Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today joined Dr. Helene Gayle, President & CEO of The Chicago Community Trust, and local partners to announce the launch of ‘Together Now: Chicago’s Fund to Rebuild Our Neighborhoods.’
In collaboration with The Chicago Community Trust, the City of Chicago is launching the Together Now fund to unite money raised by Chicago’s philanthropies, corporations, and individuals to be disbursed to small businesses and not-for-profits throughout the City that have experienced damage as a result of activities over the past week.
The fund is starting out with an initial $10 million City commitment to address immediate needs of small businesses, and today Jewel-Osco is announcing its support as the fund’s first donor. Mayor Lightfoot was today joined by representatives from Jewel-Osco, to announce a $1 million contribution to help small businesses as they begin to rebuild.
“We thank Jewel-Osco for its commitment and partnership in making reopening a reality for businesses throughout the city, as many of Chicago’s businesses are struggling from the compounded impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as from damages to their properties during the events of the past week,” said Mayor Lightfoot.
“We also thank Jewel-Osco for its leadership and commitment to Chicago, exhibited clearly by their commitment to rebuild stores. Now more than ever, we are relying on our corporate partners to step up and lead the way, and that’s what we are seeing today as Jewel-Osco reopens several storefronts, helping Chicagoans throughout the city maintain access to the essential goods and services they need.”
In addition to the $1 million donation, Jewel-Osco is also launching a pin pad campaign at all 37 Chicago locations. When checking out, customers will be prompted to donate select dollar amounts, $1, $3 or $5 to the Together Now fund. This campaign will run through July 31st, with the potential for expansion based on additional need throughout the city.
“Jewel-Osco has deep roots in Chicago’s South and Southwest Sides,” said Mike Withers, President of Jewel-Osco. “We proudly stand with our neighbors as we work together to rebuild these communities. We are thankful for the generous support of our customers during this difficult time.”
The $1 million contribution comes after several Jewel-Osco storefronts were damaged during the events in Chicago over the past week. The company spent the past several days repairing the damage and has already reopened multiple storefronts including the 95th Street and 87th street locations which open today, and the Woodlawn location which re-opened earlier in the week. The King Drive store re-opens Saturday.
Many of Chicago’s businesses are not only struggling from recent damages but have also lost substantial revenue over the past ten weeks as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic. The Together Now fund seeks to address the critical obstacles many businesses are facing and help them make reopening a reality. The flexibility in resources will help provide funding for rebuilding or repairing physical storefronts, restocking shelves to account for inventory losses, and ultimately reopening for their neighbors and surrounding communities.
“Our hearts ache for the violence and destruction which impacted communities that were already bearing the brunt of decades of disinvestment.” said Dr. Helene Gayle, president and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust. “We rely on small businesses for far more than goods and services. They provide jobs, economic vitality and hope for our communities.”
When businesses apply for assistance from the fund, multiple factors will be taken into consideration. While businesses throughout the city will be eligible, allocations will be made with an equity weighting to account for a disproportionate impact felt in particular neighborhoods throughout the city. Black and Latinx business owners are more frequently uninsured or underinsured and living in communities that have faced decades of disinvestment, both of which will be considered in the decision-making process.
More information about the eligibility requirements, size of grants, and the number of recipients will be determined in the coming days as the City continues to take inventory of the total damages.
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