Bringing Capital & Connections
to Chicago Communities
Community Desk Chicago is a community development intermediary leveraging relationships, aggregating risk tolerant capital, and working intentionally in underserved communities to shift power dynamics and create a path to advance economic prosperity through community wealth-building and small-scale infill commercial real estate development.
Our long-term vision is a Chicago where all communities have the resources they need to create healthy built environments that support their goals for vibrant spaces, positive economic activity, and community wealth-building.
Community Desk Chicago’s mission is to advance equitable economic prosperity in collaboration with historically underserved and disinvested communities. We do this through an integrated approach of pooling capital, building knowledge and networks, and engaging with investors, funders, and others who influence a community’s ability to thrive.
Community Desk Chicago believes the following:
Strong talent and commercial development opportunities exist in communities, but they face challenges accessing necessary capital and resources.
Communities deserve holistic development, including commercial projects that create wealth-building opportunities and improve quality of life.
Projects in communities of color should have equitable access to capital without fear of racial bias.
Our role is to collaborate, not duplicate – partnering with the existing ecosystem to add capacity and fill gaps.
A Timeline of Our History
From 2018 to 2022, The Desk incubated at the Chicago Community Trust. It was established through a collaborative partnership with the Boston Consulting Group’s Center for Illinois’ Future and JPMorgan Chase. In 2023, the organization moved from its status as an initiative and launched as a fully independent not-for-profit. The Desk’s work continues to build on research conducted by BCG and the Trust and is informed by extensive work of others advancing place-based community development.
Launched as an initiative at the Chicago Community Trust. Began project work in Englewood.
Hired staff and expanded city-wide in alignment with broader revitalization efforts.
Established The Desk as a thought leader with the City of Chicago and philanthropic community. Developed comprehensive programs.
Aggregated development capital and provided technical coaching for place-based initiatives. Served as a city-wide thought leader for community wealth-building tools.
2023: 501(c)3 Launch
Established as a community development intermediary to support implementation of small-scale infill projects and community wealth-building initiatives.
Researched and explored the opportunity for a community “help desk.”