Fostering Relationships between Catalytic Real Estate Projects, Related Businesses, and Chicagoland’s Corporate Community
A lack of equity and equity-like resources is a common, acknowledged, and critical capital gap in the financing marketplace. However, community-driven, community-led, or community-supported catalytic real estate projects and related businesses often have other critical needs.
Both experienced and emerging for-profit real estate developers and their nonprofit counterparts are active in disinvested neighborhoods, and they are eager to increase the volume and accelerate the pace of development projects. Chicago’s corporate community has something to offer to all of them.
For example, while nonprofit community development corporations often have unique insights into community needs and the projects that can help address them, they may be thinly staffed and may not have deep expertise in all the disciplines required for project success, including strategy, analytics, law, finance, accounting, marketing, and more.
The Corporate Coalition created the Corporate Connector to increase the likelihood of success of catalytic real estate projects, strengthen sponsor and related business enterprise capacity by tapping into the skills and technical expertise of Chicago region businesses, and enhance project viability by making connections that could result in business and partnership opportunities.
How it works
As eligible projects are identified, Corporate Connector staff facilitate introductions and conversations with Corporate Coalition members and other interested companies in the Chicago area to provide technical supports and identify potential business partnerships.
Sourcing Corporate Connector Projects: Currently, projects come to the Corporate Connector through established relationships with CDFI partners in the EPIC Fund Collaborative (CCLF, IFF, LISC Chicago), the Chicago Prize competition, the Community Desk Chicago, and the City of Chicago Invest South/West program.
Inventorying and Providing Technical Supports: Conversations with Corporate Coalition members and other interested companies are yielding an inventory of resources, skills, expertise, and connections that companies have and are eager to share on a pro bono basis.
Facilitating Business Partnerships: Other needs are for the tenancies, supply chain opportunities, and program partnerships that enhance project viability.
Through conversations with catalytic real estate project sponsors, Corporate Connector staff are identifying specific needs and requests and matching them with available supports and connections.