CHICAGO — The Community Based Organization Collective today announced a $1 million grant from to help place hundreds of jobseekers on Chicago’s South and West sides into in-demand careers, in the tech economy and beyond. This is Google’s largest investment to date furthering its commitment to Chicago’s workforce.

“We are working to address the systemic barriers to opportunity that too many Chicagoans face,” said Karen Sauder, President of Global Client and Agency Solutions and Site Lead at Google Chicago. “We’ve been so inspired by the work the Collective is doing to move toward a day where well-paid jobs are within reach for everyone who wants one. And we know if we get this right, we’re not just creating meaningful careers, we’re also strengthening our businesses with the diversity of thought and life experiences that helps us serve our customers.”

“Illinois is home to some of the brightest talent in the nation, and ensuring all residents have access to good-paying jobs is crucial to our state’s overall success,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Investing in our workforce is a key priority of my administration, and I’m proud to see make this meaningful investment in Chicago’s South and West sides. This grant will put people to work and advance equity in our economy here in Illinois.”

“The CBO Collective is excited to work with who have shown they are committed to making investments in underserved, underrepresented, and disinvested communities,” said CBOC Executive Director Cleophus J. Lee. “These funds will go a long way to help create equity in the labor market so Chicagoans from the South and West sides can obtain careers that will lead to self-sustainability.”

With this investment, the CBO Collective will be able expand its operations to reach up to 400 historically marginalized jobseekers and place 200 into employment. Employers seeking to hire local unemployed or underemployed talent from Chicago’s South and West sides will be able to utilize the CBO Collective as a central point for accessing local talent. About 30 hiring events will be conducted with targeted employers, and hiring commitments have already been secured from employers. This grant will also help the CBO Collective create a stronger referral system for wrap-around support so that job seekers can more readily access essential resources and services. Finally, it will promote awareness of new, emerging sectors and look for opportunities to connect jobseekers to digital skilling and trainings, like Google Career Certificates.

In addition, World Business Chicago is announcing a $100,000 investment in the CBO Collective, a commitment following Mayor Lightfoot’s Recovery Task Force (RTF) report. A key recommendation of the task force report is expanding the city’s workforce development strategy to include a reimagining of the city’s workforce infrastructure — including a consortium of community partners and employee champions like Google — as well as uplifting the work of Chicago’s dedicated workforce development and career pathway programs alongside talent developers like the City Colleges of Chicago and others.

“It is vital that people who face historic barriers to employment have the resources they need to get quality jobs and break into new industries,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot.“This grant will help residents from underrepresented backgrounds do just that, as well as unlock their full potential. I thank, the CBO Collective and their partners for making this investment possible and look forward to seeing residents take advantage of these opportunities to upskill and obtain upward mobility.”

“Recovery and support of our city’s workforce is crucial to a full recovery and future economic expansion,” said Michael Fassnacht, President and CEO, World Business Chicago, and Chief Marketing Officer, City of Chicago. “Many jobs lost due to the pandemic may not return; while many emerging ecosystems are creating new jobs of the future. As a result, existing workers and those new to the workforce, need to acquire marketable skills and related support. Our initial funding to help scale the CBO Collective’s capacity, plus’s investment announced today, will ensure that inclusive job opportunities and support is readily, widely available to residents throughout the city’s 77-neighborhoods.”

This funding from supports the new path the CBO Collective is paving in the workforce development sector. Through inclusive funding that rewards collaboration the CBO Collective can work together to serve more job seekers in need at scale.

The CBO Collective is a self-convened group of 16 workforce-focused nonprofit organizations that is able to place hundreds of additional people into quality jobs, on top of the cumulative thousands their member organizations serve independently. The Collective hosts job fairs regularly at the locations of its member organizations, which hire across all industries and support job seekers eager to get back to work or build skills. Their member organizations include:

About the CBO Collective

The Community Based Organization Collective (CBO Collective) represents a new day for workforce-focused organizations in Chicago. Driven by the spirit of inclusivity, sixteen nonprofits have organized to springboard 5,000 Black and Brown jobseekers from the South and West Sides of Chicago into gainful employment by aligning corporate demand with a collective workforce development approach. This systems change is driven by the leadership of Chair Karen Freeman-Wilson of the Chicago Urban League and Vice Chairs Karina Ayala-Bermejo of Instituto del Progreso Latino and Marie Trzupek Lynch of Skills for Chicagoland’s Future.

About, Google’s philanthropy, brings the best of Google to help solve some of humanity’s biggest challenges combining funding, innovation, and technical expertise to support underserved communities and provide opportunity for everyone. We engage nonprofits and social enterprises who make a significant impact on the communities they represent, and whose work has the potential to produce meaningful change. We want a better world, faster — and we believe in leveraging technology and applying scalable data-driven innovation to move the needle.

  • Since 2007, has awarded over $18M in grants to nonprofits and organizations based in Illinois. This funding has helped organizations like the Obama Foundation, Children First Fund (CPS) and SocialWorks drive computer science education and workforce development to help create new pathways to careers in technology.
  • Since 2004, our employees based in Illinois–including matching contributions from Google–have donated over $20M in charitable giving to nonprofits. Our employees also served over 32,000+ hours of volunteer work with nonprofits and schools in areas we’re passionate about, including STEM and computer science education, economic opportunity, and access to the internet.
  • Since 2011, Google for Nonprofits has supported more than 8,500 nonprofits in Illinois with free Google tools and resources. In 2020, provided over $28.58M in free search advertising to Illinois nonprofits through the Google Ad Grants program.



 The Chicago Urban League—a member of the CBO Collective—is hosting a job fair today at 11am. Their CEO Karen Freeman Wilson and CBO Collective Executive Director Cleophus Lee will be onsite and available for media interviews about today’s announcement. Please RSVP to Maura Possley at

Rob Biederman, Google’s head of government relations and public affairs in Chicago, is also available for phone interviews. Please contact Alex Hanns at to schedule an interview.


CBO Collective

Maura Possley

Google Chicago

Alex Hanns

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