The Coleman Foundation Announces Fourth Quarter 2019 Entrepreneurship Grants


In the fourth quarter of 2019, the Coleman Foundation approved grants totaling $830,000 to non-profit organizations in support of entrepreneurship programming. Those receiving grants in this program area are:


Arts Alliance Illinois, IL

$500,000 – Center for Creative Entrepreneurship

The Arts Alliance Illinois and 2112 Chicago plan to launch the Center for Creative Entrepreneurship (CCE). The Alliance will provide financial oversight, administrative support, promotion of resources to its state-wide member base, and assist with identifying partner organizations.

2112 is Chicago’s first incubator focused on the development of business and entrepreneurs in music, film/video and creative technology. 2112 Chicago will be responsible for developing programming. The Center for Creative Entrepreneurship will serve to coordinate several business entities to support entrepreneurship in the creative industries through ongoing hands-on training, mentorship, networking events, industry sector specific boot camps/accelerator programs, and collection of content for both artists and creative entrepreneurs.


LISC Chicago, IL

$100,000 – Integrating Financial Coaching in Community Entrepreneurship Programs – Westside Collaborative

Many aspiring entrepreneurs face financial barriers that threaten their dreams of opening or growing a business. It may be poor or invisible personal credit that bars them from accessing traditional loan products, irregular income that prevents them from making long-term plans, or the burden of debt and onerous payment plans that makes saving and investing difficult.

This award builds upon a previously funded pilot effort whereby a LISC-trained NLEN employee provided financial coaching services to entrepreneurs working with Sunshine Enterprise, another CFI grantee which provides training and coaching of individuals for success in business.  Of the 57 people who attended a workshop co-facilitated by NLEN and Sunshine, 39 went on to work directly with a financial coach via one-on-one sessions with 28 (72%) having at least five meetings. Almost half of those 39 have increased their FICO credit score, net income, and/or net worth, and many have taken meaningful steps toward opening or growing their business.

LISC plans to replicate the model piloted with NLEN and Sunshine with several business support organizations on the West Side. A mobile financial coach will work with individuals referred from partners on personal financial goals. The coach would also provide group-based workshops on topics like credit building, savings, and budgeting.


Women’s Business Development Center, IL

$230,000 – ScaleUp Program and Early Childhood Education Entrepreneurship Program

The award is for support for two of WBDC’s main program offerings, ScaleUp and The Early Childhood Education Entrepreneurship Program (ECEEP), each of which have received prior CFI support.

The WBDC proposes to deliver two 9-week cohorts of ScaleUp, a 9-week cohort-based curriculum program designed to assist established, local community businesses that are stagnant but poised for growth.  Programs will serve entrepreneurs in South East Side communities (Chatham, South Shore, etc) and South Suburban communities. The WBDC proposes to deliver three 7-week cohorts of Elevate Your Child Care Business, a seven-week cohort training program that allows entrepreneurs entering the industry to build a solid foundation to earn a living wage and operate a profitable business.  Training will be offered in Belmont/Cragin, Little Village, and in Aurora or the South Suburbs.

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The Coleman Foundation, Inc.
20 N. Wacker Dr. Suite 3410
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone (312) 902-7120
Fax (312) 902-7124

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