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South East Chicago Commission and Bank of America Renew Business Development Partnership

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

South East Chicago Commission and Bank of America Renew Business Development Partnership

CHICAGO (August 16, 2016) - The South East Chicago Commission (SECC) is delighted to announce a renewed grant partnership with Bank of America for SECC’s Business District Program for the second consecutive year. This funding will help SECC, a City of Chicago Neighborhood Business Development Center (NBDC), provide technical assistance and build capacity of businesses within its five-community footprint on the mid-South Side: Hyde Park, Kenwood, Oakland, Washington Park and Woodlawn.

“Bank of America’s investment will allow us to reach more individuals and families, helping them regain and maintain financial stability through access to strong and vibrant business corridors, which ultimately makes financial lives better in the Chicago area,” said SECC Executive Director Wendy Walker Williams.

SECC’s Business District Program activities include:
• Conducting business consultations with small businesses looking to start up or grow, help refer businesses to financial counseling, business planning, access to training and resources, and applying for City licenses and permits.
• Facilitating skills development for small businesses such as marketing City programs, arranging for local experts to speak at workshops, and hosting networking events.
• Providing economic development support in business corridors (e.g., helping to fill storefront vacancies and marketing TIF programs and projects).
• Playing an active role in driving neighborhood safety efforts by convening small businesses and Chicago Police Department (CPD)/Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) representatives.
• Organizing Small Business Saturday events and activities.

“We’re honored to partner with SECC for a second year and continue to support residents of South Side communities by helping to provide access to the resources they need to lay a foundation for a stable financial life, and in turn, drive economic growth,” said Paul Lambert, Chicago market president, Bank of America. “Our philanthropic investments, in organizations such as SECC are key demonstrations of our efforts to build thriving communities in support of our purpose to make people’s financial lives better.”

The funding provided last year from Bank of America enabled the SECC to host four kick-off events and offer a free passport-style coupon book, with more than $200 in savings from local businesses, for Small Business Saturday in November. The events helped shine a spotlight on Woodlawn and Hyde Park small businesses and attracted local media attention, including a live interview with SECC Executive Director Wendy Walker Williams and Jake Sapstein, owner of Robust Coffee in Woodlawn, on ABC 7 Chicago.

About the South East Chicago Commission
The South East Chicago Commission is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that works in collaboration with the University of Chicago and other institutions, businesses, and organizations to foster a spirit of community and to enhance the ongoing quality of life across the neighborhoods within its five-community footprint on the mid-South Side: Hyde Park, Kenwood, Oakland, Washington Park and Woodlawn.

About Bank of America Environmental, Social and Governance
At Bank of America, our focus on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors is critical to fulfilling our purpose of helping make people’s financial lives better. Our commitment to growing our business responsibly is embedded in every aspect of our company. It is demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our customers, and the impact we help create around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships across sectors - including community and environmental advocate groups, as well as non-profits – in order to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at and connect with us on Twitter at @BofA_News.