For the past 93 years, the Trust has assisted non-profit organizations such as SCORE to provide a range of important services to the underserved Chicago community. The Trust, together with its donors, distributed more than $114 million in grants to over 1200 organizations in the past year. SCORE Chicago received an earlier grant from them to develop a long range plan.
The current grant provides funding to further all-appointment counseling with partial staff support; fundraising efforts through partial support of a fundraising professional; and recruiting of minority counselors.
“The Chicago Community Trust’s support of our Chapter is deeply appreciated”, Lakin said. “Our Chapter counseling activity is up 40% over last year. The Trust’s important support allows us to implement the ‘next steps’ necessary to support this growth.”
SCORE Chicago’s purpose is to strengthen existing small businesses and improve the success prospects for start-ups. Many of these small businesses and potential start-ups are located in low-income and minority communities in the Chicago area.
Small businesses account for 99% of all employers in the U.S. and annually generate 60% to 80% of new jobs. Yet a third of new businesses do not survive even two years (SBA Fact Sheet). Mentoring from seasoned professionals can help an entrepreneur make crucial decisions affecting the viability of her or his business, and, in turn, the local economy.
SCORE Chicago provides free business counseling at 15 locations throughout the Chicago area. With nearly 7,000 client contacts per year, SCORE Chicago counselors reach a large number of small business people. These clients are 52% minority and 46% female.
SCORE Chicago is one of the largest of the 384 national SCORE Chapters, with 100 active volunteers. These experienced business professionals provide free counseling and mentoring to small businesses and individuals wishing to start a business. SCORE Chicago also conducts over 85 free or low-cost workshops on how to start and grow a business.