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Resources for economic assistance


Posted  2 months ago  in  Trending

3 MIN READ – Amid the coronavirus pandemic and other hardships, businesses are seeking support and financial relief. Check out the following list of resources and opportunities.

Local Resources

Performing Arts Venue Relief Program

To address the unique circumstances faced by performing arts venues, the City of Chicago, with support from the Walder Foundation and the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund and in partnership with Accion, has established the Performing Arts Venue Relief Program to provide support to this critical part of the arts and culture sector. The Performing Arts Venue Relief Program will distribute $10,000 grants to up to 120 for-profit and nonprofit performing arts venues to cover lost revenue due to COVID-19. Grants will be distributed via a lottery system. The application deadline is December 3 at 5 p.m. Apply here.

Mayor Lightfoot Announces $10 Million Chicago Hospitality Grant

On November 5, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot joined City and business leaders to announce an emergency COVID-19 relief package for the hospitality industry, including a $10 million grant program for Chicago’s restaurants and bars. Opening for applications the week of November 16, the Chicago Hospitality Grant Program will reallocate CARES Act funding to supplement state and federal relief programs with grants of $10,000 to independent bars and restaurants throughout Chicago that have been affected by the state’s recent closure of indoor service. Mayor Lightfoot also announced that she will introduce legislation to City Council to temporarily cap the fees that third-party companies can charge restaurants for their delivery services, while calling on Chicagoans to support their local establishments through the new Take Out Chicago contest. The City is also announcing the creation of a new ChiServes.com portal for hospitality workers impacted by COVID-19 to access workforce development support resources. 

To help bars and restaurants apply for the new Chicago Hospitality Grant Program, the City will be hosting a series of webinars over the next few weeks. To register and learn more, visit chicago.gov/businesseducation. Additionally, the City is directing businesses to apply for grants through the State of Illinois Business Interruption Grant Program (BIG). Applications are available today at illinois.gov/dceo.


On September 18, the City of Chicago released this document providing guidance for restaurants and bars to continue operating outdoors safely and responsibly through fall and winter.

On October 8, the City of Chicago announced two wins for the restaurant industry: DoorDash’s $500,000 support for winterization, and the winners of the Winter Dining Challenge with BMO Harris Bank and Illinois Restaurant Association.

Chicago area restaurants will be able to apply to receive $5,000 grants to defray winterization expenses. Applications open on October 16, and recipients will be notified by the end of December. Full details will be available October 16 here.

The Winter Design Challenge is a competition for community members to reimagine the winter outdoor dining experience in Chicago. The winners are Amy Young, ASD (SKY, Cozy Cabins), Neil Reindel (Block Party), and Ellie Henderson (Heated Tables). The Illinois Restaurant Association will select pilot restaurants for testing prototypes in the coming weeks.

Performing Arts Venue Relief Grants Program

To help performing arts venues which have lost significant revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Chicago has created the program, which will provide $10,000 grants to up to 120 for-profit and nonprofit Chicago-based performing arts venues who have been closed to performances. The 2020 City of Chicago Performing Arts Venue Relief Grants Program was created, with support from the Walder Foundation and the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund and in partnership with Accion, to support this critical arts and culture sector with the challenges they face from the pandemic. Applications open Monday, October 5, check the website for full details and to apply.

DCASE Individual Artists Program (IAP)

DCASE’s 2021 Individual Artists Program (IAP) grant application is now open. The deadline to apply is December 1, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. IAP grants support artists across all artistic disciplines including Film, Media Arts, Literary Arts, Theatre, Dance, Visual Arts and Design, with special opportunities for Musicians as part of the Year of Chicago Music. View full details and apply here.

Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund

The fund is a collective effort between Chicago Community Trust and United Way of Metropolitan Chicago and the City of Chicago to provide rapid assistance to those within the community who are most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund provides essential human services like emergency food, health care, interim housing, rental/mortgage assistance, and childcare, as well as operation support, like cleaning services and supplies. Funds have already been allocated to local nonprofit organizations who will disperse services and supplies. Individuals and families in need of support should check back for updates here

Chicago Housing Solidarity Pledge

The Department of Housing and City of Chicago pledge affirms lenders and landlords may offer eligible renters and mortgage holders deferred payment agreements and other financial relief in response to the economic fallout of COVID-19 and continuing after the pandemic. Find more information on the pledge, including the complete list of participating lenders here.

Arts Community Resources - Local, State and National

Find a list of resources compiled by the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, including grant and loan programs as well as resources for virtual arts programming.

Dining at a Distance

If you’re a restaurant open for business, submit your delivery information, menus, neighborhood, and more to be included on this list. Diners can use this aggregator to find what restaurants in the Chicago area are open for take-out, curbside pick-up, or delivery during the lockdown of Chicago’s restaurants and bars during COVID-19. 

Takeout COVID

Takeout COVID lists open restaurants that are selling wine, beer, and food. Restaurants can add themselves for free.

Millennium Garages Relief Rates

Millennium Garages is now offering free parking on Mondays at some of their Loop garages. Enroll here for a coupon to use every Monday. View discounted rates for other days of the week here.

State Resources

ComEd's Small Business Assistance Program

ComEd’s Small Business Assistance Program provides eligible small-business customers that are past due on their energy bills with a one-time grant equal to 30 percent of their total ComEd balance (up to $1,000) for a limited time. Customers whose electric service has not been disconnected can then set up their remaining balance due on a payment plan of up to six months.

Small-business customers can apply online or call 1-877-4-COMED-1 (1-877-426-6331) to learn more and apply.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)

Working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the civil unrest. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period. Apply online.

Illinois Department of Employment Security

Learn more about unemployment benefits related to COVID-19 in the State of Illinois. Find answers to questions like: What if I’m temporarily laid off due to COVID-19? 

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans for Illinois Small Businesses

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DECO) is working diligently to secure access to helpful resources for small businesses throughout the State of Illinois and has compiled these helpful links regarding COVID 19 resources for small businesses.

Illinois Events Coalition

Created by event professionals throughout the state, the Illinois Events Coalition is aiming to raise awareness for how the vendors, consultants, contractors, gig workers, and small businesses that comprise the events industry are and will be affected by COVID-19. Learn more about the coalition here

Employment Opportunities

Chicago Loop Alliance is compiling a list of organizations with job opportunities during COVID-19. Please note this is not a comprehensive list and opportunities are evolving. The employment opportunities can be found here

National Resources

U.S. Travel Association

In times like these, it is important for Congress to hear from their constituents about the impact a decline in travel is having on local workers and businesses. Your outreach is critical to U.S. Travel's advocacy efforts that will inform policymaking and inspire congressional action. Chicago Loop Alliance submitted a signed letter of support on March 20, 2020, requesting miscellaneous support (workforce stabilization fund, employment grants, business stabilizations, SBA loan optimization, and tax relief). Voice your support here.

U.S. Small Business Administration

Health and government officials are working together to maintain the safety, security, and health of the American people. Small businesses are encouraged to do their part to keep their employees, customers, and themselves healthy. Find business guidance and loan resources here.

USBG National Charity Foundation: Bartender Emergency Assistance Program

This program offers financial assistance for bartenders and spouses or children of bartenders who experience a catastrophic event or emergency. Please read through the Selection Criteria and Eligibility Requirements for the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program, and if you believe that you are eligible, please fill out the application, making sure to include the required supporting documents. You do not need to be a USBG member to apply for a philanthropic grant.

Rehab Spot Addiction Recovery Centers

If you or a loved one is in the battle against addiction, treatment centers are still open during the spread of COVID-19. Many people are finding themselves turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms of drugs and alcohol to deal with stress, anxiety and uncertainty. You don’t have to go through this time by yourself. Rehabilitation centers are still open, providing essential treatment for people in need. Learn about treatment, rehab centers and more. 

Keeping Workers Paid and Employed Act

The Keeping Workers Paid and Employed Act, legislation introduced by Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Chairman Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, would prevent workers from losing their jobs and small businesses from going under due to economic losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The plan would provide cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans would be forgiven, which would help workers to remain employed and affected small businesses and the economy to quickly snap-back after the crisis. This proposal would be retroactive to March 1, 2020, to help bring workers who may have already been laid off back onto payrolls.

One Fair Wage

If you're a tipped worker (restaurant workers, delivery drivers, etc), you may sign up and receive $213 cash from the One Fair Wage. One Fair Wage has been working to support our service industry worker to the best of their ability. Learn more here.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020.

Other Federal Assistance Programs

The federal government approved funding for a variety of COVID-19 relief efforts including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (C.A.R.E.S), Paycheck Protection Program (P.P.P.), and the Healthcare Enhancement Act. Those resources and deadlines have expired, but government officials are working for future legislation regarding this issue. We will update those efforts here if/when anything is finalized.