Southland Economic Transformation Fund awards more than $400,000 to 10 innovative projects

The South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association (SSMMA) and the Southland Development Authority recently announced grant awards totaling more than $400,000 to fund innovative initiatives that further strengthen the economy and communities of Chicago’s South Suburbs.

The Southland Economic Transformation (SET) Fund, generously supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and managed by SSMMA, received nearly 60 proposals. The 10 winners include a technology incubator, an employer assisted housing program, initiatives in manufacturing productivity, diversifying ownership of high-growth companies and supply chain workforce training, among others. Full list of awards here.

“These were tough decisions, because there is so much opportunity in the Southland right now,” said John Ostenburg, Chair of the SET Funding Board and former Mayor of Park Forest. “The area has enormous assets in its people, businesses and communities, and there were many more great proposals than we could fund.”

Tyrone Ward, President of SSMMA and Mayor of Robbins, added: “We’re proud to support these awards, because these proposals hold great promise for the South Suburbs. They represent the strategic partnerships we need to overcome the current economic slowdown and capitalize on our combined assets in the long run.”

Many of the grants build from and complement the Southland Development Authority’s Southland Equitable Recovery Stimulus Program, and the Authority is providing supplemental funding to some of the grantees. It is also funding some of the runners-up that help businesses grow past the pandemic. The Equitable Recovery Stimulus Program is offering extensive expert resources and financing to businesses hit by the pandemic, and it has already assisted more than 300 businesses in accessing needed funds and expert services. Read more.

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