West Side United announces $6 million investment to close health gaps on Chicago's west side

West Side United announces $6 million investment to close health gaps on Chicago's west side

Press releases may be edited for formatting or style | February 26, 2020 Business Affairs

"The 16-year death gap between the Loop and Chicago's West Side is unjust, unnatural and must be addressed by improving the economic conditions that drive poor health," said Rush University Medical Center CEO Dr. Omar Lateef. "Hospitals – the economic engines in the communities they serve-- can do just that by directing a very small portion of their investment portfolios to allow thousands of small businesses and community organizations excluded from the traditional financial sector to create jobs and opportunity. But just as physicians work in teams to treat heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes, hospitals must coordinate their efforts with community members, committed leaders like Mayor Lightfoot and progressive organizations like the American Medical Association."

According to the Democracy Collaborative's Healthcare Anchor Network, if health systems nationwide redirect even a small portion of their investment assets to place-based investments, billions of dollars would be shifted toward addressing economic and environmental disparities in local communities.

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In addition to providing social impact advisory services and a $1.5 million investment, Northern Trust worked with Rush Hospital and West Side United to create an Impact Investment Collaborative focused on lending within Chicago's West Side.

"We congratulate the AMA and the leading Chicago hospitals behind this effort for their leadership and broad view of community needs," Northern Trust Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael O'Grady said. "Northern Trust has a deep and longstanding commitment to our city since our founding in Chicago 130 years ago. We are proud to align our social impact investing and philanthropy to help bring resources to our city's South and West sides and create positive sustainable change in historically underserved communities."

Through its social impact investment collaborative, West Side United will make a $6 million investment this year through four community development financial institutions (CDFIs)—mission driven financial institutions certified by the U.S. Department of Treasury to finance businesses, non-profits, micro enterprises, and affordable housing serving low-income communities. The four selected CDFIs include IFF, the Chicago Community Loan Fund, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and Accion Chicago. The CDFIs will offer loan capital to small businesses and organizations throughout the west side based on the community's needs, such as improving access to affordable housing and healthy foods, financing local business projects, or supporting job creation efforts and educational programs.

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