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The Chicago Community Trust

In March 2014, the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust committed $2 million to launch Food:Land:Opportunity— Localizing the Chicago Foodshed, an initiative which aims to increase access to land for sustainable farming, strengthen business skills of food businesses, and attract capital to the regional food system. The first project receiving support is the Good Food Business Accelerator, which trains food and farm entrepreneurs and connects them to potential investors. Another project is the Chicago Microlending Institute, which makes loans to small businesses in low- and moderate-income communities, and involves a collaborative effort between the City of Chicago, Citibank, Acción Chicago, and the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust. The Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance brings together employers like Boeing and JP Morgan Chase with other workforce funders to create jobs and increase earnings for underprepared workers. In 2013, the Trust made a $149,000 grant to underwrite start-up activities of the Cook County Land Bank Authority, slated to be the largest land bank in the country. To assist nonprofits in purchasing real estate, in 1988 the Trust created the Illinois Facilities Fund, which has since become a CDFI.

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