Success Stories

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Children's Home + Aid

IFF's history with Children's Home + Aid spans 20 years and includes playing a critical role in creating an Illinois grant program — meant to increase early childhood services in priority areas—that has benefited the agency.

We have been project manager for multiple sites, including the Mitzi Freidheim Englewood Child + Family Center, which came about through a partnership between IFF and the city of Chicago to increase child care capacity in high-need areas. For the Marletta Darnell Schaumburg Child + Family Center, we served as project manager and made a $1 million bridge loan when state funds were suspended.

In 2014, we managed the project for Children’s Home + Aid's new home in Carpentersville and helped the agency obtain a $5 million state grant. The Carpentersville site will create 25 jobs and expand the number of children served by 130 percent.

Erie Family Health Center

Chicago's Erie Family Health Center's relationship with IFF began in the early 1990s because of a program in which we developed, financed, and owned child care centers and community facilities in high-need areas before transferring ownership to nonprofits. Since then Erie has relied on our below-market loan rates and real estate consulting multiple times.

We served as project manager and loaned $600,000 to help Erie acquire and renovate its West Town Health Center. We completed a facility assessment of Erie’s Humboldt Park building to determine the nature and cost of renovations needed. For an addition to the Humboldt Park site, Erie sought our help in 2012. As a financial partner, we have made nearly $1.6 million in loans for renovation and acquisition projects, including the development of a dental center, and helped Erie increase patient visits to 15,600.

Inspiration Corporation

In 1999 — after a decade of being a kitchen on wheels — Inspiration Café moved into a permanent home in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood with a $139,000 IFF loan. In 2010, to build a $2.4 million restaurant, catering, and training facility in Chicago’s East Garfield Park neighborhood, we financed a $520,000 loan and served as project manager.

The restaurant annually feeds 3,500 low-income families and trains 100 people for jobs. Inspiration Corporation's Inspiration Kitchens food service training program has helped over 500 homeless and low-income people. Inspiration Corporation has 54 full-time and 32 part-time employees at five different sites, and serves over 3,000 Chicago residents each year.

Karcher Artspace Lofts

As part of a downtown revitalization effort in Waukegan, IL, Artspace Projects Inc. bought the Karcher Hotel in 2007 for $730,000 and saved the historic building from demolition. The once majestic hotel had stood vacant and in disrepair for 21 years. Artspace and the city of Waukegan packaged financing for the $13 million project from sources such as JPMorgan Chase, historic and low income housing tax credits, state funding, and local fundraising by the Waukegan Arts Council.

But the project still needed a long-term permanent lender. In October 2011, IFF loaned $700,000 to Artspace, one of the nation's leading developers of affordable space for artists. Karcher Artspace Lofts opened in December 2012; all 36 lofts were leased by March 2013. Most of the lofts are reserved for low-income artists and their families.

Lakeview Pantry

Chicago's Lakeview Pantry's new 7,500-square-foot home is being made possible with help from a $1.5 million IFF loan to buy and renovate the building, including accessibility and code improvements. This marks the second time Lakeview Pantry has hired us to identify and plan for a larger location.

For the past 12 years, the food pantry program has operated out of a 3,500-square-foot space. Before that, Lakeview Pantry was in a 970-square-foot boiler room in the former Jane Adams Center. The nonprofit annually distributes almost 1 ½ million pounds of food and serves 4,850 adults, 2,842 youth, and 852 seniors in the Lakeview neighborhood.

Walker's Point

To strengthen the education, health care, and arts and culture landscape in Milwaukee, IFF financed over $7 million in loans to six nonprofits in Walker's Point, one of the nation’s oldest neighborhoods.

Two borrowers, La Causa and Seeds of Health, offer education opportunities for high-need students. Our loan to Core El Centro for leasehold improvements and equipment allows the holistic health center to serve 1,000 more patients annually. We also financed Walker's Point Center for the Arts' first home. Other projects to receive IFF assistance include Next Act Theatre and RadioMilwaukee.