Our Impact

Community Wealth Building (CWB) can have transformative effects on residents and neighborhoods. CWB creates community-owned enterprises, living wage jobs and permanently affordable property. CWB projects improve community participation, democratic decision-making, and collective problem solving. Chicago’s CWB Initiative will increase awareness of CWB models, deepen organizational capacity, strengthen Chicago’s ecosystem, and create a more equitable and sustainable city.

Technical Assistance Providers
Emerging CWB Projects
Non-Housing Cooperative Enterprises
Working Group Meetings Held Since May 2023
Total Member Partners in CWB Initiative Projects (CCWBE grantees)
Hours of technical assistance provided (by CCWBE grantees)
Workshops, 1:1 sessions, trainings, and meetings held (by CCWBE grantees)
Referrals provided through Technical Assistance Finder
Participants in CWB Working Groups

In Our Own Words

The CWB grant is a really incredible a because there's not a lot of pre-development funds out there. This is an important moment for us as we're hiring an architect to support us around design for the building, and the grant also covers some of the expenses associated with getting the necessary land surveys and environmental reports. So in terms of having a physical building, the pre-development part of this grant is really game-changing.

Andrea Yarbrough, Co-Founder and Worker Owner at Cooperation Racine

Every dollar that is invested in a cooperative goes to numerous worker owners, right? It doesn't go to one majority owner at the top of a corporate ladder sort of thing. All of these businesses in the community wealth building initiative are focused on dispersing money throughout their community, and throughout their group of worker owners. So it's a dollar that goes a lot farther invested than in the traditional business where you're trying to help a business startup, but then most of that business kind of ends up funneled up on top.

Andrew Tschiltsch, Co-Founder and Worker Owner at HAZ Cooperative Studios

So after years of fighting against exploiter workers that were stealing the wages, that had people working under really dire conditions, we decided that we needed to create good jobs in the community. And that's how we realized after doing research, well there's an alternative. We can create our own alternative communities. We want to change the way that things are done on the Southeast Side. We want to create an alternative economy where people can have a say so, and have a vote, and they can decide their own economic future.

Maricela Estrada, Senior Economic Justice Organizer at CTU

I like the cooperative because it is about supporting each other as women; working in the hours we have available because we are mothers, there is time to go to the hospitals, take our children to the doctor, take turns, and establish a place where we can help each other to get ahead.

Esmeralda Gutierrez, Maden Cleaning Cooperative

I think it's important for funders, for leaders, as we bring other partners in, for people to really be grounded in that value. That this is not parachute philanthropy. This is not sort of band aid, election year politics. This is actually relationships, and it's not like we are here to save anybody. Because that is a way that traditionally a lot of people have engaged in certain neighborhoods, North Lawndale and Englewood being two of those.

Saleem Hue Penny, Co-Founder and Worker Owner at Cooperation Racine

From the Field

Learn about the vision, spirit, and impact of this work directly from CWB projects and TA providers

Cooperation Racine

Anchored in West Englewood, the Co-op is a cooperatively-owned retail, gallery, and studio space for artists of all levels. They offer art-centered events and retreats, membership-based creative facility use, and studio/event space rentals for artists on the south and west sides of Chicago.

Centro de Trabajadores Unidos/United Workers Center

Centro de Trabajadores Unidos’ Southeast Cooperative Business Incubator (SCBI) provides training to develop successful worker cooperative businesses in Chicago's southeast side and surrounding suburban neighborhoods.

HAZ Cooperative Studios

HAZ Cooperative Studios is an artist-owned, cooperatively-run organization designed to remove paywalls and provide accessibility, resources, and opportunities to artists, specifically artists in disenfranchised communities, so they may pursue a career from their art.