The Coleman Foundation Announces Second Quarter 2019 Entrepreneurship Grants

In the second quarter of 2019, the Coleman Foundation approved grants totaling nearly $1 million to advance its Entrepreneurship-In-Neighborhoods strategies.  These strategies are:


Strategy 1: Supporting individual non-profit business service organizations (BSOs) that provide training and other supports to aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs in local communities

Strategy 2: Develop and enhance networks of business service organizations to scale professional and program development across multiple organizations that share best practices

Strategy 3: Build a neighborhood entrepreneurial pathway ecosystem, facilitating transitions based on functional expertise or economic sector specialization


Chicago Community Foundation, IL         

$500,000 – Businesses of Color Partnership Fund

As announced previously, The Coleman Foundation has joined The Chicago Community Trust, JPMorgan Chase Foundation and Robert R. McCormick Foundation as a funder of the Businesses of Color Partnerships Fund in an effort intended to support collaborations committed to better serving entrepreneurs of color.  The Fund is expected to make approximately twelve one-year grant awards ranging between $50,000 and $175,000, with the possibility for renewal.

More information about the Fund is available at this link, including the full RFP as well as dates and times of information sessions which will occur later this month.  Letters of inquiry must be submitted to the Chicago Community Trust as per the instructions displayed on the linked page.  Please do NOT submit them to The Coleman Foundation.


Far South Community Development Corporation, IL      

$150,000 – Crowdfunded Commercial Corridor Program

The award is to establish a pilot effort intended to create accessible capital for local neighborhood business owners by cultivating many small neighborhood investors.  It will match local business-to-consumer, retail and service operations seeking to raise between $50,000 and $1,000,000 and individuals who can invest between $100 and $5,000 per year. Far South CDC will identify business owners within local communities, provide operations and fundraising training and introduce them to local investors who have completed a certified crowdfunding investor program. The businesses will undergo a rigorous due diligence process to help them improve their business operations and prepare to take on investors, while local residents would receive training on equity crowdfunding and how to make educated investment decisions. Additionally, business owners will be eligible to operate within a grant-subsidized pop-up retail location in a commercial corridor to test their ideas and begin building an audience.


Rebuild Foundation, IL        

$216,113 – The Arts & Makers Community Business Academy

The award is to establish the Arts and Makers Community Business Academy (CBA), a partnership between Rebuild Foundation and Sunshine Enterprises.   The CBA consists of a twelve-session course in basic business planning and management, taught by Sunshine Enterprises instructors, and tailored to the needs of start-up entrepreneurs with diverse backgrounds and interests in businesses involving the arts and craftsmanship. Members of the educational cohort will proceed through the curriculum, simulations, and perform an industry-specific competitive analysis. After completing the curriculum, entrepreneurs will work with consultants to set goals, develop action plans, and overcome obstacles. Additionally, a year-round schedule of seminars and master classes for graduates offers networking, group coaching, and interactive sessions on advanced topics.  The program will be held at Rebuild Foundation’s cultural sites, including St. Laurence School once renovations to the building are complete. For each cohort Rebuild will host a pop-marketplace to enable CBA participants to get selling and customer service experiences while receiving feedback from potential buyers.


Rogers Park Business Alliance, IL

$114,000 – GROW Entrepreneurial Training Program

The award is to support the GROW Entrepreneurial Training Program (GROW) which addresses the need for entrepreneurship training on the north side of Chicago, especially in the Rogers Park community where small, start-up businesses represent more than 70% of the overall business community. The GROW curriculum covers basic business management topics addressed during ten sessions.   Currently, GROW is offered only in English and RPBA will expand the program to serve Spanish speakers, a significant population in Rogers Park.  Three GROW training programs will be offered in Spanish and three GROW training programs will be offered in English during the grant period.