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Lightfoot Announces $10 Million Initiative To Help Restore Small Businesses

By Colby Smith

Lightfoot Announces $10 Million Initiative To Help Restore Small Businesses

The funds would go towards small businesses citywide, but there are ways for you to help.

On Tuesday, June 3, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that she would be pooling $10 million for small businesses after a long weekend that left many locals picking up the pieces–some of which have businesses that were already reeling from the struggles of having to close due to the pandemic.

“We will continue to isolate grant funds to support those businesses that have suffered most and need to recover,” the mayor said in a recent address.

The initiative is to take place citywide immediately, with larger allocations going to those businesses predominately affected in the South and West Sides of Chicago.

Lightfoot also called on insurance companies to “cut through red tape, stop hiding behind small print, get your adjusters out into the neighborhoods and start cutting checks.”

In addition to Lightfoot’s funds, however, there are ways the community can chip in to help where they can.

Over the past days, the City of Chicago saw crowds of demonstrators that included peaceful protesters, but also a number of riotous out-of-staters that unfortunately resulted in the damage of locally-owned businesses. The incidents have spurred the community into action on restoring these areas as best as they can.

In the mayor’s speech, Lightfoot cited the need to expand such programs as My Block My Hood My City — a local youth-focused organization that seeks to benefit local communities through education, service, and social-awareness.

The organization has recently been leading the charge on helping small businesses in local communities through fundraising for small businesses as well as organizing teams to repair damages of those affected.

“Out-of-state looters have taken hammers and batons to our communities, breaking windows of small businesses and spraying graffiti, using this crisis as an opportunity to tear down black communities. Funds raised will go to support our ongoing operations and efforts to repair small businesses,” its website reads.

Additionally, My Block My Hood My City is accepting volunteers to help repair the damage of the businesses in removing graffiti, replacing glass, and general reconstruction. Small businesses in need of repair can apply for aid at this link.

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Through this organization and other efforts, you can help these businesses by assisting in cleanup initiatives. For more news about organized clean ups, you can find many organized efforts on Twitter. 

Today, June 3, Common Ground Foundation, the organization founded by Grammy and Academy Award-winning rapper/actor Common, has planned a cleanup that will take place in the following areas:

  • Roseland – Halsted Strip
  • 95th – Stony Island Strip
  • 87th – State St, Jewels Parking Lot
  • 79th – Cottage Grove
  • 47th – Walmart Parking Lot

Other ways that you can help are by supporting these businesses, once they reopen if that is the case. Black People Eats is a restaurant directory that showcases black-owned restaurants around the nation. The company has recently established a fundraiser for black-owned eateries that you can donate to here. Furthermore, you can find more local black-owned restaurants in the city through blackownedchicago.com.

Additionally, you can donate directly to businesses that have set up funds that would allow them to repair damage, such as Central Camera — Chicago’s oldest camera store. Old Fashioned Donuts has also set up a gofundme page to help fund repairs.

As some grocers have been forced to shutter in the wake of the protests, many families are without a local source of groceries and medication. In an effort to help residents get the supplies they need, the Chicago Family Pairing Program is working to pair families on the North Side with those on the South and West sides who can deliver to these areas. Those supplies will be covered by the funds raised by the program. Volunteers can fill out a form here.

See more: Restaurants came to the rescue when CPS suspended meal distribution program to children.