Monthly Archives: November 2019

Building up Local Businesses

Four local development groups in underserved communities will be the recipients of $2.5 million each thanks to the generosity of Starbucks.  The US coffee company and coffeehouse chain is hoping that this will result in economic growth for the area. Awardees are: Accion Chicago, Chicago Community Loan Fund (CCLF), Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and the International Film Festival.

This money will be used to finance 500+ loans for small businesses in Chicago via the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI). Struggling businesses will be able to get advice and in some cases financial help – resources they could not have accessed otherwise via traditional sources such as financial institutions.  According to Kevin Johnson, Starbucks CEO:

“We believe the pursuit of profit is not in conflict with the pursuit of doing good. We know that our business performs at its best when the communities we serve are thriving. This sustained investment will provide borrowers who often face barriers with access to capital and mentorship to grow their business and create more jobs in Chicago.”

Starbucks is not the first corporation to offer such help.  A little over a year ago JPMorgan Chase & Co. invested $10million for the provision of properties for black business development in the Windy City.

Opening of New Cultural Venue

What was once the Church of the Epiphany – located at 201 S. Ashland Avenue – will soon become a multi-dimensional space used for a variety of cultural events.  This will become one of Chicago’s largest venues for cultural activities.  It is also regarded as a landmark in the region.

“Chicago’s Church of the Epiphany was an historic landmark, built back in the mid-nineteenth century and designed by Burling and Whitehouse which was the famous architectural firm made famous by Francis Whitehouse,” explains Moshe Victor Keinig, a retired architect now living in Israel.

“I remember once seeing the church and being almost awe-struck by stone that was used and indeed how they were used.  I learned later that they had been imported from Lake Superior and were irregularly placed on the building,” Keinig adds.

Today, that same property is in the hands of David Chase and his wife Kimberly Rachal who made the purchase and are committed to preserving the property along with the buildings next to it.  Once up and running, it will feature a courtyard, three very different spaces in which to hold events as well as additional areas that will aim to bolster arts and culture.

Rather than it just remaining vacant (as has been for a while) it will be known as the Epiphany Center for the Arts and become a great location for community gatherings, etc.