Benefit Chicago

Benefit Chicago is a new collaboration that aims to mobilize $100 million for impact investments for nonprofits and social enterprises working throughout the Chicago region.

To learn more:
Listen to a webinar on how you can participate in Benefit Chicago.

Check our recent webinar on investing and hear more about how you can participate, whether you have $20 to invest or $2 million. Download Investing for Impact for a quick look at how you can invest.

Download the Benefit Chicago Frequently Asked Questions.

How You Can Apply

Benefit Chicago is a long-term initiative with a rolling application process. There is no deadline for submissions. Applications will be evaluated based on eligibility, creditworthiness and the potential for the capital to contribute toward a positive impact that would not otherwise be possible.

You can begin the process by answering a few simple eligibility questions at our application portal.

Check Eligibility

A Benefit Chicago “navigator” will follow up with you on next steps to apply for financing through the fund established by Benefit Chicago, if you are eligible. If you are not eligible, the navigator will offer suggestions regarding other providers (e.g. CDFIs) where you may be eligible to apply.

Are you eligible to apply?*

Benefit Chicago is designed to provide financing to:

  • Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and other nonprofit financial intermediaries that lend and invest in low-income areas,
  • Nonprofit organizations looking to expand their reach, and
  • Businesses that have a clear social purpose based on their mission and operations (i.e., social enterprises).

For More Information

Capital for Communities

FAQs on Eligibility

Growing Need. New Opportunity.

Bridging the Gap

Research commissioned by MacArthur and The Chicago Community Trust and summarized in a new report found a significant unmet need for financial capital throughout Chicago’s social sector. The scale of need totals more than $100 million and could rise to as much as $400 million over the next five years, although not all organizations that need capital will be immediately investment-ready.

At the same time, this research reveals a rising number of individuals and institutions looking for more efficient ways to make local investments that have potential to deliver meaningful social, economic and environmental impact.

Benefit Chicago is designed to bridge the gap between these two sides of the region’s nascent impact investment marketplace, unlocking new financial resources for organizations whose work benefits the communities and people that need them most.

Download the Report “Bridging the Gap”

Stories of Impact

Built in Chicago’s proud tradition of innovation, commitment to community and high ideals, Benefit Chicago’s purpose is to strengthen social sector organizations working hard every day to bolster families and communities and pave the way to a more sustainable future for our entire region.

We invite you to read these stories of impact. These stories illustrate the ways that impact investments are helping our region’s social sector organizations benefit the people and communities they serve.

Download “Stories of Impact”

Castillo Family

Saving Homes

“We were afraid of losing the house to foreclosure. We looked for help.”

The Castillo family
Archer Heights
Arnold Smith

Changing Lives

“If somebody would give me an ounce of a chance, I would take it and run with it.”

Arnold Smith
cook at Green Tomato Café
Eating Well

Eating Well

“Yes, I’m a farmer. In West Englewood.”

How You Can Invest

Benefit Chicago is designed to allow everyone to participate – individuals, businesses and institutions.

Here’s how: Investors purchase Chicago-targeted Community Investment Notes issued by Calvert Foundation. These are fixed-income securities with principal maturities ranging from one to 15 years and interest payable annually. They are available through a brokerage account with a minimum investment of $1,000 or online starting at $20.

Investors wishing to purchase Calvert Foundation’s Chicago-targeted Notes have two basic options:

  1. Start a donor-advised fund at The Chicago Community Trust and designate some or all fund assets for investment in a Chicago-targeted Note. Current fund holders at The Trust also may allocate existing or additional funds to these Chicago-targeted Notes. Visit
  2. Invest through your own financial advisor, through your brokerage account, through your donor-advised fund at any institution, or online. Visit

Individuals or institutions interested in purchasing a Chicago-targeted Note can review Benefit Chicago’s Frequently Asked Questions and should read the Calvert Foundation Community Investment Note prospectus.

Supporting Our Hometown

Calvert Foundation is issuing up to $50 million of its new Chicago-targeted Community Investment Notes® to further the mission of Benefit Chicago.

The Chicago Community Trust is making an inaugural $15 million, 15-year investment, which, along with all other investments in Chicago-targeted Notes, will flow to our region’s social sector as follows:

  1. Calvert Foundation will loan the proceeds of all investors’ Chicago-targeted Notes to a new charitable fund that the MacArthur Foundation has established solely to advance the mission of Benefit Chicago.
  2. The MacArthur Foundation is transferring $50 million of its own assets to this new special-purpose fund, creating a combined pool of capital – with a total goal of $100 million.
  3. The fund will use this pool of capital for loans and other investments to eligible nonprofits and social enterprises that help meet significant community needs in the Chicago region, such as education and child care, access to healthy food, quality affordable housing, energy conservation, job training and more.

A Advisory Council, chaired and convened by The Trust, will help inform the fund’s priorities and work on an ongoing basis.

Download the Benefit Chicago Frequently Asked Questions

About the Collaborators

The Chicago Community Trust, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and Calvert Foundation joined forces to create Benefit Chicago.

Powered by their deep philanthropic commitment, knowledge of the social sector in Chicago, and longstanding impact investing experience, Benefit Chicago provides a new way for everyone who cares about Chicago to invest for impact and make our home a better place for all.

The Chicago Community Trust and Affiliates

The Chicago Community Trust has been serving the people of metropolitan Chicago together for more than 100 years to bring about conditions for a thriving region where all residents enjoy a high quality of life and opportunities for a better future in a prosperous and inclusive community. Visit

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. The Foundation has a 30-year track record in impact investing and has dedicated $500 million of its investment assets solely to this purpose. The Foundation also is deeply committed to its hometown community, Chicago, where it has provided nearly $1.1 billion in grants and impact investments since 1978. Visit

Calvert Foundation

Calvert Foundation is a global impact investing intermediary that connects investors with the causes and places they care about through its Community Investment Note. Since 1995, Calvert Foundation has helped investors create measurable social impact in communities, with a 100 percent repayment rate of principal and interest to its investors.* Visit

For More Information

Sign up for updates on Benefit Chicago.

For more information about the Chicago targeted investment note, please contact

For more information about opening a Donor Advised Fund, please contact

For more information about financing from the fund established by MacArthur, please contact us at

For general questions about Benefit Chicago not addressed in the Frequently Asked Questions, to request a speaking engagement, or to begin a discussion about the applicability of a similar collaborative for your region, please contact