PNC Financial Services: Foundation Pledges $ 1.5 Million to Accelerate Access to Capital for Black and Miscellaneous Businesses in South and West Chicago



CHICAGO, September 15, 2021 – The PNC Foundation awards a $ 1.5 million grant to support the launch of the Community Micro Equity Fund, a new program to provide black people and other business owners and diverse entrepreneurs and underserved neighborhoods south and west of Chicago access to capital.

This PNC fund, administered by community lender Greenwood Archer Capital (GAC), formerly Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives Micro Finance Group, and Chicago-based small business development organization Sunshine Enterprises (SE), is the first of its kind to provide a direct capital investment in microenterprises which traditionally may not have benefited from the availability of this type of financial resources. The initiative aligns with PNC’s broader commitment announced in June 2020 to commit $ 1 billion to help end systemic racism and support the economic empowerment of African Americans and low-income communities. and moderate.

“One of the biggest obstacles for our neighbors on the south and west sides is equitable access to economic opportunities. By providing diverse and start-up business owners with a support system to build on, we believe this unique ‘concept to launch’ hub will support the development and sustainability of businesses in historically underfunded populations ”, said Scott Swanson, PNC Illinois regional president.

Designed to help connect over 200 skilled business owners and entrepreneurs in Chicago’s South and West neighborhoods with up to $ 25,000 in friend and family-type capital each year, the fund is poised to become the approach Chicago’s most innovative microinvestment for start-up entrepreneurs. in communities that are very divested. The program will create a supportive ecosystem, which will include: business training; working capital; credit repair coaching; incubation and access to a co-working space; patient mezzanine equity; and strategic and ongoing mentorship.

“Entrepreneurship is a path to creating generational wealth, however, without access to all forms of capital, and especially micro-investments, this path may not be achieved for people of color and income earners. low and moderate, ”said Erica L. King, Greenwood Archer Capital, chairman. “We are grateful for PNC’s unique vision and commitment to racial and economic equity and look forward to joining our efforts with Sunshine Enterprises to spur innovation and sustainable growth for our owners. small enterprises.”

Qualified participants will either go through a formal verification process through GAC or an intensive 12-week basic business planning and management training program through Sunshine Enterprises’ Community Business Academy (CBA) with a focus on credit, marketing , accounting, cash flow, legal and more. business-related topics.

“PNC’s support for this program offers an unprecedented continuum of basic business and management training to a minority population that many may find too risky to support. The obligation of the education component in the program requirement is essential to the long-term viability of our entrepreneurs and traders as they seek to grow and transform, and with this, empower the creation of wealth, jobs and increased spending in divested neighborhoods, ”said Joel Hamernick, Sunshine Enterprises, executive director.

This initiative also provides an opportunity to initiate PNC’s Expanded Small Business Financial Education Series with the collaboration of the City of Chicago, SBA, USDA, other CDFIs and educational institutions. higher premises. Additionally, Sunshine Enterprise will provide one-on-one business coaching and mentoring to develop and implement a strategic action plan through its Business Accelerator Services (BAS), complemented by workshops, pitch competitions, access to capital, procurement and office opportunities.

“When you teach a person how to fish, they retain a skill throughout their life. But if you help them buy a boat and hire a crew, then they can build a sustainable business and create a legacy of wealth for their families, ”Tony Smith, PNC Community Development Banking Territory Manager. “Today we need to be bold about initiatives that can change the narrative of black and brown neighborhoods and businesses. We believe that this alignment between the public and private sectors helps demonstrate our commitment as an active participant in the journey towards economic vitality for all neighborhoods in Chicagoland. ‘

Patient and flexible repayment terms are available to give an entrepreneur time to develop, grow and scale their business. No payment will be required for the first two years, followed by an additional year of principal repayment only. After the third year of investment, the business will have the option of repaying the debt or converting it to a traditional amortizing loan. This structure lightens the financial burden during the most critical years and allows the business owner to focus their attention where it matters most to ensure a viable and sustainable business.

GAC and SE will work closely as partners of clients during the investment period. The PNC grant will be distributed in the fund over a period of three years. Profits from the investment will be reinvested in subsequent cohorts of programs and other philanthropic and institutional supports to exponentially expand the reach of the program. Interested entrepreneurs can register at:

The Community Micro Equity Fund is part of a larger commitment by PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. to provide support in the Chicagoland region with over $ 45 million already invested this year for financial empowerment, community development and education, including over $ 185,000 in support of other GAC and Sunshine community development initiatives to help expand opportunities for financial education and workforce development.

Greenwood Archer Capital (, formerly Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives Micro Finance Group, is a 501c (3) nonprofit, Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) certified and intermediary lender to the US Small Business Administration ( SBA). Founded in 2012, the organization provides access to all forms of capital to business owners in underserved and economically struggling communities of metropolitan Chicago and adjacent suburbs of Cook County. The organization contributes to the revitalization and stability of local black communities and strives to reduce racial wealth gaps and build generational wealth through the deployment of innovative financial products and business development services.

Sunshine Enterprises ( is a small business development organization committed to identifying and empowering local entrepreneurs in underfunded communities to grow their businesses and transform communities. Over 1,000 entrepreneurs have graduated from SE’s CBA training program and over 1,800 entrepreneurs have benefited from SE’s business acceleration services. Created in 2021, the company is an extension of the community work initiated by Sunshine Gospel Ministries.

The PNC Foundation, which receives its main funding from the PNC Financial Services Group (, actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of the communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through Growing Up Well, its flagship cause that began in 2004, PNC created a multi-year, bilingual, $ 500 million initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 to succeed in school and in the world. life.

Maria pasic
(312) 384-4640
[email protected]


The PNC Financial Services Group Inc. published this content on September 15, 2021 and is solely responsible for the information it contains. Distributed by Public, unedited and unmodified, on September 15, 2021 03:41:04 PM UTC.


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