Home » Our Impact » Current Initiatives » Small Business and Non-Profit Grants
WSU seeks to distribute $500,000 each year to West Side small businesses who are creating jobs and wealth in their neighborhoods. These grants can supplement other capital from entrepreneurs and will help them further strengthen their businesses. JP Morgan Chase, Northern Trust, and West Side United are providing the funds. Accion Chicago is serving as the fiscal agent for the program.

Due to the linkages between economic opportunities and health, the Small Business Grant Pool focuses on financial stability of businesses and residents on the west side. WSU piloted a grant program in 2018 where $85,000 in funds were distributed. In 2019, WSU received a grant from JP Morgan Chase through their Advancing Cities initiative. The Small Business grant will be offered for the next three years, with the goal of making it a permanent program.

The owners of small businesses located in 10 West Side Neighborhoods – Austin, Belmont Cragin, East Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Lower West Side (Pilsen), Near Westside, North Lawndale, South Lawndale (Little Village), West Garfield Park and West Town – are eligible to apply. Businesses that can demonstrate they serve these communities are also eligible to apply. Startups are encouraged to apply.

The criteria that the evaluation committee will include the following:

  • Strength of the small business (measured by profit and revenue)
  • Importance of the business to the surrounding community (evaluated based on the narrative provided in the grant application)
  • Proposed use of the grant funds (evaluated based on the narrative provided in the grant application)

All seven grantees have expressed how grateful they are for the faith WSU has shown in their businesses. The below quotes were taken from the narratives prepared by Accion.

“The West Side United grant has been a “blessing” to the organization and Jerome is excited to use the funding to help more people in his community.”
The Exodus Drum and Bugle Corp

“I am really grateful that I was able to get this grant, it gave me the confidence needed to execute the plan and I am really thankful for that.”
Social Impact Films

“Thanks to grant funding from West Side United, TCEP is able to take the Tcep-Flor Azteca project to the next level. This includes their recent investment in new cooking equipment in order to allow for the cooperative to cook for larger events and earn more income”
– Telpochcalli Community Education Project

Info session video

Austin Weekly News Article
From the beginning, West Side United was meant to do more than address healthcare disparities. The hospitals that founded it understood that in order to help West Siders get healthier, they must also address economic, social, educational and public safety issues. That is why, for the second year in a row, they are giving out grants to West Side businesses and nonprofits. Continue reading...

Block Club Chicago Article
Small businesses and nonprofits have a chance to get a financial boost to improve the economic vitality on the West Side thanks to a grant program being launched Monday by West Side United. Continue reading...

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distributed to seven organizations in 2019, leading to a 39% increase in revenue
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organizations attended informational sessions in fall 2019
Our Partners
  • Accion
  • Austin African American Business Networking Association
  • West Side Forward
  • ESDC Pilsen
  • Northwest Side Housing Center
  • Little Village Chamber of Commerce
  • North Lawndale Employment Network
  • New Covenant Community Development Corporation
  • Puerto Rican Cultural Center
  • Garfield Park Community Council
  • Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection
  • Women’s Business Development Center
Our Funders
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • Northern Trust

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