The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), Local Initiatives Support Group (LISC) and Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI) today announced thefirst round of small businesses receiving grants as part of the Rebuild Distressed Communities (RDC) program, with $1.7 million awarded to 58 small businesses facing significant damages due to events of civil unrest. Additionally, the State of Illinois and its community partners kicked off the next phase of the $25 million RDC program – releasing a Request for Proposals (RFP) that will make $10 million available for corridor improvement projects planned for later this year to address the ongoing needs of impacted communities. Small Business Grants

RDC grant recipients reflect a range of sectors including small and family-owned businesses, restaurants, medical offices, retail and others. Awards averaged $29,000, with funding eligible for reimbursement on the cost of damages, insurance deductibles, and construction work related to repairs as a result of civil unrest. A full list of Round 1 RDC small business grant recipients can be found on DCEO’s website. The State of Illinois teamed up with local organizations, LISC and CNI, last year to manage the grant review process. Working with these local partners, DCEO has developed a process to connect small businesses with qualified contractors to perform repair work funded under the program – and has prioritized local and BEP contractors to ensure multiple local community benefits. New construction projects will be based on the project scope determined by contractors performing the work. Applications were reviewed and evaluated according to the extent of property damage, with preference given to business types and locations facing some of the most pronounced impacts of civil unrest in 2020. Additional funding for small businesses is expected in the weeks ahead, with Round 2 awards currently under review. Corridor Improvements RFP

To support continued investments in communities, DCEO and its partners are launching an RFP marking the next phase of the program – Corridor Improvements for Rebuild Distressed Communities. This subset of the program will support capital investment in commercial corridors that have experienced property damage. The goal is to fund projects that will spark long-term economic growth while helping further support the economic recovery of small businesses affected by civil unrest.

DCEO and partners are calling on community-based organizations in communities that experienced civil unrest to apply for $10 million made available through the RFP – including, but not limited to nonprofits, local governments, business improvement districts, special service areas, and others. DCEO and partners will first release a pre-solicitation and will begin accepting applications on Monday April 5th through June 7th. For more information on the pre-solicitation RFP or to attend an informational webinar held by LISC and CNI on March 26, please visit DCEO’s website. This announcement is the latest in a series of grants made available by the State of Illinois for small businesses and communities hit hardest by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Since March of last year, DCEO has deployed more than $1 billion in funding opportunities – including the Business Interruption Grants program, the largest of its kind in the nation economic support program which provided 9,000 grants totaling $275 million for businesses across the state. DCEO and its community navigator partners continue to assist small businesses in need by unlocking access to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and other federal programs.

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