Community Desk Chicago works to facilitate greater participation in Community Investment Vehicles (CIVs) because we believe they present an exciting opportunity to grow community wealth and give communities greater control over the real estate assets in their neighborhoods. But we also know CIVs are complex endeavors requiring serious commitment from community leaders. One question we often get from community leaders considering CIVs is: How do I know if a CIV is right for my neighborhood?  

Here’s our answer: CIVs are often motivated by a need or void within the established community where residents can organize around shared goals, often directly connected to one or many of the following drivers: 

Threat of Gentrification. Residents and small businesses are being displaced because of new developments that drive up the costs of living and make it harder to operate in the community. 

Gap in Affordable Housing. Affordable housing is declining or limited in the community, and there is a community desire to preserve, protect, and grow affordable housing options. 

Disinvestment of Business Corridors. Residents are seeking opportunities to revitalize commercial corridors that have suffered from disinvestment over the years, focusing on elevating local businesses that build local wealth. 

Desire to Keep Wealth Local. Residents are pursuing opportunities to keep wealth within the local community by ensuring local properties and the businesses operating there are owned by local residents. 

Equitable Development Partnerships. To maximize local control, it’s also important that residents participate in large-scale, developer-led real estate development. Through a CIV, residents can pool money to invest in that development – and therefore have decision-making power over the development’s outcomes. 

If most of these factors are relevant to your community, it may be appropriate to consider exploring a CIV. Our CIV Playbook and Assessment Tool is designed to help you further assess whether your neighborhood should pursue a CIV and how to get started. For more information, please visit