IFF serves as a real estate developer, collaborating with community stakeholders to achieve their unique visions.

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Community Development Solutions

Working closely with communities to launch community-driven projects, we identify gaps where impactful projects would not happen through traditional development avenues.

Our team works across Chicago, Detroit, Grand Rapids, and St. Louis, often bridging gaps in the community by taking on challenges other developers cannot or are unwilling to pursue. This is where we use our strength and creativity to bring to life development projects that bring new resources to the communities we serve. Our expertise in planning, team building, and capital resources allows us to make challenging projects possible – in and for the communities we serve.

Equitable Community Development Principles

Engage in visioning and implementation with community residents and stakeholders.
Build and preserve local community assets and wealth.
Advance development guided by an inclusive community vision.
Ensure that equitable community development addresses the social determinants of health beyond affordable housing and economic development.
Bridge growth and equitable opportunity with a long-term commitment, or resources and time, with community partners.
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Our Projects

Beginning with the development of two full-service grocery stores in 2013, IFF’s Development team has grown to be a leader in many sectors — including schools, early childhood education, food system facilities, and comprehensive community planning. Click the icons below to explore some of our projects.

Community Facilities

Completed, 2020 – Chatham Education & Workforce Center (CCWP); Chicago, IL
IFF created a wholly owned subsidiary to acquire an existing two-story, 10,440 square foot commercial building, which was redeveloped for CCWP. The capital stack includes $250k in equity from JP Morgan CHASE and will be the pilot project for IFF’s Community Facilities Fund.

Completed, 2019 – The Hatchery; Chicago, IL
The Hatchery provides incubator spaces and services for approximately 100 start-up or early-stage food businesses. The complex houses 56 food-grade commercial kitchens, dry-cold storage, loading docks, and meeting and office spaces.


Under construction, est. completion 2023 – Homan Square Permanent Supportive Housing; Chicago, IL
Rental housing development of 21 new housing units, across 3 sites, that will be both affordable and accessible to people with disabilities.

Early Childhood Education

Under construction, opening Summer 2024 – Early Childhood Education Center; Grand Rapids, MI
IFF is developing an early childhood education center as part of a Purpose-Built Community in Grand Rapids (Amplify GR). Much like the Children of the Rising Sun project, IFF will own the ECE center for an interim period then transfer ownership to the operator.

Completed, 2021 – Marygrove Early Education Center; Detroit, MI
The Marygrove Early Education Center demonstrates what early childhood education can look like when best practices in facility design are incorporated into a development process driven by the needs of children, families, and community. This center offers high quality education for nearly 150 children, comprehensive, wraparound family services, and resource connections to families in the surrounding area.

K-12 Education

Completed, 2022 – Neal Math & Science Academy; North Chicago, IL
Made possible by a $40 million dollar gift from the AbbVie Corporation through the North Chicago Education Fund, as developer of the 98,000-square-foot middle school, IFF created an innovative, cross functional approach, grounded in equitable community development principles, that is more than bricks and mortar and supports a paradigm shift in education delivery in the community.

Completed, 2016 – Citizens of the World Charter School; Kansas City, MO
IFF acquired and renovated this three story office building by leveraging philanthropic equity from the Kauffman Foundation and continues to own the building and lease it to Citizens of the World Charter School.

Place Based Initiatives

Our long-term partnership with The Foundation for Homan Square, with three projects underway, is testament to the importance and value of deploying our full range of tools to create and maintain a special place that improves the quality of life for the residents of a community, in this case the North Lawndale neighborhood. We believe that access to high-quality social services, a modern recreation facility and excellent educational opportunities can make a difference in people’s lives.

Client Spotlight · Place Based Initiatve

Foundation for Homan Square

The Foundation for Homan Square and IFF formally joined together to maintain and expand the tapestry of community resources built up in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood over the last 20 years. The two longtime partners work hand-in-hand to leverage the best of each other’s organizations for the long-term benefit of the Homan Square community.

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Eden Hurd-Smith

Eden Hurd-Smith

Vice President, Community Development Solutions
Meet the Community Development Solutions Team