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Lightfoot Announces $100 Million Fund To Help Small Businesses Devastated By Coronavirus

The Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund will start with $100 million in low-interest loans to help "severely impacted" small businesses.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot at City Hall in February 2020.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

CHICAGO — The city is launching a $100 million fund to help small businesses devastated by the coronavirus crisis, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Thursday.

The Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund will start with $100 million in low-interest loans to help “severely impacted” small businesses, Lightfoot said in a televised address to the city.

The loans will give “much-needed cash flow relief to neighborhood entrepreneurs,” Lightfoot said.

Created under a public-private partnership, several groups have already contributed to the fund: $50 million came from the Chicago Community Catalyst Fund, $25 million from the city of Chicago, $10 million from Goldman Sachs’ Urban Investment Group, $1 million from Fifth Third Bank and $250,000 from Bob Clark and Clayco Construction.

Lightfoot asked businesses and entrepreneurs with the means to pitch in to grow the fund’s dollars.

“It is a meaningfully way to help our small businesses meet payroll, avoid layoffs and survive under extraordinarily dire circumstances,” she said.

Business owners and entrepreneurs impacted by COVID-19 closures can fill out an interest form and a city representative will reach out regarding next steps.

“Our challenge is not over and our work is not done. But we will get through this together. Because we can and we must,” Lightfoot said. “God bless you and our great city. Please be safe.”

Earlier this week, aldermen called on Lightfoot to launch an emergency fund to help impacted workers and businesses across the city.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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