Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy by Investing in Chicago’s West Side

January 20, 2020

Chicago West Side United Hospitals, JPMorgan Chase and Northern Trust invest $500,000 to Boost Small Business Growth  on Chicago’s West Side

CHICAGO – Acknowledging the link between economic vitality and health, West Side United hospitals in collaboration with JPMorgan Chase, Northern Trust, Accion Chicago and community leaders announced today they are investing $500,000 to support small business growth and boost commercial activity in under-resourced West Side neighborhoods.

Martin Luther King, Jr. understood the historical inequities facing residents who wanted to open businesses and find better housing in under-resourced neighborhoods,” said Ayesha Jaco, Executive Director of West Side United. “This is why we are thrilled to be awarding these owners grant funding that will boost their ability to build strong business corridors, hire locally and improve their operations.”

West Side United received 447 applications, more than four times the number received in 2018. Thirty-eight percent of those said that they needed more capital to grow, and nearly two-thirds are minority, low to moderate income and women.  Ten percent are immigrants. Through the Small Business Accelerator program, 29 small businesses will be receiving up to $25,000 and start-up businesses up to $13,000.

Amazing Edibles, a west side business for more than 25 years, is receiving its second grant. Last year it used the funding to purchase a second van so it could expand its business. This year, the owner, Andrea Herrera, plans to create an internship program where they will teach several residents different parts of the company. “As a minority-owned business, we are committed to sharing our expertise with others in an effort to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs who will make the West Side their home.” 

With guidance from Accion Chicago, hospital leaders and members of West Side United’s Community Advisory Committee businesses were selected from Austin, North and South Lawndale, East and West Garfield Park, West Town, Humboldt Park and Belmont Cragin.

“As our hospitals and partners acknowledge the link between economic vitality and health, we are hoping to continue to shine a light on the importance of investing in small businesses. In addition to these grants, our hospitals have been integrating some of these businesses into our supply chain to provide opportunities for more sustainable growth,” said Mary Kate Daly, Vice-President, Lurie Children’s Healthy Communities. Daly acknowledged that Lurie Children’s and other hospitals have hired Amazing Edibles to cater several events in the past year

“Vibrant small businesses are key to boosting commercial activity in a neighborhood, creating jobs for local residents and building a prosperous community,” said Charlie Corrigan, Head of Midwest Philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase. “At JPMorgan Chase, we are committed to supporting small business activity, with a focus on entrepreneurs of color, as part of our $40 million investment to connect South and West side residents with economic opportunity.”

All grantees, as well as all applicants are also eligible for business coaching from Accion Chicago, a non-profit that provides the tools and on-one-coaching for individuals to create and expand their small business regardless of their backgrounds and economic barriers.   


List of Grantees: 

The Lighthouse Cafe LLC; Amazing Edibles; Strickland Brothers Bbq & Jerk; Salsedo Press Inc; FIIT CITY; The Corner Store Deli; Metaphrasis Language and Cultural Solutions, LLC; Colemans barbque 2; It Takes A Village; DermaPhilia; All The Details Cleaning; Rose and Jaad Construction INC; Chef's on the Go'Go LLC; Madison Ethos, Inc.; BLK Building Solutions LLC; DLV Printing Service, Inc.; Thomas Mechanical Corporation; A Taste of Nostalgia; Smooth and Social Roots

LiveEquipd LLC; Back of the Yards Coffee LLC; DBA Pilsen Coffeehouse; 6978 Soul Food; US Veterans Security, LLC; Worthy One Designs; La Chilangueda; Terra Bites; AD HOC PROPERTY SERVICES, LLC; McCanna Videography; Twenty Eleven Construction Inc


West Side United

West Side United seeks to improve neighborhood health by addressing inequality in healthcare, education, economic vitality and the physical environment using a cross-sector, place-based strategy. Partners include healthcare providers including AMITA Health, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Cook County Health,  Rush University Medical Center, Sinai Health System and UI Health, community organizations, residents, the faith-based community, business, government and others working together to coordinate investments and share outcomes.

Learn more about West Side United and its partners in economic vitality at: