Neighborhood Opportunity Fund to Open for Applications in August 2021
The Neighborhood Opportunity Fund will reopen for grant applications up to $250,000 starting Monday, Aug. 16, with more than $4 million in funding available for small businesses, non-profits and cultural institutions across Chicago’s West, Southwest and South sides. The deadline for applications is Friday, Sept. 24.
The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) program supports private rehabilitation and construction projects that add economic vitality to neighborhood commercial corridors and support local needs. Grants of up to $250,000 are available.
The Neighborhood Opportunity Fund represents a key funding tool for Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot’s INVEST South/West initiative, which is marshaling more than $750 million in public and private investment to revitalize 12 commercial corridors across 10 South and West side neighborhoods.
A map of eligible areas, application details, and recent grant winners can be found on the program’s website, www.chicago.gov/nof.
Neighborhood Opportunity Fund staff will host several virtual informational sessions this month to assist South and West side entrepreneurs in preparing their applications for the highly competitive program.
The Neighborhood Opportunity Fund was established in 2016 to allocate zoning fees from downtown construction projects toward business projects along West, Southwest and South side commercial corridors.
Grants may be applied toward costs including building rehabilitation, new construction, design, site acquisition and preparation, technical services and other expenses.
To date, the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund program has committed about $28 million in financing to 164 active and completed project across the West, Southwest and South sides of Chicago.
Finalists selected in the most recent funding round, announced last month, included a juice bar in Humboldt Park, a dance studio in Calumet Heights, and a shared community kitchen in Greater Grand Crossing.