Community Revitalization Challenge

The Community Revitalization Challenge (CRC) is a new initiative led by Housing Action Illinois that connects community-based organizations with financial institutions to design and launch projects that expand access to affordable housing and promote economic development opportunities for low- and moderate- income residents throughout Illinois.

Goals:

  1. Build mutually beneficial relationships between community organizations, banks, and other community economic development funders
  2. Support projects that develop and preserve affordable housing, reduce homelessness, promote economic development, and stabilize communities across Illinois
Phase 1: Prepare
  • CRC launch webinar teaches organizations the basics of the CRA, Fair Lending regulations, and what banks look for in nonprofit partners
  • Organizations submit 2-4 project ideas to be reviewed by Housing Action Illinois for initial feasibility

Community Organizations 

  • At least one representative must either attend or confirm viewing of the CRC launch webinar
  • Register for the CRC Roundtables and submit 2-4 potentially CRA-eligible project ideas, based on the given template, to Housing Action Illinois for review
  • Focus on one project idea for the roundtable presentation

Financial Institutions 

  • It is recommended that at least one representative watch the CRC launch webinar
  • Register for CRC Roundtables and submit one investment strategy, based on given template, to Housing Action Illinois for review
Phase 2: Match
  • Regional Networking Roundtables allow organizations to pitch their curated project ideas to banks serving their area
  • Organizations & banks form partnerships to develop a robust funding proposal for 1 potentially CRA-eligible project idea

Community Organizations 

  • Attend the CRC Roundtables to pitch project ideas to banking representatives
  • If projects are accepted by a financial institution, submit a joint commitment, work plan, and project idea to Housing Action Illinois for review

Financial Institutions 

  • Attend the CRC Roundtables prepared to evaluate and discuss project ideas with community organizations
  • If a preliminary agreement with an organization is reached, submit a joint commitment, work plan, and project idea to Housing Action Illinois for review
Phase 3: Develop
  • Organizations develop a project proposal with active feedback and mentorship from their bank partner, with additional coaching from Housing Action Illinois as needed
  • Organizations prepare a presentation of their proposal

Community Organizations 

  • Collaborate with partner bank to develop a project proposal and send proof of dialogue to Housing Action Illinois
  • Submit one comprehensive proposal, formatted according to given guidelines, to Housing Action Illinois for feedback and approval

Financial Institutions 

  • Collaborate with partner organization to develop a project proposal and submit proof of dialogue to Housing Action Illinois
  • Submit one comprehensive proposal, formatted according to given guidelines, to Housing Action Illinois for approval
Phase 4: Showcase
  • Project Showcase allows organizations to present their project proposals to a panel of banks and other decision makers and stakeholders
  • 5 potentially CRA-eligible projects selected by the panel will receive seed funding

Community Organizations 

  • Prepare and administer one proposal presentation for panel of potential funders
  • If selected for seed-funding, submit one updated project agreement to Housing Action Illinois

Financial Institutions 

  • Have at least one representative attend project showcase
  • If committed to investing in a community organization, submit a single joint project agreement to Housing Action Illinois
Phase 5: Implement
  • 5 potentially CRA-eligible projects implemented with agreed-upon benchmarks and timelines
  • Housing Action Illinois shares project updates, and provides coaching and administrative support to ensure benchmarks are reached
  • Outcomes report published on initial seeded projects

Community Organizations 

  • Implement project agreement over proposed time frame, while completing all progress reports, maintaining a good relationship with financial partner, and providing updates to Housing Action Illinois

Financial Institutions 

  • Implement project agreement over proposed time frame by providing the agreed-upon financial investment, feedback, and assistance on organizational benchmarks

Outcomes:

  1. Increased number of community organizations with greater capacity to develop high impact, potentially CRA-eligible projects in the future
  2. Sustainable partnerships between organizations and banks
  3. Investment-ready projects
  4. Reliable funding stream for projects that make a difference in communities throughout Illinois

Check back regularly for updated information. 

For questions, email CRCinfo@housingactionil.org or call 312-939-6074 (ext. 203 for Sharon Legenza and ext. 202 for David Young).

Thank you to our sponsoring and participating financial institutions.

Community Revitalization Challenge Sponsors

          


Community Revitalization Challenge Participants

The following are also members of the CRC steering committee: Associated Bank, Midland States Banks, US Bank, Fifth Third Bank, First Midwest Bank, PNC, and Hometown Community Banks.