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In 2016, LISC Chicago launched the Southwest Corridor Collaborative (SWCC) with Mayor Emanuel, the City of Chicago and our community partners – Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation, Southwest Organizing Project and Teamwork Englewood.
LISC’s commitment to the SWCC included seed funding the effort with $500,000 to cover capacity building and support for our neighborhood partner organizations and an additional $50 million over the next 10 years in lending for investments in real estate and local neighborhood businesses targeted as part of this initiative. The SWCC is designed to take a new approach to economic development investment by creating a community-led, tightly coordinated approach to planning and investment that engages residents, the City of Chicago, and public/private capital sources to develop a model for improving neighborhood economies.
The goal of the collaborative is to reestablish key sections of the corridor as strong, viable and walkable communities by creating cross-community commercial centers that provide business opportunities, local employment, accessible transit, housing and goods and services for neighborhood residents.
The SWCC came out of one of LISC Chicago’s foundational investments, Quality-of-Life Planning. In 2016, as leaders in Englewood, Auburn Gresham and Chicago Lawn were completing their second Quality-of-Life Plans, the need for going deeper to improve the economies of our communities was clear. Together, we created SWCC to define a model for economic development planning that brings together investments in people and places in a sub-region of Chicago’s south and southwest sides.
LISC has already invested nearly $5M in grants and loans in the SWCC supporting key projects that will help jumpstart investment. And, LISC is not the only investor committed to this vision. The City has invested $1M through new neighborhood investments tools including the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund and the Retail Thrive Zones. SWCC has also been supported by an investment of $3.5M from Benefit Chicago, a collaboration created by The Chicago Community Trust, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and Calvert Impact Capital to expand economic opportunity in the Chicago area and strengthen its communities.