Polk Bros. Foundation and IFF partner to help Chicago nonprofits with facilities needs

Polk Bros. Foundation and IFF partner to help Chicago nonprofits with facilities needs

A long-standing partnership between IFF and the Polk Bros. Foundation makes IFF’s affordable real estate consulting services available at an even lower price to Polk’s Chicago-based nonprofit grantees. Purchasing or renovating a facility can be overwhelming, especially for small nonprofits, and IFF’s Polk-subsidized services save organizations thousands of dollars while providing long-term financial peace of mind that comes with having a sound facility.

“The Polk Bros. Foundation helps fund the work that we do, and then IFF helps us create the space that we do our work in,” says Shannon Stewart, Executive Director and CEO of Inspiration Corporation, a Chicago-area nonprofit that has benefited from the program. “They are very committed to their work, but also to what you do and what you want to achieve. They’re just wonderful partners.”

Nonprofit grantees have benefited from the Polk-IFF partnership since 2007. Since then, IFF and grantees have completed 84 projects, with nearly 50 percent of project costs subsidized by the Polk Bros. Foundation. Recently, representatives from 14 Chicago-based organizations attended IFF’s “Smarter Spaces” training dedicated to understanding facilities assessments and planning. IFF will host its next seminar on May 23, focusing on housing facilities projects.

Erie Family Health Center (EFHC) has utilized Polk’s program multiple times since 2009, when the health center worked with IFF to identify and plan for a new EFHC location in the city’s West Humboldt Park neighborhood. Currently, IFF and EFHC are working on three more projects to expand the federally qualified health center throughout the city, including a teen health center opening on the west side this summer. In addition, EFHC has utilized over $1 million in IFF financing to purchase and renovate its locations.

Subsidized IFF real estate services include financial feasibility studies; assessment of current or proposed facilities for safety and accessibility concerns, maintenance needs, and building inefficiencies; site search; or owner’s representative services.

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