Tell us about where you grew up and tell a special high school memory. 

I’m a Chicago native from the Humboldt Park community. One of my treasured High School memories is my time as an Upward Bound participant. It was my first time leaving the city. It was the catalyst for me to see, discovery, and want more for my life and future.


Tell us a bit about the industry you are in and the work you focus on.

I work at Microsoft and am on the Philanthropies team. I focus on how Microsoft can drive community impact through grant making, digital literacy, and skilling pathways.


Share with us a special moment in your work career that shows the impact you have. 

One moment in my work career that’s demonstrated tangible impact has been winning the Customer Centricity award across Microsoft Philanthropies for identifying the best path forward with key stakeholders across the city of Chicago. It was a great moment in my Microsoft journey.


What advice do you give to women starting their careers in your industry?

Dream big. Surround yourself with other women who will spur you on. Be your biggest champion. The ones who will also serve as critical friends for you to bounce ideas off of and garner advice. For the unasked question, the answer is ALWAYS no!


woman smiling

Tell us a bit about the industry you are in and the work you focus on.

Architecture is an industry where we get to define a city’s culture and history.  We design places for people to work, learn, heal, and enjoy. My firm, APMonarch, is a Chicago based architecture firm with an ethos to design healthy buildings and equitable communities. We love design and designing for people through a lens of social and environmental responsibility.

Share with us a special moment in your work career that shows the impact you have.

My experience as an architect and small business owner, along with my journey toward professional licensure, compelled me to launch my non-profit Arquitina in 2020. Arquitina has a mission to raise the 1% of licensed Latina architects in the US while creating inclusive and equitable opportunities for women of color in the industry.

What advice do you give to women starting their careers in your industry? 

Always have mentors and sponsors that will advocate for you and help you to make advancements in your career.  Effective sponsors are those that will make introductions so you’re able to reach your full potential, publicly celebrate your accomplishments and contributions to the industry, invite you to the table and pay your worth.

What are some struggles that you have as a woman in your respective industry?  

Access to opportunities to move up in the industry are slow and limited. The wage gap also poses struggles that others do not experience. Latinas earn, on average, 54 cents for every dollar a man earns, (77 cents White Women and 64 cents for Black Women) while working the same hours in an industry that demands long hours. These are just a few factors that impact the long-term trajectory for many women in the field. By having open and transparent conversations about this we enrich the industry so much more.

Tell us about where you grew up and tell a special high school memory/story.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles and went to Santa Monica High School; high school was a lot of fun and I have friends from that time that have become like family to me. I played soccer, loved history and English, and played cello in my high school symphony orchestra. During the summer of my junior year, the orchestra toured Spain, which was amazing. We even got a chance to play at the Palau de la Música Catalana, one of the world’s most beautiful venues.


Tell us a bit about the industry you are in and the work you focus on.

I’ve been in the arts for the past 20+ years working at small community art centers, national museums, performing arts organizations, and local arts agencies. I also have two master’s degrees in art administration and urban planning, so my professional work has been largely focused on how to help individuals and communities succeed through the arts. As Commissioner at DCASE (Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events – City of Chicago), we do this by providing grants and resources to creative workers and organizations, supporting the special event and film industries, producing programs in neighborhoods and at Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center, implementing cultural policy, and running the city’s public art program.

Share with us a special moment in your work career that shows the impact you have and/or a funny moment.

I’m incredibly proud of the progress that the City and DCASE has made in the last year to support the arts and culture sector which has seen and continues to face challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, unprecedented investment in DCASE increased direct support for the arts sector from $2.7 million to $12.7 million through various grant programs. Overall, DCASE granted more than 630 grants across seven programs, a 25% increase in the total number of grants awarded in 2021. DCASE grantees are now more reflective of the city of Chicago – 60% of Individual Artists Program grantees are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) as compared to 38% in 2016; grants to BIPOC-led organizations increased by 13% over 2021 and organizations on the South and West sides increased by 6%; and grants were awarded to artists and arts organizations in all 50 wards in 2022, compared to only 35 in 2016.


What advice do you give to women starting their careers in your industry?

I’ve been fortunate throughout the course of my career to have been mentored by some of the most talented and influential women in the arts. These women were constant sources of inspiration, who helped clear a path for me, but also weren’t afraid to give me constructive feedback when I needed it. It’s important to build a strong network of people you admire and who also care about you. In the arts, whether you choose a path in the for-profit or nonprofits sector, or in government like me, you need to be able to write and speak well. Being a good, compassionate person and an effective communicator will take you a long way.

What are some struggles that you have as a woman in your respective industry?

Growing up, like a lot of other women and people of color I know, I was constantly reminded that being good wasn’t enough; I needed to be excellent if I was going to have and achieve the life I wanted. Fortunately, this career I’ve chosen is a gift; I feel like I understand my purpose when I go to work and see something beautiful come to life. If I need to work harder to get things done, it’s OK because the harder I work, the better the outcomes are for people, our communities, and our city.



A Conversation with Blake-Anthony Johnson, CEO and President of Chicago Sinfonietta

Blake-Anthony Johnson’s multifaceted career has included work as a performer, collaborator, recording artist, and educator. With a focus on community-centric, multi-disciplinary, and educational initiatives that enable cultural institutions to provide equitable access and public service to all, Johnson has been universally recognized and applauded for his civic engagement & transformational leadership.

Describe where you are from. Tell us about a special Chicago childhood memory.

I’m a native of Atlanta, Georgia, but as a very active and ambitious musician; I’ve also lived in Poznan Poland, Paris, France, Nashville Tennessee, Louisville Kentucky, Cleveland & Cincinnati OH, Miami Beach Florida, Charleston South Carolina, and New York City before moving to Chicago, which has helped to shape my ability to easily connect with just about anyone. One of the most catalytic memories of living in Atlanta is at a Waffle House! Specifically, the Waffle House where my older sister worked which I frequented often after school for free food. My sister’s co-worker gave me my first cello, so that particular period of my childhood is quite vivid.

Tell us how you got interested in your industry.

My mother & aunt were gospel singers, but not casually singing in the church a couple times a week, they were back-up singers for legends, then later recording their own albums & shooting music videos in the 90s to launch their own careers. I still remember lyrics of songs that I’ve not actually heard in over 20 years. The work ethic needed to simultaneously raise kids and follow your dreams leaves a lasting impression for anyone lucky enough to witness it, it’s one of the greatest gifts my mother has given me. My mother’s love of music certainly planted the original seed, and it became very clear at a young age that the cello was my golden ticket to the world. I had many other interests, dreams, and certainly more natural talents than music, but I found the access to the world that music provided me impossible to walk away from.

What advice would you give youth looking to join your field of work?

Go for it! I’ve been “all in” on my journey for quite some time- it was an extremely intentional path I pursued, and honestly unbelievable still. I was a mid-distance sprinter in high school, and one thing I always loved was the discipline it took to run your own race. Unlike the other sprint events, running the 400-meter dash has the runner literally starting from a different starting line to accommodate the fact that lane 8 is a larger oval to run than lane 1 going around the field. Different parts of the track require different techniques and acceleration to maximize your time, outside of block work you spend A LOT of time perfecting your pacing formula that ensures your best race- we have every meter marked with specific tasks. The 400-meter dash is about running YOUR race, if you try to go faster and accelerate earlier than you should because you feel like others are too far ahead of you, you will burn out and not have enough in the tank for when it really matters. You actually can’t really gauge who is in the lead until the last 150 meters heading into the final 100-meter dash. So many people in my life had starting lines that were way ahead of mine- I was self-taught on the cello until college! But I focused on running my best “life race” and it’s a huge part of why I have so much in the tank. I tend to be long winded so in short, run your own race- don’t be bothered if you feel like you’re playing “catch up” – you’re doing just fine.

What is your favorite Chicago attraction and why? Favorite Chicago food and why?

My favorite Chicago attraction is the city itself. There is nothing quite like Chicago.Some people eat to live, but I live to eat. Picking a favorite restaurant is impossible in a city that simply dominates the international food scene but one of my favorites is Two Fish Crab Shack on 47th street. Yasmin Curtis, the owner, was one of the first people to welcome me to Chicago. I simply love the food and apologize in advance for any out-of-stock items to anyone wanting to try it- just assume I bought the last one.

Why do you love working and supporting Chicago?

The City of Chicago is simply everything. At the end of the day the city is just a big family of amazing people that take care of each other in a way that is hard to articulate but is so obvious when traveling the world and seeing other cities. Miami Beach is a vibe, Paris is charming, but Chicago is a warmth that I feel with every cell in my body.

Share other success stories with us!

Meet Leon Walker

Over the past 20 years, Leon I. Walker, Esq., has spearheaded cutting-edge community development projects that have generated thousands of new jobs and brought grocery stores and health care services into the food and health care deserts on Chicago’s south side.

As the Managing Principal of DL3 Realty Advisors, LLC, Mr. Walker works closely with municipalities, anchor institutions, and Fortune 500 companies to execute projects that are sensitive to a neighborhood’s character while creating economic opportunities for local businesses and residents. Mr. Walker’s projects are more than just bricks and mortar; they are designed to provide a stimulus that ultimately lifts economic prospects and the quality-of-life in urban communities.

In the past five years, DL3’s projects have created over 3,000 jobs on Chicago’s south side, and the firm is actively pursuing projects that will create over 10,000 new jobs by the end of the decade. DL3’s nationally recognized “Venture Development™” model is leading a new wave of impact investing in Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Mr. Walker is an innovator who continues to be at the forefront of utilizing new financing tools and blended funding streams. During his career, Mr. Walker has structured more than $100 million in New Markets Tax Credits.  He was also the first Chicago developer to use crowdfunding for new construction as part of the capital stack for the nationally recognized Englewood Square retail center.

Prior to taking on the leadership of DL3, Mr. Walker worked in corporate real estate services at Jones Lang LaSalle, and in real estate capital markets at Citicorp Securities. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, Booth School of Business, and received his Bachelor Degree from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

Professional and Community Engagement

By: Markayle Tolliver 

black protesters with signs and covid maskscelebrate black history month 2023

As far back as the 1900s, Black History has been woven into history textbooks, documentaries, TV shows and books. However, there have been some misconceptions and misunderstandings about the full extent of what Blacks have endured. Black History IS American History. This month is essential and definitely needed.

The Black race has not only endured slavery, discrimination and prejudice actions, but the African-American race in particular is presently still pursuing challenges, overcoming boundaries, and making history. In our modern times, the Black community continues to face police brutality, (both from other races and our own Black cops), housing insecurities, financial lack due to lack of resources and knowledge, and the need to continuously prove our credentials.

“The Recurring Issue”

Travyon Martin, 2012… Eric Garner, 2014… Tamir Rice, 2014… Sandra Bland, 2015… Breanna Taylor, 2020… George Floyd, 2020… Tyre Nichols, 2023… Blacks have been, and still are being brutally killed by police officers and the officers are not being justly held accountable for their inhumane behavior. These cases where unarmed Blacks are being killed (for what is thought to be a weapon), is a major cry that the police force, as a whole, needs more training and a more intense hiring process.

Many police departments should require more racial training, more gun safety classes and training about reaction vs response. Based upon previous incidents, it shows that these trainings would be specific to what cops need help in, it would have a specific learning goal, and should include frequent updated trainings after the initial training. In the same way many jobs have trainings and professional development classes, these trainings for police officers would serve the exact same purpose and begin to limit police brutality cases as well as build trust in the police force.

collage of five black young people
Picture of recent African-Americans who were killed. Courtesy of CNN


“The Disparity in Health”

Pfizer released a study that the top health issues that Blacks have a higher rate of are: heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma, influenza, diabetes, pneumonia, and HIV/AIDS. According to a CDC study, African-Americans ages 35-64 are 50% more likely to have high blood pressure than white counterparts. These are two intense statistics that show the prevalence of health disparities that the Black community is facing on a daily basis.

As a young child, I grew up seeing and hearing family members endure sickness and even be summoned to death by these diseases/sicknesses. Growing up seeing this, I always wondered what the issue was with many Blacks dying for not being healthy and/or not having doctors who genuinely care or who can not pinpoint the cause. Yet, due to COVID-19, it was evident that those things were true, but Blacks also endure many health disparities from the lack of knowledge and resources (health-wise and financially).

The African-American community here in Chicago, lacks healthcare centers on the South and West-sides which ultimately results in the lack of good health. Additionally, due to the far location and the high healthcare prices, many Blacks tend to stay away from the doctor.

There are study findings that show food/diet also plays an important role in health and due to the lack of knowledge of certain foods and their impact, African-Americans tend to lack the needed healthy foods for a strong body.

black woman with doctor at doctors office
 Courtesy of PCORI


“Call to Action”

The African-American community endures many disparities that aim to lower the enhancement of Blacks; however many Blacks are investing in many areas to help develop and re-develop the pain of the Black community. There are organizations that are being formed that have a mission to help promote and enhance the quality of life for Blacks. There are Blacks who are becoming government, civic, community, and ecclesiastical leaders to help elevate the Black race, from housing to politics, to banking to education, to religion to the arts. Due to the continued push of achievements and successes of Blacks, this month needs to always be celebrated.  And continue on for even longer than a solitary month.

In the area of education, at each level of schooling, there needs to be classes and programs that teach African-American past and present history. Additionally, schools should implement and adopt initiatives that promote awareness and intentional implementation of Black culture. Finally, school administration should have some representation where students and parents can be able to have some assistance and resources.

In the political field, there needs to be more Blacks who are holding and sitting in these seats of power that will help to change the trajectory of investment for Black neighborhoods. There are Blacks who are currently in some of these seats and are elevating and changing some laws and procedures, but there can be more that will have a greater impact.

The entertainment industry should continue to elevate the culture of the African-American community through music, movies, and other entertainment projects. There are entertainers and film leaders who are investing in communities to build up the passion for the arts in these areas.

As many industries, organizations, and movements begin and continue to fight for Black equality AND equity, the need for Black History will become a part of everyday history and culture.


black history month black and white photo collage



 By: Markayle Tolliver
collage of black historical figures in the palm of someones hand with American flag ‘celebrate black history month 2023

“The Present Pain of Blacks”

In the first publication for this year’s Black History Month campaign, we learned that this month was founded back in the early 1900s by Carter G. Woodson; however the African-American community is presently still struggling with rights as citizens, the acknowledgment of their successes and achievements, and many other systemic issues. These systemic injustices are holding the Black community back from successful elevation.

Presently, the African-American community faces hardships in many areas of life; and we will look at the struggles of Blacks politically, professionally/educationally, and financially. Due to these pains that the Black community presently endure, it is important that Black History Month is celebrated and that we continue to push for the continued need for this month.

“The Political Gap”

kamala harris in purple jacket raising hand to be sworn in other people with mask stand around her
Kamala Harris being sworn into office.

According to Pew Research in 1965, there were no Black governors or senators and only 5 members of the House of Representatives. Many African-Americans have studied and preserved through schooling to study and learn politics and government but have not had the opportunity to serve in that capacity. As of 2021, there has been a slight increase in representation in some areas of politics but not all – there are 57 House members that are Black and 3 senators but there are still no Black governors until this past 2022 election when Maryland elected Wes Moore.

“Blacks in Corporate America”

In corporate America, according to AfroTech, in 2022, Fortune 500 companies hit a record of Black leaders with a total of six companies being led by African-Americans:

In Q1 of 2023, this is a great achievement, however there should definitely be more than 6 Blacks leading companies due to the experience, passion and knowledge of Blacks. There are many African-Americans who have endured pain in their careers where they have been pushed out of positions/companies, certain ideas weren’t taken seriously, and/or weren’t accepted for their identity or just judged because of their race. Blacks have been resistant and still maintained professionalism and courage and fought against injustices.


three black ceos
Roz Brewer, Marvin Ellison, and David Rawlinson, Courtesy of AfroTech

“Blacks Home Ownership”

The Federal Reserve System conducted research where they found that Black families’ median and mean wealth is 15% less of White families. Blacks have had years of financial hardships and the lack of resources and help. Many Blacks have businesses, talents, and even skills that are business models and could become business owners. However, due to not having the adequate financial assistance and also the knowledge of finances, we have continued to struggle. However, as the African-American population continues to learn and grow, we have expanded our financial means to begin to grow financially but we still endure hurdles. For example, a study showed that in 2019, Black home ownership decreased to 40.6% from 49.7% the previous year due to gentrification. As housing issues continue to hunt Blacks, we are continuously learning and growing to gain more knowledge and more ownership of housing.

5 black billionaires


“The Impact of Black History”

African-Americans have a painful yet rich history and present that causes recognition and support. Therefore, this month should be celebrated because:

Black History Month is not just for promotion and bringing awareness, (which is good) but it also to celebrate the fact of diversity. Blacks have a diverse culture that is welcoming and very informative. A celebration is a public honoring of these Black men and women who have done incredible work.

Black History unites not just the Black community but other backgrounds and cultures. It helps us to learn not just other groups but it also gives us the opportunity to learn about the diversity within the Black community from passions, to experiences, to talents.

This month allows us to retreat from the history books of slavery and look at the present and future accomplishments also of Black success. Finally, this month should be celebrated because it allows us to see and understand the full significance of these achievements and how they have impacted the world and the Black population.

black history month


By: Markayle Tolliver 

 As Chicago continues to grow as well as the advancement and contributions of the African-American community, there are new heights that Blacks continue to aim for and achieve.  African-Americans have had many important and vital roles that have led to great local, national and international changes and impact. Here’s a look at where we stand with Black achievement in the business community and the history behind the Black leaders of Chicago.

celebrate black history month 2023

The city of Chicago was founded around 1780 by an African-American/Haitian male, Jean Baptiste Point duSable.  Although du Sable’s settlement was early in the 16th century, African-Americans weren’t established here until 1840 after some passing of laws in Illinois that prohibited them from living here. As time continued to develop, there were more and more changes that eradicated the idea that African-Americans were to be segregated from others. As laws changed, the growth of Blacks also increased as well as their contributions in many different work industries.  

“The Black Founder of Chicago,” photo courtesy of Black History Heroes.





“The Race Riot of 1919”   

In 1919, Chicago endured a race riot that caused a violent conflict between white Americans against Black Americans and it lasted for 5 days from July 27 to August 3, 1919 on the Southside. One of the triggering events that caused the riot was because of the death of a young black male on July 27; where he was swimming in Lake Michigan and drifted to an area that was reserved strictly for whites only. The young boy was stoned and eventually drowned. After police didn’t arrest the white man who did it, that is when Black observers who saw who did, began to gather on the beach with others, and disputes and fights began. Over the weeks, more race and mob/gang fights broke out throughout the city and violence escalated every incident. By the end, 38 were dead (25 Blacks and 15 whites), 537 injured, and about 1,000 Black families were left homeless. Due to the high violence/killings and the impact (economically and geographically), this riot is considered across the nation to be one of the worst riots and known as Red Summer. President Woodrow Wilson criticized and called down ‘the white race’ as the ‘aggressor’ in the riots and efforts were launched to promote racial harmony.  


“Black Experiences with Housing Discrimination”  

full equality in housing, freedom is equal housing too, signs with black protestors

The large black population in Chicago faced many of the same challenges that they faced in the South. It was extremely difficult for Blacks to find jobs and housing because of the competition among other ethnic groups during a time of expansion of minority groups in the city. Even though there were other methods to maintain housing discrimination such as redlining and exclusive zoning to single-family housing, by 1927 Chicago political leaders began adopting racially restrictive covenants that limited what land can be used for. At one point, as much as 80% of the city’s area was included under restrictive covenants.  

The Supreme Court of the United States in Shelley v. Kraemer ruled in 1948 that racially restrictive covenants were unconstitutional, but this did not quickly solve blacks’ problems with finding adequate housing. Homeowners’ associations discouraged members from selling to black families, which resulted in maintaining residential segregation. After 1945, the early white residents (many Irish immigrants and their descendants) on the South Side began to move away under pressure of new migrants and with newly expanding housing opportunities. African Americans continued to move into the area as it predominantly became Black and the area became the black capital of the country.  


“Blacks in Chicago’s Politics” 

mayor harold Washington waves

Mayor Harold Washington waves at the crowd after he won the election.

The world of Chicago politics and the Chicago business community is extremely vast and very influential to the continued growth of African-Americans and Chicago at large. In 1983, Chicago elected their first African-American mayor, Harold Washington. During a time of prejudice, animosity and strife; the Black community came together to collectively vote with enough power to allow Harold Washington to win the mayoral election against Bernard Epton, former state legislature. Washington was sworn in as mayor of Chicago on April 29, 1983.  

In 2008, IL senator, Barack Obama – who resides and has work experience on the city’s Southside, became the first Black person and man to hold the position of POTUS.  


Then in 2019, Chicago held a historical election that made national coverage; when Lori Lightfoot, then federal prosecutor, became the first Black woman and first openly gay person to hold the office.   


“The Black Business Ecosystem of Chicago”  

black man in tie black woman in turtleneck
John Rogers & Mellody Hobson, Ariel Investments, CEOs


Blacks have held many C-suite level positions and run many Chicago-operated companies that provide economic growth and expansion. There are many Blacks in the Chicago business ecosystem that helps to vitalize and upkeep the business world.  

In 1942, John Johnson, founded Negro Digest, now known as Johnson Publishing Company, a Black-owned publishing company founded and headquartered here in Chicago; and its mission was to elevate the positive stories of the Black community. There were times, John had issues with the printing of the publication and had many times when he had to stifle his promotions. In 1976, Black World, (the new name of the publication under new administration after the death of John Johnson) – was abruptly terminated and caused widespread protest in the Black Community. The creation of John Johnson’s publication gave way to many other Black newspapers such as Ebony, Jet, and Essence.  

Mellody Hobson and John Rogers Jr, are jointly the co-CEOs of Ariel Investments, and they founded the organization in 1983; which is a global asset management company that specializes in small and mid-capitalized stocks in the US. Ariel Investments is the largest minority-owned investment company and has a strong Chicago impact in Bronzeville where the company gives support to The Renaissance Collaborative Inc.   

Jim Reynolds, the CEO of Loop Capital, has worked on many Southside developments that promote economic growth and change. Recently, Reynolds and his company, was a main supporter in a new film and television studio, Regal Mile Studios coming to the South Shore community in the Summer of 2024.  

black man in tie
Jim Reynolds, LOOP Capital CEO





By: Markayle Tolliver 

South Shore, Chicago, IL |

This afternoon, Regal Mile Studios along with Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Alderwoman Michelle Harris (8th ward), Jim Reynolds, LOOP Capital CEO, and the South Shore community breaks ground on its $100 million media campus just west of the 79th Street corridor. 

ground breaking ceremony, feb 6 2023

The Regal Mile Studios Campus 1 is a 380,000 SQFT, 7-acre enclosed media campus and sound stage development in South Shore, just west of the 79th Street INVEST South/West priority commercial corridor. After passing through City Council in the summer of 2021, the Regal Mile Studios is now ready to proceed forward with landscaping and other site prep work, before beginning heavier construction in earnest during the early springtime with the goal of Fall 2024 occupancy. 

While the South Shore neighborhood is evolving, it is a neighborhood with a challenging reputation. Loop Capital Real Estate Partners, an affiliate of Chicago based Loop Capital, is the sponsor of the privately funded project and supports Mayor Lightfoot’s INVEST South/West initiative with a focus on new development on the South Side. 

jim reynolds speaking to crowd

“I want to applaud you [Mayor Lightfoot], it is the first time that I see an administration that puts a focus on investments on the South and West sides and make it a priority,” says Jim Reynolds, CEO of Loop Capital. “We want to give the youth role models to look at.” 

Through the Regal Mile Studios development, Loop Capital will expand educational opportunities and job readiness training programs for young people and equip them with the skills they need to thrive and succeed in the film and media industry. 

“…As well as create educational opportunities for public school students to learn more about and explore careers in television and production training…That means this project will not only set many of our young people up for success, but also enhance Chicago’s reputation as an incubator of film and media talent,” says, Mayor Lori Lightfoot.  

Chicago is a city of neighborhoodsand we are investing in our local communities.

INVEST South/West is leading this effort, providing investment where it is needed most, while World Business Chicago continues to drive inclusive economic growth. 



We drive equitable and inclusive economic development.  

The Community Impact team at World Business Chicago drives equitable and inclusive economic development. We are here to assist businesses looking to expand and grow in historically disinvested neighborhoods. Access information and resources on how to make a social impact through talent, labor and workforce partners and training, and more. Global business starts at home.

INVEST South/West is the City’s signature economic development platform focused on 10 historically disinvested neighborhoods. The platform has four key pillars that support its overarching goal of enhanced South/West-side neighborhood vitality.

The Black and Latino Investment Summit  is a program brings together existing minority-led business owners with access to capital, technical assistance, and consulting. The inaugural cohort of 2022 was recognized on June 16th in a celebration of collaboration anchored in inclusiveness. Applications are open for the next cohort.

Woodlawn Restaurant Row will be the city’s first Southside foodie destination. The Greater Woodlawn area, comprised of Woodlawn, South Shore, and Hype Park Community Areas, houses a growing residential and employment base with strong restaurant spending.

Small Business Tech Symposium inspires businesses and technologists in Chicago to learn how technology can positively impact business. The goal is to connect small business owners in historically disinvested areas to build a sustainable path to greater efficiency and growth through technology. The symposium is projected to be held in late October.

LaForce Baker

Adam Shimer

Zoe Saphir

Markayle Tolliver 

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