JP Morgan Chase and Fifth Third Bank announced on Wednesday that it will invest $9.1 million in minority-owned small businesses in Chicago neighborhood through its Entrepreneurs of Color Fund. LISC will continue to guide program mentorship, alongside our partner Acción Chicago. LISC senior director Steve Hall emphasized how the fund can help transform communities and forge opportunity: “It’s important for safety. It’s important for quality of life. And it really impacts the youth of those neighborhoods," he said.
Check out our top three reads of the week covering the challenges and opportunities of American communities. This week, we're reading about the life-expectancy gap, worker cooperatives, and the link between housing and family stability.
In Cincinnati, LISC’s one-to-one matches for Kiva loans to local entrepreneurs are producing some sweet results. An article in Soapbox Cincinnati tells the stories of creative area women, including a gourmet carrot cake baker, who have grown their businesses thanks to the no-interest, no-fee—but big impact—loans.
An article in The Wall Street Journal details a creative program to help neighborhood bodegas update their look and stock, and keep pace with demand as new, younger clientele moves in. Together with longtime partner Cypress Hills Local Development Corp, LISC is spearheading the "Commercial Corridor Challenge," supporting small businesses to prosper—not flounder—as demographics change.
Mark Zaitona, who immigrated from Iraq 20 years ago, has created three grocery stores—in Flint and Detroit, MI, and now in Toledo, OH—that bring fresh food, quality jobs and commercial vitality to communities deemed food deserts. An ABC news story profiles his latest enterprise and features Toledo LISC's Kim Cutcher (LISC has invested in two of the stores), who brought an $800,000 below-market loan to the project.