RELEASE: City Treasurer Kurt Summers Outlines Support for Mayor Emanuel’s Right-to-Thrive Zone Proposal

90 Day Plan and 77 Community Visits Lay Foundation for Support


Chicago City Treasurer Kurt Summers today announced his support for Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “Right-to-Thrive Zone” proposal as a way to catalyze investment in Chicago’s neighborhoods. The Treasurer recently hosted community meetings with residents and small businesses in each of the city’s 77 neighborhoods and released an Impact Report of his first 90 days in office that will assist the Mayor in his efforts to boost job creation by increasing local investment.

“Mayor Emanuel’s proposal for Right-to-Thrive Zones is exactly the kind of investment and support many of Chicago’s neighborhoods need,” Treasurer Summers said. “I’ve heard it firsthand – within each of our communities, the foundation and the motivation for local economic growth is there. By working with the neighborhoods and creating incentives for direct investment, local development and small business growth, we will empower residents with the resources they need to help foster job creation and community development.”

To this end, Treasurer Summers has laid out several initiatives in his 90 day Impact Report, which outline targeted and tangible programs that support the Mayor’s Right-to-Thrive Zone proposals. These include:

  • ​Community Planning Grants (#16): Many of Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods have undergone community-planning exercises that seek to strengthen the communities and develop a plan for growth. The disconnect between community needs and the coordination of capital investment has limited the level of success for a number of planning exercises.Working with the Mayor’s Office, the Treasurer is launching a $50,000 planning seed grant fund with the Chicago Community Trust. This means that local chambers, community think tanks, and delegate agencies will have the opportunity to work with the Treasurer’s office to organize a comprehensive economic plan for their neighborhood (or groups of neighborhoods) to receive a minimum $10,000 seed grant that will be matched and/or exceeded by foundations such as The Chicago Community Trust.
  • ​Increase access to capital in our communities (#3): Access to capital remains one of the biggest concerns for entrepreneurs and small businesses all over Chicago. The City of Chicago has an opportunity to leverage its relationships with financial institutions and municipal depository banks to provide more access to capital. Treasurer Summers will work with the Mayor’s office, Chief Financial Officer, Comptroller and City Council to develop community investment criteria for financial institutions that work with the City of Chicago.  In addition, there will be a committee of community lenders, banks, investors and small businesses that review opportunities for capital expansion and more resources for neighborhoods.
  • ​Enhancing attractiveness for small business (#11): Treasurer Summers has created an inventory of all existing support services to help small businesses in Chicago indicated that there are significant gaps at the neighborhood-level for capacity building such as tax planning, marketing, financial management, legal, technological development and second-stage funding to stimulate business growth. Based on the current landscape of small business resources, Treasurer Summers developed the “4 C’s for Small Business,” – capital, capacity, cost and clients – where, with the Mayor’s leadership and that of several delegate agencies and non-profits, we can assist in with establishing a concierge service to streamline support services to small businesses in neighborhoods throughout Chicago.
  • ​Invest in Our Chicago (#1): Treasurer Summers launched the Chicago Targeted Investment Program to highlight local entrepreneurs and projects by leveraging our collective investment scale. Today, our 11 local public employee pension funds, who together with other local pools of capital manage more than $50 billion in assets, do not have an explicit mandate to invest capital in Chicago-based entrepreneurs or businesses.  In Mayor Emanuel’s Right-to-Thrive Zone Program, a local investment fund will be created, which provides a platform for investment where sound local opportunities exist.  Treasurer’s Office will aid in facilitating by making a case to local pension funds and private investors to invest in this fund, following several national models that serve a similar purpose. Those examples include CalPERS for California Initiative, New York State Common Retirement Fund, New York City Economically Targeted Investment Program and Michigan 21st Century Investment Fund.

The Treasurer’s new Impact Report can be found online at chicagocitytreasurer.com/impact.

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