Emergency Capital for Small Businesses in Illinois and Indiana

Now more than ever, Accion Serving Illinois & Indiana is working hard to creatively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic that threatens the health of small business owners, employees, customers, families, and communities. Follow us on Facebook for the latest updates.

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Emergency Capital Available Now


SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans

The US Small Business Administration offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans through an existing program to support small businesses affected by the COVID crisis. An advance of up to $10,000 on the loan is available immediately upon completion of the application. This advance does not have to be repaid. Businesses with up to 500 workers can borrow as much as $2 million at a 3.75% interest, and nonprofits can borrow at 2.75%. Learn more.

State of Illinois

Business Interruption Grants Program

The application for the second round of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Business Interruption Grants (BIG) Program is open. A total of $220 million is available to businesses across Illinois experiencing losses or business interruption as a result of COVID-19 related closures. Illinois businesses with less than $20 million in revenue are eligible for grants between $5,000 and $150,000. Priority will be given to heavily impacted industries, disproportionally impacted areas, and downstate businesses but all businesses in Illinois are encouraged to apply. Accion is proud to serve as the Program Administrator. Apply today.

State of Indiana

Small Business Restart Fund

The $30 million fund provides grants to small businesses, helping accelerate the speed of economic recovery activity by providing working capital to cover certain expenses related to the global pandemic. Eligible Indiana small businesses can seek reimbursement for up to 80% of qualified expenses, such as rent/mortgage payments, utilities, lease payments for real or personal property, safety investments, and infrastructure improvements. Apply today.

Cook County

Cook County COVID-19 Recovery Small Business Assistance Program

The Cook County COVID-19 Recovery Small Business Assistance Program provides support for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in suburban Cook County. Accion is proud to be part of this program as a grant administrator and business advisor. Grant applications are no longer being accepted but free business advising and webinars are still available. Learn more.

Will County

Will County Small Business Assistance Grant Program

The Will County Small Business Assistance Grant Program has reopened for a second round of applications! Please note that the eligibility criteria has expanded. Small businesses located in Will County with revenues less than $5M and fewer than 50 employees are eligible for a grant of up to $15,000. Accion is proud to serve as the Program Administrator. The application deadline is November 16. Apply today.

City of Chicago

Neighborhood Opportunity Fund

The City of Chicago’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund (NOF) application is again open! Businesses on Chicago’s South and West Sides are eligible for grants of up to $250,000 to support construction, renovations, and more. Accion is an NOF Advisor and available to answer your questions about gap financing, building façade improvements, or completing your application. Contact us at help@accionchicago.org for assistance. The application deadline is November 6. Apply today.


Existing Accion Loans

For all Accion Serving Illinois & Indiana clients who closed a loan before the pandemic, we are available to discuss options for the management of your existing business debt, including your Accion loan. Schedule a meeting with an Accion Business Coach. In addition, if you have any questions or concerns about the servicing of your loan, please contact an Accion Portfolio Lead.

Grant Opportunities

DoorDash Local Restaurant Grants

Chicago restaurants with less than $3M in revenue and fewer than 50 employees are eligible to apply for a $5,000 grant to defray winterization expenses such as the cost of heating equipment, safety materials to improve indoor dining, upgrades for air filtration systems, bulk orders of blankets for patrons, and more through DoorDash’s Main Street Strong initiative. The application deadline is November 6. Apply today.


GoFundMe Small Business Relief Initiative

The Small Business Relief Initiative was started by GoFundMe to help small businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and empower their communities to rally behind them. Supporters can donate to the Small Business Relief Fund, which will issue $500 matching grants to qualifying businesses that raise at least $500 on GoFundMe. Learn more.

Other Emergency Capital Offerings


Paycheck Protection Program

The SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) offeres low cost capital to small businesses seeking emergency funds. Accion served as a community referral partner to Community Reinvestment Fund, who processed and funded PPP loans of up to $100,000 for small businesses in Illinois or Indiana. Applications are no longer being accepted at this time. Learn more.

State of Illinois

Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund

The State of Illinois established the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund to offer small businesses low interest loans of up to $50,000. Businesses with fewer than 50 workers and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 are eligible to apply, and businesses outside of the City of Chicago receive priority. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is partnering with Accion Serving Illinois & Indiana to administer the Small Business Emergency Loan Fund. Applications are no longer being accepted at this time. Learn more.


Illinois Hospitality Emergency Grant Program

Under the leadership of Governor JB Pritzker, DCEO launched the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program to help hospitality businesses make ends meet in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with Accion Serving Illinois and Indiana, the Department is awarding $14 million in small grants to over 700 small bars, restaurants, caterers, and hotels. Applications are no longer being accepted at this time. Click here to view the list of confirmed grant awardees.

Cook County

Cook County Community Recovery Fund

Cook County’s Bureau of Economic Development launched The Community Recovery Fund as part of the Community Recovery Initiative. This loan fund offers one-time, zero-interest loans of up to $20,000 for small businesses and $10,000 for independent contractors in suburban Cook County. Loans will be administered by the Chicago Community Loan Fund and provided by a network of community lenders, including Accion. Applications are no longer being accepted at this time. Learn more.

Lake County

Lake County Small Business Assistance Grant Program

Lake County launched the Lake County Small Business Assistance Grant Program to help businesses in Lake County, Illinois recover from the pandemic. Businesses can apply online for up to $30,000 to cover up to four months of occupancy costs (rent, mortgage, utilities) and other related expenses. Accion is proud to serve as the Program Administrator. Applications are no longer being accepted at this time. Learn more.

City of Chicago

Performing Arts Venue Relief Grants Program

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented strain on the arts and cultural community. The City of Chicago, with support from the Walder Foundation and the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund and in partnership with Accion, has established the Performing Arts Venue Relief Program to provide support to this critical part of the arts and culture sector. The program will distribute $10,000 grants to up to 120 for-profit and nonprofit performing arts venues to cover lost revenue due to COVID-19. Applications are no longer being accepted at this time. Apply today.


Together Now Fund

The City of Chicago, The Chicago Community Trust, and One Chicago Fund launched the Together Now fund to provide grants to Chicago’s small businesses and not-for-profits as they recover. Chicago businesses with property damage are eligible for infrastructure grants up to $10,000 to help with repair costs. Businesses that have at least a 25 percent revenue loss due to COVID-19 are eligible for operational grants up to $4,000 to help cover economic losses. Accion is proud to serve as the Program Administrator. Applications are no longer being accepted at this time. Learn more.


Chicago Microbusiness Recovery Grant Program

The City of Chicago recognizes that COVID-19 has put a difficult burden on the business and non-profit community. To address this, the City of Chicago established the Microbusiness Recovery Grant Program. This program will distribute $5,000 grants to up to 1,000 businesses with four or fewer employees in low and moderate income areas of the city that have been severely impacted by COVID-19 and could most benefit from a grant. Applications are no longer being accepted at this time. Learn more.


Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Chicago established the $100 million Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund, which provides businesses with emergency cash flow during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds are available to eligible businesses as low-interest loans. Loans of up to $50,000 are available for businesses and nonprofits located in Chicago with a gross annual revenue of less than $3 million. Loan applications are administered through lending partners Accion Serving Illinois & Indiana and the Community Reinvestment Fund. Applications are no longer being accepted at this time. Learn more.


City of South Bend

Small Business Resiliency Grant Program

The Small Business Resiliency Grant Program offers $5,000 grants to small businesses that have faced hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible businesses must be located in South Bend, be open for business, and employ 50 employees or less. Accion is proud to serve as the Program Administrator. Learn more.


South Bend Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of South Bend and Accion established a Small Business Resiliency Fund to provide much needed cash flow to businesses in South Bend, Indiana. Accion will lend $260,000 to approximately 10 small businesses. After the loans are repaid, Accion will re-lend the capital to additional South Bend businesses in the future. Applications are no longer being accepted at this time. Learn more.

Small Business Spotlight

Together Now Fund Grantees

Robin Eggleston is the owner and Head Chef of Big Mama’s Kitchen & Catering, a catering company and food truck based out of The Hatchery in Chicago’s East Garfield Park neighborhood. At the beginning of the year, Big Mama’s was thriving, but soon after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, “our kitchen was shut down and we lost all of our clients,” Robin said. But Robin didn’t give up. She applied for and received a Chicago Together Now grant, which will help her pay the invoices that piled up during the business’ closure. In addition, she will use the funds to purchase materials needed to continue operating her business. Support Big Mama’s Kitchen & Catering by ordering food from their “daily menu” or hire them to cater your next socially distanced event. Follow them on Facebook to find out what is available to order. Robin also packages and sells a gourmet jerk sauce that can be found at local Fairplay stores and online.


Gabriela Duran is the owner of Fiesta Party Rental, a small family business located in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood of Chicago. Since 2013, Fiesta Party Rental has steadily grown and fulfilled the Chicagoland area’s party rental needs. Due to the pandemic, their rental sales have taken a dive, as their business is “100% dependent on social gatherings and COVID-19 has restricted our business activities and operations,” Gabriela said. As a recent City of Chicago Together Now Grant awardee, Gabriela has hope, as she will be using the funds to cover business operations, business debt, and staff wages. Additionally, Gabriela is a member of the fifth cohort of Accion’s Neighborhood Entrepreneurship Lab, where she will learn how to operate her business in this new environment. Support Fiesta Party Rental by following them on Facebook or booking them for your next socially distanced event.


Corry Williams is the owner of 345 Art Gallery, located in East Garfield Park. The gallery space showcases works by artists and local students and provides a multi-purpose space for events. “The pandemic made it very difficult to use the gallery as an event space,” Corry said. “We’ve been unable to offer art workshops and classes for students.” Art sales have also been down given the economic effects of the pandemic. 345 Art Gallery recently received a grant through Chicago’s Together Now Fund, and they plan to use the funding to pay business bills and offer free, socially distanced events to the community on their patio. “We know how important it is for folks to get out and enjoy the company of their neighbors,” Corry said. Support 345 Art Gallery by following them on Facebook or emailing 345artgallery@gmail.com to schedule a private viewing of the art for purchase or to book a private, socially distanced event.


Gladys Garcia is the owner of Libreria Giron, a pair of bookstores that have been located in the neighborhoods of Little Village and Pilsen since 1957. Though Gladys mostly sells books in Spanish, her selection also includes some English literatures, religious items, greeting cards, and magazines. Due the COVID-19 pandemic, Gladys had to close her doors from March to June. Many of her regulars were worried that she would have to close forever, but Gladys had faith that her stores could survive. “The sacrifice that my parents made for me gave me the strength to keep going,” she said. Gladys filled out many grant applications and she credits “God, Accion, and the City of Chicago” for providing her with a grant that will help her keep her doors open. With the help of her Chicago Together Now Fund grant, Gladys was able to purchase essential products, like masks and hand sanitizer, to help her customers feel secure in her shop. Gladys also believes in giving back. She recently collaborated with Grace Housing Complex on a Little Village community food drive. She asks that everyone give back, do their part, and shop small. Support Libreria Giron by visiting the shops and following them on Facebook and Instagram.

Chicago Microbusiness Recovery Grant Program Awardees

Trinisa Williams is the Chef and Owner of Trini’s Tasty Pastries, a pastry and catering business operating out of The Hatchery. “I love catering because it affords me the opportunity to learn about my client on a personal level, so that I can tailor menus and services to their needs,” Trinisa said. Trini’s Tasty Pastries ceased all operations on March 13th for the health and safety of herself and her clients. Fortunately, her day job is providing her income during this down period. As a recent recipient of a Chicago Microbusiness Recovery Grant, Trinisa plans to use the funds on supplies, marketing and the creation of a new revenue stream for the business. “Once the pandemic is over, I think a mobile unit will help us grow and allow us to access places and events that we haven’t been able to before,” Trinisa said. In addition, she is working on a new logo and website. Support Trini’s Tasty Pastries by following them on social media or ordering their delicious biscuits or scones for contactless delivery. Email trinistastypastries@outlook.com to place your order.

Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund Borrowers

Michelle Martinez is the owner of Hero Coffee Bar, a social enterprise coffee company with four locations throughout Chicago. Michelle has been working night and day to make sure that the Lakeview shop is operating smoothly and in accordance with CDC guidelines and hopes to reopen the other locations soon. The new normal means Hero Coffee Bar has workers at the door and managing the lines to ensure customer safety. Michelle is ready for what is to come. “It’s important for our team to see that they have a strong leader and that we navigate what we can control,” Michelle said. She is using the funds from her Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan to pay invoices from third party vendors and rehire baristas. As businesses start to reopen, Michelle hopes that her customers will go back to their normal coffee routine. Support Hero Coffee Bar by contributing to their GoFundMe campaign to cover payroll and by ordering coffee beans online through their website.


Michael Broadus, President, and Michael Vasilou, Vice President, are the owners of The Better Benefits Family Group, a financial service and insurance agency located in downtown Chicago. Due to the pandemic, all of their in-person sales presentations were cancelled, limiting their ability to find new clients. However, they have seen a surge in phone calls and more people interested in making appointments to discuss their tax, financial, and estate legacy strategies during the COVID-19 crisis. Right around the start of the pandemic, they were looking for a loan for expansion, but that changed quickly. They are using their Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan to keep their business operating by paying salaries, payroll taxes, and rent while keeping expansion as a goal. Michael Broadus is a proud third generation Chicagoan and both Michaels are proud Loyolans since their undergrad days together in the 1970s. Better Benefits is immensely grateful to Accion for helping small business owners in the city they love.


Daniel Klein is the CEO and founder of Tiesta Tea and recent recipient of an Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan. Daniel plans to use the funding to pay his staff and maintain full benefits. Luckily, the Tiesta Tea distribution site is still operating with new protocols to ensure the safety of his 20 employees. In addition, their online sales have increased, and they’ve hired three additional employees. Daniel is staying positive and spending as much time as he can with his 18-month-old son, Noah. Tiesta Tea received one of their first small business loans from Accion nearly 10 years ago, and Daniel is thankful for all Accion is doing for small businesses during the crisis. Support Tiesta Tea by purchasing products from their website.


Jiji Garrison is the owner of Trendy Nails and Spa in South Elgin. Jiji was entering her second year of business when the pandemic hit during her most profitable month. “In the salon world, the money making months are March to the end of summer,” said Jiji. She is using the funding from her Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan to purchase all new personal protective equipment for her salon. Lately, all of Jij’s time and energy has been spent ensuring the salon is in the utmost sanitary condition for the re-opening. Her top priority is the safety of her employees and clients. Support the salon by donating to their GoFundMe fundraiser.


Tanesha Lambert is the Co-owner/Operator and Center Administrator at MKH Early Education Center, a daycare learning center in Aurora. When the stay-at-home order went into effect, the daycare center had to completely shut down. “We saw this not only have an impact on our business and teaching staff, but also the parents we serve,” Tanesha said. This led MKH to quickly pivot to delivering their services via an eLearning platform. “We are now able to do group circle time, art projects, one on one sessions and even have lunch together using Zoom,” Tanesha said. “The kids and the Teachers look forward to their virtual playdate, and are able to maintain contact and a glimpse of normalcy during this shutdown.” MKH recently received a loan through the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund. Tanesha worked with Accion staff member David Johnson on the loan process. “It was just the relief we needed – David was very helpful with guiding me through the process,” Tanesha said. The funds will be used to pay for Teachers’ wages, the Zoom subscription for eLearning, and other materials and supplies. Support MKH by following them on Facebook. Parents in South Naperville, Aurora or Oswego with childcare needs can learn more by visiting the MKH website. Pictured: MKH Co-owner/Operator, Miss. Kim and Teacher, Miss. Carrie


Dionna Love is the owner of Pooch Parlor, a dog grooming salon located in Homewood. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dionna temporarily closed her business and lost a month and a half of income. “Even though Pooch Parlor will be allowed to resume operations starting May 1st with strict guidelines, I am not able to bring in the income that I was originally brought in,” Dionna said. “The amount of dogs I can groom has been cut in half, because of the new safety precautions I have put in place.” Pooch Parlor recently received a loan through the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund, and Dionna plans to use the funds on payroll, rent, and utilities. Support Pooch Parlor by following them on Facebook and Instagram or contacting Dionna to purchase a gift card or pet product.


Lisa Canning and her husband Charles are the owners of Lisa’s Clarinet Shop, a musical instrument store located in Glen Ellyn. Lisa’s Clarinet Shop had a great start to the year – sales were up, inventory was stocked, and an expansion into New Mexico was underway. However, everything quickly changed. “The pandemic brought about severe, instantaneous and unprecedented disruption,” Charles said. “Business dropped 90%, practically overnight, and cash was depleted within a few weeks.” Lisa’s Clarinet Shop recently received a loan through the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund. “It’s keeping us afloat,” Lisa said. “Without it, we would not have survived after building a successful business that our customers love and rely upon.” Visit Lisa’s Clarinet Shop’s website to browse new and used clarinets.


Melissa Matteson is the owner and founder of Central Park Yoga located in Sterling, Illinois. The studio opened in 2016 and offers yoga classes and Yoga Teacher Training. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Melissa had to cancel all in-person gatherings. “I have been offering donation-based virtual classes via YouTube as I feel that the practice of yoga is something that everyone can use right now. Calming the mind and learning to breathe are so important,” Melissa said. Central Park Yoga recently received a loan through the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund. Melissa plans to use the funds on “rent payments, utilities, materials needed to graduate current Yoga Teacher Trainees, and tools to support the studio’s upcoming training group.” Support Central Park Yoga by subscribing to their YouTube channel, donating via PayPal, or purchasing a gift card.

Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund Borrowers

Kristi Andarcia has owned and operated Kenwood School of Ballet for over seven years. The pandemic forced her to cease all in person operations in mid-March. As a recipient of a Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund loan, Kristi plans to use the funds to cover payroll and rent for her facilities. Since temporarily closing, the ballet school creative team has come together to offer free online classes. However, she notes that the interaction through a screen is much different than in person. “Teaching ballet and dance is such a personal experience, so that aspect has been difficult to overcome,” Kristi said. “However, children are so adaptable, and they have loved having their teachers ‘in their homes.’” Support the Kenwood School of Ballet by contributing to their GoFundMe fundraiser.


Dany Fernandez, owner of Chicago Cuts Barbershop in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood, was hit hard when he had to temporarily close his shop due to the pandemic. As the sole provider for his family, he is grateful that his Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund loan will help cover rent and other business expenses. Pre-shut down, the barbershop served over 200 clients a week. Dany says that his regulars have been calling and texting, begging him for a home visit. Out of abundance of caution, he is not currently offering home visits, but he is working on new protocols for the safety of his employees and clients. In addition, Dany looks forward to utilizing his shop to serve his community and plans to pass out masks when the shop reopens. “It’s not just about business, we want to help,” Dany said. Until that day comes, you can support Chicago Cuts Barbershop by donating to their GoFundMe fundraiser.


Christine Hall is the owner of Studio 8 Pilates, a pilates studio located in North Center. Over a week before the stay-at-home order began, Christine decided that it was in the best interest of her teachers and clients to close the studio. “As pilates is a very personal, hands-on form of exercise, it was the right thing to do to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” Christine said. “Although we are offering virtual classes, the shutdown essentially brought our revenues down 90%.” Studio 8 Pilates is a recent recipient of a small business loan through the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund and plans to use the funds to pay teachers and cover rent and other overhead expenses. Support the local, independent studio by signing up for an online class! For more information, visit their website, search for Studio 8 Pilates on MINDBODY, or email info@studio8chicago.com.


Olympia Lopez is the owner of Daniel’s Body Shop, an auto repair shop in Little Village founded 35 years ago by her father. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a huge hit to the auto shop’s business during their busiest and most profitable season. “Our phone stopped ringing and our walk-ins ceased,” Olympia said. During the time that she was waiting to hear back about funding, Olympia decided to start paying her employees out of pocket. Soon after, she learned that Daniel’s Body Shop would be receiving a loan through the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund. “What a blessing,” Olympia exclaimed. The funds will be used to provide wages to employees and to create a safe environment with additional disinfecting stations, masks and gloves. Follow Daniel’s Body Shop on Facebook for more information about how they are operating at this time. Pictured: Daniel’s Body Shop employee


Nicole Jordan-Reed is the owner of Nicole Jordan Catering, a full service catering company located in McKinley Park. A majority of Nicole’s business comes from catering events for nonprofits, universities, and corporate clients. “Event cancellations began coming in the week of March 9th and by March 13th, pretty much every event on our calendar through June had been cancelled or postponed,” Nicole said. After evaluating a shift to meal service, she decided that it would be best for the health and safety of her employees to temporarily shut down. Since then, Nicole has had some small catering jobs that she has handled on her own, but she is mostly focused on applying to grants and emergency loans. “As a result of receiving the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan, I can now get up to date with current expenses like commercial rent, insurance, and vehicle payments,” Nicole said. In addition, the funds will help with staff wages, online ordering capabilities, and marketing. Support Nicole Jordan Catering by subscribing for updates and donating to the Nicole Jordan Catering Team GoFundMe.


Mitchell Josim is the owner of Wyler Road, a specialty sandwich shop located in Logan Square. Since opening in 2015, they have entrenched themselves in the community. “It’s a great feeling to see the neighborhood respond and be concerned about our well-being, just as we are concerned about theirs,” Mitchell said. After closing to dine-in customers, the restaurant has lost 75% of their business but remains open to fulfill carryout and delivery orders. “Small businesses are the cornerstone of the American economy and we are trying to make sure that we can survive,” Mitchell said. Wyler Road recently received a loan through the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund. “We are extremely grateful,” Mitchell said. “This will go a long way in helping us sustain our business and keep our employees working.” Support Wyler Road by ordering carryout or delivery via Caviar, Grubhub, or Postmates. Pictured: Sous Chef Ben Montesanto and Head Chef Tyler Hudec

Illinois Hospitality Emergency Grant Program Awardees

Karen Conn is the owner of the Inn at 835, a historic hotel and event space in Springfield. With cancellations coming in daily and an empty events calendar, Karen’s business has declined by 97%. “The events and lodging industry has been severely impacted and the forecast for the rest of the year is not looking positive,” Karen said. However, as a recent Illinois Hospitality Emergency Grant Program awardee, Karen and her staff are staying focused and motivated. “This grant allows us the ability to keep working, pay overhead expenses, and maintain the highest levels of safety for the team and customers moving forward,” Karen said. Support the Inn at 835 by purchasing a gift certificate for future stays.


William Abonce is the owner of Judy’s Pizzeria, a family-owned restaurant in Highland Park. Since the pandemic hit, the pizzeria team has been busy increasing efficiencies in the carryout and delivery process, improving their online presence, and training staff to follow proper health and sanitation protocols. “We’ve been fortunate enough to continue to operate but we’ve lost almost a third of our revenue due to the significant decrease in corporate catering, local partnerships, and off-site events,” William said. Judy’s Pizzeria recently received a Hospitality Emergency Grant Program award. William plans to use the funds on new technology and training. “Given the already strict health standards we need to abide by and our history of experimenting with new ideas and procedures, we feel confident that our team will be able to quickly adapt to the new normal,” William said. In addition, the pizzeria has been working with a local nonprofit to provide hundreds of meals to frontline workers. Support Judy’s Pizzeria by donating to their COVID-19 relief effort or ordering carryout or delivery.


Jesse Iniguez is the Co-founder and Director of Coffee Operations at Back of the Yards Coffee Company and a recent Hospitality Emergency Grant Program awardee. He plans to use the funds to help his business stay open and keep his employees working. “Even though the loss in revenue has affected us significantly, we made the decision early on that we would do whatever we could to stay open and keep our people employed. They are the biggest asset we have, and they are essential to maintaining our stability and allowing the business to weather the storm,” Jesse said. Born and raised in Back of the Yards, Jesse opened the coffee shop in 2016 with a mission to provide community members a safe space to come together. Jesse says that he misses the “life that our community brings to the space like the students congregating after school, the teachers getting their fuel in the morning, the important meetings people had, the couples having a date, or the friends meeting after not seeing each other for a long time.” Students and teachers make up a big portion of the coffee shop’s customers so when the schools closed, they took a big hit. But luckily, the community has responded with incredible support and Back of the Yards Coffee Company has been able to continue fulfilling pick-up and delivery orders. Support Back of the Yards Coffee Company today by placing an order via GrubHub, UberEats, or via Back of the Yards Coffee Company’s new app.

Iran and Charlotte Garcia are the owners of Dog’s Paw Brewing, a family friendly restaurant in Elgin. “This pandemic has crippled our business just like it has thousands of other family-owned businesses across the country,” Iran said. The shutdown caused a dramatic decrease in Dog’s Paw revenue and is threatening their ability to survive. Taking workers health into consideration, the Garcias made the difficult decision to temporarily close the restaurant. “My employees’ health came first,” Iran said. Dog’s Paw was recently chosen via the lottery as a Hospitality Emergency Grant Program awardee. “We are grateful for this grant, which will allow us to pay our rent and meet other obligations that would have been difficult to meet,” said Iran.