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Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives Receives $200,000 Grant from SC Johnson

RACINE, Wis., October 22, 2020 – SC Johnson today announced it has awarded a $200,000 grant to Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI) to help small businesses navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges. The grant supports CNI’s Small Business Micro-Lending Program and its new Small Business Repair Program.

“Small businesses are vital to the health of our neighborhoods, and we all have a responsibility to help support the communities we live and work in during these challenging times,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. “SC Johnson is proud to have a strong presence in Chicago, and partner with organizations like CNI as we continue our commitment to providing greater pathways to economic opportunities in underserved populations.”
Small Business Micro-Lending Program 
CNI Micro Finance Group (MFG), the managing body of the Small Business Micro-Lending Program, will utilize $100,000 of the grant to continue to provide credit at affordable rates to small businesses that do not have access to loans from commercial sources. 

“SC Johnson stepped in during a very crucial time supporting the Chicago area’s most vulnerable businesses that are still dealing with the impacts of COVID-19 and are now rebuilding from the civil unrest,” said Erica King, President of CNI MFG. “CNI MFG has worked to provide resources for building, sustaining and growing these same businesses and looks forward to continuing the partnership with SC Johnson in doing so.”

CNI MFG assists minority-owned and women-owned small businesses. More than 90% of borrowers are minorities, of which 80% are African American and 47% are women.

Since 2012, CNI MFG has distributed 136 microloans totaling nearly $3 million and helped create or retain 662 jobs. The microloans can be used to secure finance equipment, inventory, building improvements, updates and renovations, working capital and more.

“The Pullman community so appreciates SC Johnson’s support during this difficult time,” said David Doig, President of CNI. “Whether through providing much-needed meals to Roseland Hospital staff, patients and first responders, SC Johnson has been there in support of the Pullman neighborhood. SC Johnson is a model of corporate citizenry and a point of light in these hard times. We thank SC Johnson for their commitment to our neighborhood.”
Small Business Repair Program
The remaining $100,000 of the grant funded CNI’s newly created Small Business Repair Program. The program provided $5,000 grants to 40 small businesses to offset the costs of replacing storefronts, equipment and inventory, as well as other expenses.

"Without this program, many of us might not be in business today. And so, I want to thank CNI for giving us a hand when we really needed it,” said Nate Pendleton, owner of the New Look Restaurant and one of the many recipients of the Small Business Repair Program. “We are grateful they understood the vital role small businesses play in our neighborhoods. That inspires us to get back at it."

About CNI
Formed in 2010, CNI exists to coordinate resources, economic development and neighborhood revitalization efforts in Chicagoland’s low-to-moderate income neighborhoods. To learn more about CNI, please visit