Catalyzing Neighborhood Investment

Addressing the Wealth Gap at the Neighborhood Level

The conditions of a community affect a household’s ability to build wealth. Proximity to quality jobs, transportation options, goods and services and lifestyle amenities influences property values and gives residents access to opportunities. The Trust’s Catalyzing Neighborhood Investment strategy addresses these conditions in order to make our blocks, our neighborhoods, and our region more livable for everyone.

The Trust defines neighborhood investment as strategic investments made by, for and with the community for the purpose of attracting and deploying socially driven financial capital. Neighborhood investment aims to improve local and regional economies where conventional market activity does not fully meet community needs. The goal of the strategy is more financial investments in disinvested Black and Latinx communities.

Community-driven investment in a place as jurisdictionally and economically complex as the Chicago region will only be effective by working together—across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors; across neighborhoods and political jurisdictions; across organizations and institutions; and across topic areas and disciplines. Making collaboration easier and more efficient for disinvested communities will improve their access to financial capital and ability to absorb it.

The Catalyzing Neighborhood Investment strategy supports eight interventions across three major areas of the community investment landscape.

Back to the Strategic Plan overview.

  • Build The Foundation

    Create the Conditions for Collaborative Community Investment

    Community-driven investment is only as strong the people, organizations and partnerships leading it. Community-based organizations are the heart of the ecosystem. The individuals at the helm of these organizations are often gifted collaborators. Coalitions, consortia and other collaborative structures make working together possible. And public-private partnerships create market opportunities. The Trust supports these foundational components of the ecosystem.


    Flexible Funding provides small and medium-sized community-driven investment organizations deeply rooted in Black and Latinx communities with general operating support, capacity-building resources, and funding for discrete community investment collaboration opportunities.

    Backbone funding for coalitions, consortia and other collaborative structures with neighborhood investment agendas.

    Opportunities for funding:

    • Some funding will be made available through the Take Collective Action and Change Systems approaches described below. Funding outside of these areas is available by invitation only.

    Leadership development for individuals innovating on collaborative community-driven investment.

    Opportunities for funding:

    • No funding available at this time.

    Pathways for private-sector investment in disinvested majority Black and Latinx communities.

    Opportunities for funding:

  • Take Collective Action

    Collaborate on Community Investment Solutions that Strengthen Places

    Community stakeholders come together to solve problems and pursue opportunities. These efforts are often broad and geographically organized around a neighborhood, commercial corridor, or political jurisdiction. They also can be focused and organized around agreed-upon community assets such as an underutilized building, transit station, or anchor institution. Both approaches require the synthesis of ideas into consensus priorities, coordination of resources into achievable goals, and organizational or institutional capacity to deliver on those goals. The Trust supports a variety of planning solutions that guide community investment.


    Creation and implementation of place-based and issue-area plans and initiatives that advance neighborhood investment goals.

    Opportunities for funding:

    Creative use of community assets that serve as catalysts for neighborhood investment.

    Opportunities for funding:

  • Change Systems

    Leverage Finance and Policy to Sustain Community Investments

    Even the best-laid plans for neighborhood investment will falter on implementation without the fuel of financial capital or a supportive policy environment. The stakes are especially high in disinvested communities where financial capital investment—specifically, private capital—pales in comparison to affluent communities. The Trust supports finance and policy solutions that institutionalize change.


    Finance and development tools that facilitate neighborhood investment.

    Opportunities for funding:

    Community-driven investment policy solutions.

    Opportunities for funding:

Our Team