Chicago neighborhood initiatives was formed in 2010 to coordinate resources, economic development and neighborhood revitalization efforts in chicagoland’s low-to-moderate income neighborhoods. CNI seeks to revitalize neighborhoods and create jobs by developing high impact projects, providing financial resources to entrepreneurs and sustaining long-term community partnerships.

Community Renewal

In concert with its belief that every community can and should be one of opportunity, CNI initiates and undertakes large scale, residential, commercial, and industrial real estate projects in under-resourced, asset rich but under-invested communities in Chicago and the near suburbs  in partnership with and driven by the goals of residents and other community stakeholders.

Working with stakeholders, CNI creates plans that are transformed into the housing, stores, services, and community facilities that neighborhoods need.  Understanding the interplay between amenties, employment opportunities and good housing that transform overlooked communities into destinations for long-time residents and new.

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Opportunities for Entrepreneurs

While local entrepreneurs are critical to growing community wealth, access to capital has long been a challenge in under-resourced communities, with traditional lenders too often unwilling to invest or lend. For more than a decade, CNI through its subsidiary CNIMFG has filled the gap, lending or granting more than $18 million to 1699 small, predominantly Black or Latino owned, businesses at below market rates.

In 2021 the subsidiary took on a new name and product. CNIMFG is now Greenwood Archer Capital, honoring the historic ‘black wall street of tulsa’ and for the first time offering equity investments as well as loans and grants.

Learn how GAC’s loans and technical assistance can start or grow your business >

Long Term Community Partnerships

CNI partners with community residents and stakeholders to create a vision for the future and how to achieve it. No where is this more visible than in Pullman where a plan created early in the century has resulted in nearly $1 billion of investment capital which, in turn, has returned restaurants, green-industries, new housing, nearly 2,000 jobs and Chicago’s only National Monument.

Building on that experience CNI has extended its work to other neighborhoods on the city’s south and west sides. From Bronzeville to Englewood, North Austin to Lawndale and the south suburbs, CNI is partnering with nonprofits, faith-based organizations to analyze their assets and build on them to  secure needed housing, stores, institutions and well-paying jobs.

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Awards and Honors

2015 Chicago Community Trust Outstanding Community Strategy of the Year Award
Chicago Commission on Landmarks
NHS Community Impact Award
Illinois Real Estate Journal 2020 Developer of the Year
Illinois Real Estate Journal 2021 Affordable Housing Development
Illinois Real Estate Journal 2021 Multifamily Development   
Richard H. Driehaus Foundation 2021 Preservation Award from Landmarks Illinois for Rehabilitation

The Pullman Impact Study

A new case study published by the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business examines the impact of investments and redevelopment in the Pullman community on Chicago’s South Side. The study documents the journey and lessons from place-based investments and explores how it can be replicated in other cities and communities.

Full Report

Executive Summary

The Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives Team

CNI is proud of the individuals who work every day to ensure our vision’s success!