The Pullman neighborhood’s economic revival since 2009 suggests a framework for other intense development initiatives aimed at neglected communities, concludes a University of Chicago study to be issued Thursday.
The report said U.S. Bank has invested $110 million directly in Pullman as of 2019, leading to an additional $250 million in outside capital and creation of 1,100 permanent, full-time jobs. The bank became involved in Pullman with its 2009 purchase of First Bank of Oak Park, which had a nonprofit subsidiary in Pullman. The nonprofit was converted into a new organization, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, which has led the development of a 180 acre site on Pullman’s eastern end that includes the old Ryerson Steel factory.
Prepared by the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at the U. of C.’s Booth School of Business, the study concludes “place-based investments” can have a positive impact, provided there’s strong financial backing and buy-in from community leaders. “Invest big — no drops in the bucket,” was the lead recommendation.
In releasing the study, U.S. Bank announced it is donating $1 million to CNI to support 40 small businesses in low- to moderate-income areas of the city’s South and West sides.
“We believe banks are in business to do three things: economic development, workforce development and community development,” said Zack Boyers, CEO of U.S. Bank’s community development unit.
“The impact of these investments in partnership with CNI and other private and public commitments have created lasting change in this historic community.