From the Executive Director
Dear Friend,  

2019 is off to a great start.  At Benefit Chicago, we have been meeting with social enterprises and community members to learn more about how we can be helpful in making a difference in their communities. I continue to be pleased by the support we are receiving from foundations, corporations, and most importantly, the everyday citizens who are showing their support for our local organizations and the vitality of our local economy by investing their personal dollars in the Calvert notes made available through Benefit Chicago. It is this optimism that our investors, community members, and business owners have in the future that motivates me every day to help identify opportunities and social enterprises that would benefit from the special kind of capital available from the Benefit Chicago fund.  Whether the investments are direct to the enterprise or through one of our many partners, the goal is the same: to provide the flexible, patient, and risk-tolerant capital needed to advance both the business and social purpose of organizations that are making a powerful contribution to our city and region.  
It is this singular focus that drives us to search for new and creative ways to deploy the capital. One such idea is our search for what we call a catalytic investment. Based on opportunities, a portion of the capital may be set aside for a limited number of investments that not only advance our impact, but as the centerpiece of a community-driven economic development plan, help accelerate large-scale economic development initiatives in local communities.    The full requirements can be found here.  Other possibilities are co-investment and participation opportunities with other socially-minded lenders.
Please stay tuned and follow us on social media to stay up to date as I will have a number of exciting announcements coming soon. Learn more about investing by  clicking here . If you know of or are running a social enterprise seeking capital, you can learn more and start an application by  clicking here . If you would like me or someone from my team to come out to your block club or community meeting, please contact  Vickie Howard , and we will do our best to make sure it happens.
On behalf of the businesses that have received resources to grow and expand, and the individuals that benefit from their products and services, I want to thank you for your interest and support of this work. The challenges our communities face are many, but with your help, we can all Benefit Chicago.

William W. Towns, Ph.D., MBA
Executive Director

NowPow Platform Screenshot
Capital at Work
A New Way to Manage Health

"Four in five physicians wish they could prescribe social resources as easily as we can prescribe drugs," says Dr. Stacy Lindau, Founder, and Chief Innovation Officer of NowPow. "Healthcare is not synonymous with health, because health is everything else we do as a society to be healthy. It is having access to resources that support our everyday health, and it's the lack of those resources that result in health disparities among people and communities."
Impact Investing All-Stars

We recently joined the annual Impact Engine Showcase, a gathering that convenes investors and social enterprises to collaborate and learn from each other. This year's event was sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation and featured key insights from Julia Stasch, President of MacArthur, and Priya Parrish, Managing Partner at Impact Engine.
We were proud to be among four of the funds presenting a portfolio member at the showcase:

Rachel Kohler and William Towns

Rachel Kohler, COO of NowPow, one of our portfolio members, was introduced by William W. Towns and provided an overview of their work in health and technology. Rachel shared NowPow's innovative model as they look to generate financial and social returns in their community.

Event Insights
  • Tweet: "We don't need to throw away capitalism - we need to make it better and improve it. Imagine if we could proactively direct capital to initiatives that solved all of society's issues" - @priyaparrish #impinvchi
  • Tweet: .@_NowPow_ sharing their model of addressing patients most vital needs through the use of technology #InvestInImpact #ImpInvChi #BenefitChicago #HealthTech
By the Numbers

$257 million
31/69 $96 million 10 loans
in financing 
for-profit and 
nonprofit applicants
in investment capital raised, closing in on our goal of $100 million
for $25 million with more to close soon

News and Views
Insight Magazine | Carolyn Tang Kmet

Advice from local social impact leaders on how individuals can create impact as consumers, employees, mentors, and professionals. 

Medill Reports Chicago | Cyan Zhong

A recap of the recent Impact Investing Showcase featuring thoughts on the impact investing sector by Priya Parrish, Managing Partner of Impact Engine,  Peter Matuszak,  Director of Public Affairs, Office of the City Treasurer, City of Chicago, and William Towns, Executive Director, Benefit Chicago.

A new report presents several strategies used to preserve affordable rental housing in Cook County. Interviews were conducted with the Community Investment Corporation (CIC) staff, the City of Chicago's Department of Planning and Development, and Elevate Energy.

Chicago Tribune | Steve Johnson

"The first 100&Change elicited such enthusiasm and excitement from both organizations engaged in social change and from the philanthropic community that we're doing it again," said Cecilia Conrad, the MacArthur managing director who leads 100&Change.
Chicago Sun-Times | Maudlyne Ihejirika
"This is going to help us create more sweet jobs for individuals that have had brushes with the law, and even more importantly, it will allow us to create a toolbox for replication in similar communities," Palms-Barber said. "It's an amazing opportunity for us to pollinate our model across the country, and even around the world."

Block Club Chicago 
Jamie Nesbitt Golden
An audacious new project in Englewood may be the key to revitalizing the community.

"Everything you can imagine, we dealt with it. We had so many chances to give up, but we kept on working... We want to see more black-owned businesses. We want to see this neighborhood thrive...," Cory Barnes, Owner 

Block Club Chicago  | Kelly Bauer
Benefit Chicago gave a nonprofit $5 million, which the group will use to help transform five closed schools on the South and West sides.