What does Benefit Chicago do?

It is mobilizing $100 million from individuals, businesses, and institutions to provide patient, flexible, and risk-tolerant loans and other investments to accelerate the efforts and growth of local nonprofit and for-profit impact enterprises that find it difficult to access conventional capital. The minimum request is $500,000.

Who is providing the $100 million?

The Chicago Community Trust and the MacArthur Foundation have invested $65 million. The rest of the funds are coming from individuals and institutions committed to making a difference in their community and people’s lives through their investment in Calvert Impact Capital’s Community Investment Notes®.

What will the money finance?

Recipients are using the capital to help build wealth in or for communities through economic development, growth of community assets, and support of community-based entrepreneurs; create jobs that are accessible to community residents, particularly for people with challenges accessing employment; and enhance job readiness and skills for those seeking to find, maintain, and advance in employment.

Why can’t the impact enterprises access financing from traditional sources?

Based on their mission, where they are located, or the populations they serve, some impact enterprises cannot access the patient, flexible, and risk-tolerant capital they need. Conventional sources may not provide the capital because of factors such as lack of collateral, a need for customized terms, or perceived risk.

What kinds of organizations are eligible for financing?

Eligible organizations include revenue-generating nonprofit organizations looking to grow and expand; businesses with a clear social purpose; and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and other financial intermediaries that lend and invest in under-resourced areas. As with any investment, organizations must demonstrate viability and the ability to repay.

What can’t the capital be used for?

Because the capital is for long-term organizational growth, innovation, and impact, it generally cannot be used as a line of credit, for construction financing, or as a source of permanent mortgage financing.

How can I support Benefit Chicago?

Individuals can invest in Community Investment Notes with as little as $20 online or by check and application.