Citi Foundation Grants a Collective $6 Million to Six Greater Chicago Nonprofits Working Locally to Increase Economic Opportunity In Latest Expansion of the Community Progress Makers Initiative

Each of the six organizations is set to receive $1 million in unrestricted funding over three years as well as access to a learning community and network of Community Progress Makers across the country   

NEW YORK – The Citi Foundation (“the Foundation”) today announced that six nonprofits based in the greater Chicago area have been selected as part of the fourth cohort of the Community Progress Makers initiative.

First launched in 2015, Community Progress Makers provides unrestricted funding to visionary organizations that work locally to connect low-income communities to greater economic opportunity. With this latest cohort, the Foundation has now committed $115 million in grants to Community Progress Makers since its inception.

The current cohort of Community Progress Makers has been selected through an open request for proposals (RFP) process announced this past fall, which focused on organizations working in the areas of affordable housing and access, economic development, financial health and workforce readiness.

“Unrestricted grant support is in high demand and low supply and we have witnessed how transformational this type of funding can be for community organizations,” said Brandee McHale, President of the Citi Foundation and Head of Citi Community Investing & Development. “This is why we are pleased to support the innovative solutions and deep community work that the organizations in this fourth cohort of Community Progress Makers are leading in the greater Chicago area through flexible, trust-based funding.”

“The Citi Foundation’s Community Progress Makers initiative is an important philanthropic investment in Chicago-area nonprofits, furthering our shared mission to enable growth and economic progress,” said Mindy Mercaldo, Head of U.S. Branch Network, Citi. "With flexible grant support and access to an expansive resource network, these leaders are ready to put more people on a path to financial health.”

All recipients will have access to a learning community where they can collaborate and share best practices with a network of Community Progress Makers across the country, as well as receive technical assistance delivered by national experts and leading researchers. Combining their local expertise and track record of community impact with a national network of resources and changemakers, these nonprofits are poised to accelerate their community-based work in the greater Chicago area.

“Financial empowerment and well-being are essential for building stronger, more resilient communities in Illinois," said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. "The Citi Foundation's Community Progress Makers initiative provides vital support and resources, empowering mission-driven organizations to dismantle barriers and pave the way for a future that champions equity and inclusivity for everyone."

These are the community organizations selected to the fourth cohort of Community Progress Makers in the greater Chicago area:

  • Chicago Community Loan Fund
  • Ladder Up
  • North Lawndale Employment Network
  • Sunshine Enterprises
  • Women's Business Development Center
  • Working Credit

“With an unrestricted grant of this size, the Citi Foundation is signaling its trust in community organizations like ours working on the local level,” said Brenda M. Palms, President and CEO, North Lawndale Employment Network. “We are thrilled to join the fourth Community Progress Makers cohort and energized by the ways in which this support will catalyze our efforts to reduce barriers to employment in Chicago for years to come.”

For more information, please visit and follow the impact these organizations are making at #ProgressMakers on social media.