Catherine T. MacArthur

Benefit Chicago fund makes first round of loans to 6 small businesses, nonprofits

Benefit Chicago fund makes first round of loans to 6 small businesses, nonprofits

Businesses that provide employment opportunities for autistic people and ex-convicts are among the first beneficiaries of a novel philanthropic endeavor that allows individuals to make an impact on Chicago by investing as little as $20.

Benefit Chicago, launched a year ago with $65 million in backing from Chicago philanthropic powerhouses, announced Tuesday that it has made its first $12 million in loans to six small businesses and nonprofits that otherwise would have had difficulty getting the money they need.

Among the recipients of Benefit Chicago impact investments are Sweet Beginnings, which gives jobs to people who previously were incarcerated, and Autonomy Works,...

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