Place-Based Cultural Projects
Place-based cultural projects that utilize creative placemaking and placekeeping techniques to engage community members in initiating physical development, elevate cultural awareness, and spur economic growth in historically marginalized neighborhoods, in communities that have experienced disinvestment, and in low- or middle-income places where the current population is at risk of displacement.
Infrastructure Support Organizations
Infrastructure support organizations, which conduct planning, management and technical assistance, policy research, evaluation, data analysis, or other assistance offered to groups working at the community, citywide, or regional level.
We support community-based organizations engaged in economic development and community development financial institutions that aid those organizations with loans and other forms of support for socially beneficial development. We also support seasoned and effective community development organizations poised to work at greater scale or to take on new challenges. We believe that seeding early investment in commercial corridors and industrial clusters and providing support to creative placemaking and placekeeping initiatives, particularly when responsive to community needs, can help to spur comprehensive community and economic development.
While we are utilizing geographic areas for our place-based economic development work, we recognize that there are communities that we seek to serve that do not fit neatly into Chicago’s neighborhood boundaries. For example, while Chicago’s Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) population is the area’s fastest growing, the region’s AAPI residents live throughout the city and the suburbs. Similarly, a place-based approach at the neighborhood level is imperfect for meeting the needs of other populations, such as disabled, Indigenous, LGBTQIA+, and Arab Americans, who are also dispersed. Wherever possible, we will support these populations through our grantmaking strategy but will also seek opportunities that align with our broader goal of advancing racial equity and building a more inclusive Chicago.View Vital Communities Grant Guidelines
Evaluation for Learning
The goal of Vital Communities is to support place-based community and spatial economic development efforts, ultimately contributing to broader neighborhood economic vibrancy. These activities serve the broader Chicago Commitment goal of achieving a more equitable Chicago by expanding access to civic, cultural, and economic opportunities and resources. The Chicago Commitment will engage an evaluation and learning partner to measure and evaluate the progress of the strategy, test assumptions underpinning it, and collect information about the context in which the strategy operates. The focus of these activities is on learning. We aim to understand how the strategy contributes to advancing racial equity and building a more inclusive Chicago.
Findings and analysis from evaluation activities will be published as they become available.