The American Medical Association is investing $2 million over two years to bolster Chicago West Side communities to fight social and economic barriers to optimal health.
The AMA’s investment is part of an overall contribution of $6 million made by a partnership of six Chicago hospital systems and partners committed to West Side United, mission that seeks to cut in half the life-expectancy gap that exists between the city’s affluent communities and its poor West Side neighborhoods. According to U.S. Census data, nearly one-fifth of Chicago’s West Side households live below the poverty level. Nearly half of the area’s residents are black; 34% are Hispanic and 17% are white.
The funds will be invested through four community development financial institutions (CDFIs)—mission-driven financial institutions certified by the U.S. Department of Treasury to finance businesses, nonprofits, micro enterprises, and affordable housing serving low-income communities. The CDFIs will offer loan capital to small businesses and organizations throughout the West Side based on the community’s needs, such as improving access to affordable housing and healthy foods, financing local business projects, or supporting job creation efforts and educational programs.