial capital throughout Chicago’s social sector. The scale of need totals more than $100 million and could rise to as much as $400 million over the next five years, although not all organizations that need capital will be immediately investment-ready.
At the same time, this research reveals a rising number of individuals and institutions looking for more efficient ways to make local investments that have potential to deliver meaningful social, economic and environmental impact.
Benefit Chicago is designed to bridge the gap between these two sides of the region’s nascent impact investment marketplace, unlocking new financial resources for organizations whose work benefits the communities and people that need them most.