Marginalized Returns : Impact investing has been seduced by a false narrative of combining social impact with financial gains.

Impact investing appears to have been seduced by a convenient narrative. According to the prevailing view, the achievement of both social impact and market-rate financial returns is the norm—not the exception. Those who question the financial returns aspect of this assumption are portrayed as lacking business savvy. “If we want to change things and we want to make an impact, we can’t be hippy-ish about this,” pop singer and philanthropist Bono said at the Skoll World Forum in April. “Impact investing has really been an excuse for good people to do bad deals.”

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Ryan Tippery
Improvements planned for Cottage Grove station on CTA Green Line

The Cottage Grove station on the Green Line — minutes from the future home of the Obama Presidential Center — is set for a major facelift, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other city officials announced Monday.

“We are investing in the future of the CTA, and in the future of Woodlawn,” the mayor said in a statement. “Investments like this one strengthen communities, attract private investment and drive neighborhood growth.”

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Ryan Tippery
Greenlining Realty USA (GRU) forges new key partnership in West Woodlawn

Yesterday during YWCA Metropolitan Chicago's annual meeting, CEO Dorri McWhorter announced a formal alliance with  GRU and expressed her excitement of the infinite number of possibilities that are sure to come out of this union.

During his remarks, GRU's founder, Lamell McMorris spoke candidly about his connection to the neighborhood, his investment strategy and vision for creating a vibrant and prosperous community.

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Ryan Tippery
Like Englewood, Bronzeville, Woodlawn gets new grocer: Jewel-Osco

After an increase in public investment in Woodlawn, the private sector has also begun to see major business opportunities in the neighborhood.

“The new grocery store targeted for this community, which has long suffered disinvestment, follows the arrival last fall of major grocery chains in two similar communities: Englewood, which saw the historic opening of a new Whole Foods store at 63rd and Halsted, and Bronzeville, which saw Mariano’s open at Pershing Road and King Drive.”

“Woodlawn is a community on the rise, growing for the first time in decades, and experiencing a slight drop in crime. U.S. Census data showed Woodlawn outpacing its fancy neighbor, Hyde Park, in growth between 2010 and 2015.”

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Ryan Tippery
How Chicago Recorded $12.5B Of CRE Foreign Investment And 2,600 Murders At The Same Time

Qatari Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani was “scared to death” to visit Chicago. In 2012, the sheikh, with a net worth of $2.4B, was drawn to investment opportunities in Chicago real estate, but even from his home 7,000 miles away he grimaced when watching the news on television.

Like so many others, he was deeply troubled by vivid news reports on CNN and Sky News depicting tragic shootings of children and violent gang turf wars. Despite the blaring headlines — and later condemnations from then President-elect Donald Trump, who called the city a “war zone” — Al Thani did ultimately visit the Windy City.

And what he found was altogether surprising. While gun violence has certainly ballooned, the city has become a national leader in foreign investment into commercial real estate — to the tune of nearly $12.5B in the last five years.

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Ryan Tippery
A Martin Luther King Jr. Day message from Greenlining Realty USA founder, Lamell McMorris

In March of 1968, Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. gave a powerful speech on "the other America" describing 2 separate and distinct American experiences: one for folks who were thriving, knocking at the doors of opportunity and plenty, and one for those shut out of the country's prosperity, plagued by "inadequate, substandard and often dilapidated housing conditions and substandard, inferior quality-less schools." He went on to describe what he saw as the only pathway to genuine equality: economic equality. He said,  "For we know that it isn't enough to integrate lunch counters. What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn't earn enough money to buy a hamburger and a cup of coffee?"

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Ryan Tippery
Young Black Families Move Back To Woodlawn, Reversing Exodus

As the University of Chicago invests in the neighborhoods surrounding the campus, Woodlawn has seen an influx of young Black residents that see value in a once-dying community.

“Woodlawn is growing for the first time in more than 15 years and is now outpacing Hyde Park as young African-American families return to the neighborhood.”

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Ryan Tippery
Groundbreaking: Trianon Lofts will be POAH's first mostly market rate rentals in Chicago

The Trianon Lofts are market-rate rentals being developed in Woodlawn to expand housing options for lower-middle class Chicagoans.

“...the involvement and partnership of neighborhood organizations, government agencies, financial and educational institutions, civic leaders, developers and the community. Woodlawn is a perfect example of how distressed urban neighborhoods can be re-designed to become communities of choice”

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Ryan Tippery