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When it comes to helping individuals, families, and communities build wealth, neighborhood investment is a force multiplier. Neighborhood development projects create businesses and jobs, bring in new services and amenities that make life better for residents, and increase the flow of dollars to and within the community.
The Trust’s Catalyzing Neighborhood Investment (CNI) strategy offers various flexible funding opportunities to meet the needs of Black and Latinx developers who typically face discriminatory barriers to project financing.
One CNI grant recipient is the Endeleo Institute, an organization dedicated to revitalizing the 95th Street corridor in Chicago’s Washington Heights neighborhood. Trust funding has helped Endeleo build its organizational strength and complete pre-development work on the purchase of a vacant building that will soon be transformed into Café Du Bois, a neighborhood coffee shop and laundromat.
“Café Du Bois will be a gathering place where neighbors can get to know each other—a latte with your laundry.“
MELVIN THOMPSON EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ENDELEO INSTITUTE
Projects like Café Du Bois and Endeleo’s previous restoration of the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library are a key part of the organization’s strategy to transform 95th Street from a transit connection to a retail and services destination. People want to be part of safe, thriving neighborhoods with access to essential services—grocery stores, parks, community centers, and restaurants. Washington Heights has some of the highest homeownership rates among Chicago’s majority-Black neighborhoods, yet a market analysis revealed that each year, $198 million in retail spending leaks out of the community to areas with more services and amenities.
“Folks who want the basic amenities like everyone else have to hop into the car. I’ve seen people traveling far and wide on the bus to get things they don’t have outside their door,” says Melvin Thompson, Endeleo’s executive director.
When the pandemic threatened to derail the vision for Café Du Bois, an additional $700,000 grant from We Rise Together ensured the project could move forward. And a first-rate business plan developed in collaboration with the Corporate Coalition helped secure additional financing.
Through the power of partnership, Café Du Bois will become a place where Washington Heights residents can meet, create, and be inspired.