Black Restaurant Week 2019: Chicago

This year’s Black Restaurant Week (Chicago) took place last week, February 10-17.  In its fourth year, the event is designed to honor Dr. Carter G. Woodson who founded ‘Negro History Week’ back in 1926.  Half a century later that event became Black History Month and that finally led to the current restaurant week.

The idea behind the event was to establish an address for Chicago-based African American Owned Eateries to be “recognized and patronized.”

Last year the event featured 26 restaurants, whereby $11402 was spent at restaurants and 726 dinners served. The lineup for this year is featured here.

Chicagoans Helping Each Other

How is America’s longest-ever government shutdown impacting Chicagoans?  What are people doing to lessen the burden felt by locals?  In this article, we look at that specific issue as well as the more general problem of the city’s homeless population.

Companies in Chicago are helping people out by giving free lunches, tickets to the museum and even temporary employment.  Getting a free sandwich at the Adler Planetarium doesn’t pay the bills but it’s a nice gesture to help people get through their day. Meanwhile at Horse Thief Hollow – a restaurant catering to federal workers at Midway Airport – is featuring a shutdown special with a free lunch valued up to $15.

Meanwhile 34-year-old real estate developer Candice Payne decided to help the homeless.  Payne – whose own boyfriend was once homeless – was working from home one day when outside temperature was subzero.  That inspired her to find a way to help out.

She set out by contacting hotels to see if they would open their doors to the homeless.  After being turned down by many, she accessed 30 rooms at The Amber Inn.  Transporting the homeless there proved to be her next challenge so she turned to social media.  The post went viral and the end result was 72 rooms for 5 nights being booked, assisting 122 people thanks to numerous donations. 

They say one good deed deserves another so perhaps that was why Payne was invited to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres show where she received a $25,000 gift token for Walmart.

Improving the Plight of Minorities

For centuries people have been working in different capacities, in varied cities and countries, to improve the environment of where they are for the minorities living in them.  2019 and Chicago is apparently very less different than one would imagine.  here we take a little look as to what the city is doing currently in this vein.

according to The Reader’s, Pete Saunders:

“Chicago’s black population, the city’s largest demographic in 2000, has dropped by 24 percent through 2017, going from more than one million in 2000 to just under 800,000 in 2017. The number of whites in Chicago surpassed blacks in 2017, and Latinos will almost certainly pass blacks by the time of the 2020 census.”

Why is that?  Why are blacks leaving Chicago?  if this was not the case, the population of Chicago would actually be increasing. instead, there seems to be a move to places such as Atlanta, Dallas and Houston.

Is there perhaps discrimination against minorities?  according to Mayoral candidate Toni Preckwinkle, if voted in she will “bring equity to an overly punitive ticketing policy that has unfairly targeted minority motorists and forced thousands of them into bankruptcy. one part of her proposed policy will be the reversal of what she terms a punitive policy that (according to a Woodstock Institute study)  targets motorists in “low- and moderate- income communities of color” at a 40 percent higher rate than those from more affluent neighborhoods.  she would also set up a task force within her proposed Office of Criminal Justice to thoroughly investigate “the disparities between aggressive ticketing in black and brown communities and less-aggressive ticketing in white neighborhoods.”

Educationally efforts are being made to assist minority groups too. along with a few other universities nationwide, the University of Chicago extended its application deadline.  it was discovered by George Washington University that such an extension “helped reach more underrepresented minorities. The school received an additional 600 applications from African-American, Hispanic and first-generation college students after extending its deadline to Jan. 15 from Jan. 5.”  Hopefully the same will be true for Chicagoans.

Business Development and Job Creation

Business Development

Less than two weeks after J. B. Pritzker was inaugurated as Illinois’ 43rd governor, he guided a review to be conducted by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) on the enhanced efficiency of the use of state funds for workforce training.  The DCEO has 90 days for this project.  Pritzker said:

“It is critical that state resources are being used to meet the demands of the 21st Century,”

The idea is to offer new businesses capital, technical support and mentorship.  To date, 1871 – the nonprofit Business Incubator that Pritzker helped establish in 2012 – has already generated approximately 7,000 jobs as well as 400+ digital startups which are now in place in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart.

And then there is the Illinois solar revolution that is taking place throughout various parts of the state’s open land.  Various communities are getting on board to use solar power in an effort to meet renewable energy goals.  One example of this is Aurora which is seeking to turn half of all energy to renewable within the next decade.  Will County’s Energy and Conservation Specialist, Sam Bluemer has described what is happening as “an energy revolution.”

The initiator for this was the 2017 Future Energy Jobs Act which was established – and has successfully – set up new solar programs and incentives.  One of these is the lottery whereby developers can apply in January for renewable energy credits often needed for viability of the projects and can be used for:

  1. Residential/commercial installations
  2. large, utility-scale solar arrays
  3. small-scale solar projects known as community solar.

Keep posted for more exciting developments in 2019 in Illinois.

Upcoming Summits

Summit

If you’re in Chicago looking to network, connect and join others in business-related summits, where should you go next month?  One place for those with green fingers is the meeting Adding Value:  Back to our Roots. Hosted by the National Floriculture Forum on 16-17 February, click here for more information.

On February 14 to 17th, the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI) is hosting its 37th annual national conference.  This year’s theme is “Defend Democracy: Aquí y Ahora” and will take place at 301 E. North Water Street, at the Sheraton Grand Chicago Hotel.  Congressman Joaquin Castro will be one of the keynote speakers and Luis V. Gutierrez, a former congressman, will be a speaker for the Latino Leaders Recognition and USHLI.  For registration, click here.

On March 28,  there is the Family Office Deal Flow Summit organized by ResearchandMarket.com.  This is an amalgamation of family investors, dealmakers, private businesses and more.  At the one day summit they can all work on getting a mutually beneficial deal completed. Discussions and presentations that will take place will be on the following subjects:

  1. Build Your Family Office Co-Investment Network;
  2. Learn How to Structure Deals and
  3. Deal Flow & Due Diligence Best Practices.


Travels in Time

Terra Cotta

It’s amazing how much of real estate, environment and infrastructure changes over time…and yet stays very much the same.  At the moment one example of this is what has evolved over the years at West Oakdale Avenue. 

In 2005, a new landmark was designated in Chicago within the Lakeview neighborhood.  the area between Seminary and Sheffield Streets for locals and tourists alike to check out historical buildings.  Many years ago these were home to the Northwestern Terra Cotta Company officers founded in 1878 by John True and others which became the name in terra cotta trimmings.

one of those houses – completed in 1887 – was given the name the Henry Rokham House.  that became known as The Queen of Terra Cotta Row and in 2012 had a market value of nearly $2.5million.  Featuring stained glass windows, brick etchings of a woman on a spinning wheel, unique tile work, original coach house and more, it was designed by Theodore Karls.

now, for the first time in six decades one of these properties is for sale!!! The two floor building with four bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, and two kitchens has a 1970s vintage feel to it.  back in its day it was known as “the absolute crème de la crème.”  now it can be yours for $699,000 to enjoy leopard print carpeting, condo sports and more.  It may be somewhat outdated and in need of some modernization but the location and the story it tells brings it more than charm.

Working Moms

The Mom Project

Women can find it challenging to get back into the workforce after they have had children.  It was found that 34 percent choose not to return to their jobs.  An endeavor in Chicago is now aiming to fix that issue.  The Mom Project – a Chicago-based startup – is trying to reduce that figure by bringing moms to employers looking to hire who understand and appreciate the value a mom can bring to their firm and who will work with them to alleviate mom-based pressures. 

The startup is currently working with 75,000 women in this position. To date, they have gotten 1,000 companies internationally to see if they can make a fit with moms returning to the workforce.  The mission of the project is: “helping women remain active in the workforce in every stage in their journey.”

Some of the companies the project works with include: JLL, Sapient Razorfish, Georgia-Pacific, Miller-Coors and more.

Economic Outlook: 2019

Conference

Mark your calendars.  On January 17, 2019, the Economic Outlook conference – hosted by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business – will take place.  The title of the conference is ‘Trade Wars, Deficits and Inflation: Rhetoric or Reality.’ Discussion participants include: Austan D. Goolsbee, Randall S. Kroszner, and Raghuram G. Rajan who will be talking about the state of the global economy and look at what might be happening for 2019. The event is being moderated by Bloomberg’s Global Economics and Policy Editor, Kathleen Hays.

Areas of discussion include: tax cuts, deregulation, America’s approach to China trade, growth, deficits, inflation, corporate profits and more.