Non-Profits: Apply & Help Support Small Business Recovery

***Application for eligibility is now closed. 5/24/21.

As part of Cook County’s Community Recovery Initiative, Cook County established the Small Business Assistance program in 2020 to help address the impacts of COIVD-19.  Through the program and its 35+ partners, thousands of businesses have received free services to support resiliency and recovery. Cook County plans to expand the program and provide technical assistance to assist with recovery through the remainder of 2021.

Cook County seeks to identify 20+ organizations to join our network and further aid the recovery of small businesses. We encourage small business organizations located in Cook County to apply. Representatives from business support organizations, government and philanthropic communities will evaluate statements of interest. Selection criteria include the following factors:

  • Experience with delivering technical assistance to small businesses

  • Service area and/or sector focus

  • Ability to reach businesses within Cook County (note: only organizations that reach suburban Cook County can receive Cook County CARES Act funding, but we are actively seeking additional funding for organizations located in Chicago),

  • Prior performance in a program where applicable

  • Capacity to service business during this challenging time

If selected, your organization will be invited to participate in a County-wide network and qualify for funding. Selected partners in the initial round will receive detailed information about responsibilities and the grant period by Jul 1, 2021, but we will seek to invite additional partners over time as we raise additional funding.

Essential Information and Dates: 

Please complete this interest form by noon on Monday, May 24 to be eligible for consideration. Questions may be directed via either of the following channels. We will aggregate all questions into FAQs that will be updated and shared below.

  • Information session: We will host an optional information session on Thursday, May 13 from 3-4pm CT.  Please access through the link provided.

  • Most organizations will receive $15,000 to deliver outreach services to promote resources available for small businesses. A smaller subset of qualifying partners will receive at least $50,000 to provide technical assistance to small businesses.

  • All partners receiving County funding will need to incur expenses by December 30, 2021.

  • We plan to monitor additional sources of funding that will allow the continuation of activities beyond 2022.

If you have questions or can’t attend the information session, please email All questions will be summarized in a document and shared via our listserv.


(last updated: May 18)


1. Can for-profit businesses receive funding as partners of the program?

  • This program is designed to provide funding to non-profits that provide support services to businesses. For-profit businesses are not considered eligible.

2. Are there funds available for organizations that only serve businesses in the city of Chicago?

  • Currently, we have funds in place for organizations that serve businesses located in suburban Cook County. We aim to build a network that provides support throughout Cook County, including city of Chicago. We encourage Chicago-serving organizations to complete the interest form to be considered for future funding as it becomes available.

Interest Form

3. I was not able to attend the optional partner information session, what was discussed?

  • During the information session, we provided an overview of the program, partner roles and financial reporting questions. To view the materials from the session, click here.

4. Is there a way to preview the interest form?

  • Yes, please click this link to preview the interest form.

5. The interest form asks to upload supplemental documents. Is this required, and what sort of documents should be uploaded?

  • Uploading supplemental documents to your interest form is optional. We encourage interested organizations to upload any documents to support their application such as impact reports, program brochures, or anything else you would like evaluators to know that was not captured in the interest form.

6. What should I do if I forgot to include something in my interest form or if there is something else that I would like evaluators to know about my organization?

Partner Types

7. What are the roles and responsibilities of different partner types?

  • To view detailed roles and responsibilities of partner types, please view page 3 of the interest form preview.

8. On the preview of the interest form I see that there are some questions that are required for organizations interested in the Technical Assistance Provider role that are not required for organizations interested in the Referral Partner role. If my organization is interested in both partner types, do I need to do an application for each?

  • No. If your organization is interested in both partner types, choose “either partner type” on question 10 of the interest form. If you choose that option, all required questions for both partner types will appear in the form.

9. Can an organization serve as a Technical Assistance Provider and a Referral Partner? Can an organization receive funding for both roles?

  • No, the role of Technical Assistance Providers encompasses the responsibilities of Referral Partners as well as other responsibilities around technical assistance for BSOs, which is reflected in funding. Organizations can only participate in the program as one partner-type.

10. How many businesses are Technical Assistance Provider partners expected to serve?

  • Technical Assistance Partners are expected to hold 15 one-on-one business advising sessions per full-time employee dedicated to the project per week. Those 15 appointments can be made of new or existing clients of the program.

11. How will Technical Assistance Provider source and receive clients through the program?

  • All program partners will support outreach efforts that will drive prospective small businesses to a centralized intake platform. The program coordinator will match Technical Assistance Provider partners to clients through the platform.

12. How should Technical Assistance Provider partners staff the program?

  • If selected as a partner, Technical Assistance Providers will be expected to dedicate a minimum of one full-time equivalent (FTE) staff member or contractor to the program. Some Technical Assistance Providers may receive funding for more than one FTE, but this would only be expected if partners agreed to this during contracting.

  • Technical Assistance Providers should expect to reserve several hours a month for executive-level staff to provide program oversight and administration.

  • Other staffing considerations may include several hours each month for marketing, or administrative team members.

  • Costs from any personnel or contractors associated with this program are eligible program-related expenses. Financial reports will ask that partners include the percent of time that each associated staff person spends on this program.

Paycheck Protection Program – Extended Through May 31, 2021

Paycheck Protection Program

***Closed as of 5/31/21.

PPP is working for you.  PPP has been extended through May 31, 2021.  Lenders are open and accepting applications.

PPP’s funding formula has been revised for sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals to receive more financial support.

Additional critical changes have helped to increase equity and access to PPP funds for more small business owners, including:

  • Ensure access for non-citizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents by clarifying that they may use Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) to apply for relief.
  • Revised loan calculations for sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals to receive more financial support.
  • Elimination of exclusionary restrictions preventing applicants with prior non-fraud felony convictions from accessing funds.
  • Elimination of exclusionary restrictions preventing applicants who are delinquent on their federal student loans from accessing funds.

We have 3 partner organizations — Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, Southland Development Authority, and Illinois Restaurant Association — that will provide guidance such as: PPP Process, understanding eligibility, & document collection. To apply, contact your local CDFI or bank.  You can also reach out to our lending partner Lendistry.

Sign Up: Help is Here!

Toni’s Tips, Cook County Businesses to Support

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – it’s Small business Week.  Join Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle as she shares

Toni’s Tips, a list of Cook County businesses to support.

We’re inviting small businesses to celebrate with us. Small business week is a time to support one another, learn about beneficial programs designed to support you, and tell your small business story.  Toni has been traveling the county to listen and share the inspirational stories of our small business owners.

Enjoy Toni’s Tips!


Old Fashioned Donuts – 11248 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL

A staple in Roseland, for over 45 years, Old Fashioned Donuts reigned over by Mr. B is affectionately referred to as the “Donut King”. Stop in for a giant apple fritter.





Aztec Dave’s – 2300 S Throop, Chicago, IL  (for pickup order ahead)

Aztec Daves focuses on authentic Mexican recipes and ingredients derived from their own grandmother and adds a modern twist. Priding themselves on the freshest ingredients and top-quality marinated meats. Everything is homemade and prepared fresh daily; from the flame-grilled meats to our original salsas. Start with the Taco Azteca.




Da Book Joint – 430 E. 162nd St, Ste 747, South Holland, IL  

Da Book Joint is a #BlackWomanOwnedBusiness born on the #Southside of #Chicago committed to literary growth and the positive engagement of the youth.

Verlean Singletary, owner of Da Book Joint is dedicated to the development of our country’s youth – support her mission.




The Looking Glass – 823 S Oak Park Ave, Oak Park, IL 

Proudly, “not just another used bookstore!”, The Looking Glass offers a wide variety of gently used books but also a variety of gift options. Stop in for book-related gifts, unique gift options created by local artisans and a wide array of greeting cards. 

If you’re near Oak Park, consider joining the book club. 




Rise and Dine – 102 S. Milwaukee Ave, Wheeling, IL 

Skillets, french toast and omelets, oh my! Rise and Dine serves up traditional American breakfast food with a brunch that will have you coming back time and time again. 

The crew at Rise and Dine pride themselves on serving only the freshest ingredients and, importantly, having ample parking available. Bring your friends and family – Rise and Dine is safely, open for business. 




Old School Records – 413 Des Plaines Ave, Forest Park, IL 

If you know the magical sound of vinyl, you just know. Old School Records in Forest Park pays homage to the classic sounds and progression of music. Stop in for records, tapes and CDs to take an audible trip down memory lane. 





Coffeessions – 820 Wheeling Rd, Wheeling, IL 

Coffeessions is a high-end coffeehouse intended to leverage a niche market through the offering of a combination of specialty coffee, a wine bar, soups and healthy convenient meals on the go.

The coffeehouse offers hot and cold beverages, including specialty coffees, U.S. regional wines, teas, pastries, breads, snacks, energy-dense food options, soups and desserts. Visit them in Wheeling for a warm treat.



Da Book Joint – 430 E. 162nd St, Ste 747, South Holland, IL 60473

Da Book Joint is a #BlackWomanOwnedBusiness born on the #Southside of #Chicago committed to literary growth and the positive engagement of the youth.

Verlean Singletary, owner of Da Book Joint is dedicated to the development of our country’s youth – support her mission.



WBDC: Start Planning Your Business for Recovery in 2021

***Application for eligibility is now closed. 

Looking to Pivot Your Business into Recovery for 2021?

Most businesses have been negatively affected by the pandemic, especially small businesses. If you are a Solopreneur or a small business (< 2 years), and are looking to pivot, reinvent your business, find new customers, learn ways to deliver your service or product differently, you should consider Plan for Recovery!

Start Planning for Recovery Today!

This intense 6 session hands-on workshop will help you:
· Identify your strengths
· Identify new markets
· Define new ways of operating
· Identify opportunities and create new strategies
· Minimize future losses and recover faster
· Protect your business and establish continuity plans
· Come up with a plan for the future

May 2021 Dates
Mondays and Wednesdays 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, and 26
9:00 am – 11:00 am, CDT

Via Zoom

Application Deadline:
May 3, 2021

Apply Now!

For more information, please contact:

El programa de protección de pago (PPP)

El PPP es un préstamo de fondo perdido (es decir, es perdonable y no lo necesitas pagar), si lo obtienes, tu negocio puede recibir hasta el 250% de tus costos mensuales de nómina durante un período específico.

Elegibilidad para el primer sorteo del PPP (nunca ha recibido un PPP )
•En funcionamiento el 15 de febrero de 2020.

• No tener más de 500 empleados combinados con las filiales (salvo NACIS 72, 511110 o 5151, entonces 500 por ubicación).

Elegibilidad para el segundo sorteo del PPP (además de lo anterior):
• El importe total del préstamo anterior del Programa de Protección de la Nómina (Paycheck Protection Program, PPP) debe utilizarse antes de solicitar el segundo préstamo del PPP.

• Demostrar al menos una reducción del 25% en los ingresos brutos entre los trimestres comparables de 2019 y 2020; o si estuvo en funcionamiento durante todo el año 2019, puede utilizar los ingresos brutos anuales.

• No tener más de 300 empleados combinados con las filiales (salvo los códigos NACI 72, 511110 o 5151, entonces 300 por ubicación).

Importe del préstamo
• 2.5 veces la nómina media mensual; hasta 10 millones de dólares para el primer sorteo; hasta 2 millones de dólares para el segundo sorteo.

• 3.5 veces el promedio de la nómina mensual de los préstamos para Servicios de alojamiento y alimentación (código NACI 72), hasta 2 millones de dólares.

• Sole Proprietors pueden utilizar los ingresos brutos para calcular la nomina mensual (Sin superar loa $100,000 dólares)

Gastos elegibles
• Todos los costes de la nómina (salarios, prestaciones, comisiones, etc.).

• Contratos de alquiler y arrendamiento comerciales.

• Intereses hipotecarios de la empresa.

• Pagos de servicios públicos comerciales.

• Gastos de funcionamiento cubiertos.*

• Gastos de equipos de protección personal (personal protective equipment, PPE) cubiertos.*

• Gastos de daños a la propiedad cubiertos.*

• Gastos cubiertos* de los proveedores.

*Gastos imprescindibles para los procesos de nómina

Condonación de préstamos
• Puede ser elegible para la condonación del préstamo si los ingresos se utilizan en la nómina y otros gastos elegibles de la empresa.

• Se mantienen los niveles de empleados y de compensación; y

• Un mínimo del 60% debe utilizarse en los costes de las nóminas.

• Los fondos deben utilizarse en las 8 24 semanas siguientes a la recepción del PPP.

Dónde solicitarlo
• Póngase en contacto con su Institución financiera de desarrollo comunitario (Community Development Financial Institutions, CDFI)/ o banco local para solicitarlo o póngase en contacto con nuestros socios prestamistas.

  • Lendistry
  • AlliesForCommunity Business /CRF AliadosParaLasEmpresasComunitarias Fondo de Reinversión Comunitaria (Community Reinvestment Fund , CRF ) (anteriormente conocido como Accion)

Para obtener orientación sobre el PPP, complete este formulario de admisión:
Formulario de admisión para el asesoramiento empresarial del PPP

EIDL Overview: What you need to know

Economic Injury Disaster Loan

EIDL Advance funds were originally calculated based on the number of employees on an applicant’s COVID-19 EIDL application: $1,000/employee, up to a maximum of $10,000. The Targeted EIDL Advance provides businesses in low-income communities with additional funds to ensure small business continuity, adaptation, and resiliency.

• All forms of business (Profit & Non-profit businesses), ESPOs, and tribal businesses
• Must employ no more than 500 employees
• Independent contractors, sole proprietors can apply as well

Eligibility for the Targeted EIDL Advance
• Must be located in a low-income community
• Must show at least 50% decrease in revenue
• Must employ 10 employees or less

• Can be used to pay business expenses (working capital, payroll, bills, fixed debts).
• Recipients do not have to be approved for an EIDL loan to receive the EIDL advance

Loan Amount for EIDL Loan
• Based upon businesses working capital for 6 months
• Maximum amount is subject to change based upon SBA guidelines

Grant Amount for EIDL advance
Up to $10K max

Interest Rate & Repayment for EIDL loan only
• 3.75% interest for small businesses, 2.75% for non-profits
• 30-year loan
• Payments deferred for 12 months ( your loan will continue to accrue interest, but you are not required to make any payments)
• No repayment necessary for the EIDL advance (grant)

Where to Apply
EIDL Loan is open and can apply directly on the SBA website:
EIDL advance currently unavailable until further notice


The Cook County COVID-19 Recovery: Small Business Assistance program provides support for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.   

Be a Small Business Vaccine Leader: Join Us 4/6/21

On Tuesday, April 6th at 2:00 PM EDT, Reimagine Main Street will host a launch event regarding the important role small business owners can play in promoting vaccine access, confidence, and equity. As part of the event, we will:

  1. Release results of a survey fielded in conjunction with the U.S. Black Chambers Inc.U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the National Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship;
  2. Hear from several diverse small business owners who are working on this issue;
  3. Launch an education and outreach effort (including tools and tips sheets for Asian American and Pacific Islander, Black, Latin(x), and Native small employers) to encourage more small business leaders to promote vaccinations for their workers and communities; and,
  4. Announce the commitment of hundreds of small business leaders who are taking action in their communities.

Register for the Event

We are asking you and all small business owners across the country to pledge your leadership in this area with both your business and community.

By taking the pledge, you are committing to championing the vaccine with your employees and in your community through at least one action that can include getting the vaccine when it is your turn, creating a vaccine plan for you and your employees, or assisting with vaccine promotion and distribution in your community.

Learn More About The Pledge

Small businesses fully reopening is critical to putting our economy on the path to recovery. We hope you will take the pledge and join us on April 6.

Restaurant Revitalization Fund FAQs

***Application for eligibility is now closed. 5/24/21.


UPDATE (5/21): Final Call!

SBA announced that businesses have until Monday, May 24, 8 p.m. ET, to submit applications to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund

  1. The SBA still has potential set-aside funding available for eligible establishments with 2019 annual revenue of not more than $50,000
  2. Eligible establishments that meet this revenue standard of not more than $50,000 are encouraged to apply through SBA-recognized point-of-sale vendors or directly via the SBA online application portal



UPDATE: The SBA announced that the Restaurant Revitalization Fund will be open on May 3rd! You can apply through the online SBA portal, Participating POS provider ( Square, Toasts, Clover, NCR Corporation (Aloha).
Registration for the SBA application portal will begin on Friday, April 20, 2021 at 9am ET. You can create an account by clicking here.
Review the RRF program fund guidecross-program eligibility requirements, and a sample of the application you will have to fill out.


If you would like to receive updates about the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, please fill out this form.  


What is the Restaurant Revitalization Fund?
  • The Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) provides direct grant support for restaurants hit hardest by the pandemic. The grant amounts are up to $10M per restaurant group or $5M per individual restaurant.
  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) is administering a total of $28.6 billion in RRF dollars to date.


When will applications be opened?
  • Applications are currently not live – the SBA is still developing the application along with program guidance.
  • In the meantime, there are specific steps a restaurant can take to prepare for when the application opens
  • Small business owners can follow this link to sign up to receive updates about the RRF & when Technical Assistance will begin.
  • Follow the link for FAQs from the National Restaurant Association.


What if I already received PPP financing?
  • The program assumes that many RRF applicants will have already received a PPP loan
  • If you are a PPP recipient and are approved for a RRF, you will need to subtract your PPP amount in your RRF grant calculation.


Who is eligible for the RRF?
  • All food service or drinking establishments, including:
    • Restaurants
    • Food stands, food trucks, food cars
    • Caters
    • bars, saloons, lounges, taverns
    • Snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars
    • Bakeries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
    • Brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
    • Breweries and/or microbreweries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
    • Wineries and distilleries(onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
    • Inns (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
    • Licensed facilities or premises of beverage alcohol producers where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products
    • Tasting rooms


What is the time period for expenses?
  • Incurred eligible expenses between 2/15/20 and 12/31/21


You are not eligible if:
  • you are part of an affiliated group with more than 20 locations, regardless of whether those locations do business under the same or multiple names
  • you are publicly traded
  • you have a pending application under the Save Our Stages program
  • you are a business operated by state or local government


Do certain applicants get priority?
  • The first 21 days of this grant program will prioritize veteran-, women-,socially and economically disadvantaged -owned businesses
  • $5 billion is set aside for applicants with 2019 gross receipts of not more than $500,000
  • An additional $4 billion is set aside for applicants with 2019 gross receipts from %500,001 to $1,500,000
  • An additional $500 million is set aside for applicants with 2019 gross receipts of not more than $50,000


How do I calculate my RRF amount? 
There are varying calculations depended on when your restaurant opened
  • For restaurants that opened pre-2019:
    • Take your 2019 gross revenue minus 2020 gross revenue, and subtract the total amount of the PPP loans (First and/or Second Draws) you received
  • For restaurants that opened in 2019:
    • Calculate the average of your 2019 monthly gross revenues, and multiply that average by 12
    • Then subtract your 2020 revenues from that total, and then subtract the total amount of your PPP loans
  • For restaurants that opened in 2020 or after:
    • Amount spent on eligible expenses between 2/15/2020 and 3/11/2021 minus  PPP loan amounts
  • For those entities who began operations partially through 2019, you may elect (at your own discretion) to use either calculation 2 or calculation 3


** All of these calculations are open to further clarification by the SBA. Businesses should keep up-to-date as the SBA releases guidance to ensure their grant calculation is correct


What expenses are eligible?
  • Business payroll costs (including sick leave)
  • Payments on any business mortgage obligation
  • Business rent payments (note: this does not include prepayment of rent)
  • Business debt service (both principal and interest;( note: this does not include any prepayment of principal or interest)
  • Business utility payments
  • Business maintenance expenses
  • Construction of outdoor seating
  • Business supplies (including protective equipment and cleaning materials)
  • Business food and beverage expenses (including raw materials)
  • Covered supplier costs
  • Business operating expenses


What is the covered period for these expenses?
  • Grants can be spent on eligible expenses from 2/15/20 through 12/31/21.


Do I have to agree to anything?
  • Recipients must certify that current conditions make the grant request necessary; that the funds will be used to retain workers, maintain payroll, and cover other eligible expenses; and that the recipient is only applying for and would only receive one grant
What if I can’t use my full fund on eligible expenses?
  • It must be returned to the government


Link to a sample application – here
Link to Restaurant Revitalization Fund Program Guide (created by SBA) – here
For more recent updates and to monitor visit for the most recent updates.

Guidance on Grant Funds & Taxes

As a recipient of Cook County COVID-19 Recovery Grant Recipient/Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) through the county, you should have received a 1099-MISC Form from the WBDC.

If you have not received your form please email Please include the name of your business, the business owner’s name, and the programs you participated in.

State and local grants are ordinarily taxable for federal income purposes, and federal grants are taxable unless stated otherwise in the legislation authorizing the grant.

A business’ receipt of CRF awards generally is not excluded from gross income and therefore taxable. As such, it appears the prime recipient has a reporting obligation if the amount is above $600 and paid to a noncorporation, such as a small business, nonprofit organization, and city or county government agency.

For further inquiry on this topic, please visit the IRS’ CARES Act frequently asked questions page.

 We recommend that all small businesses consult with a CPA/accountant or check out the IRS website for in depth questions about how this impacts their taxes.

PPP Updates: Feb 22, 2021

Delivering equitable relief to hard-hit small businesses is a top priority. On February 22, some critical reform was announced to build on the success of PPP. These changes are designed to improve equity and access to the smallest business owners, minority-owned businesses, and those located in underserved areas across America.

Employers with less than 20 employees are advised to take advantage of a 14 day exclusive application period starting Wednesday, February 24, 2021.

Small business have been the most vulnerable and severely impacted by the detrimental effects of Covid-19, causing a significant push for the improvement of PPP funding:

  • A 60% increase in funding for businesses with up to 10 employees 
  • Funding going to rural small business is up nearly 30%
  • Minority Depository Institutions and Community Development Financial Institutions share funding that is up more than 40%

The new changes focus the PPP loan formula on gross income which increases the eligibility and loan amount for smaller businesses, whereas, the size of the loan was previously based on annual profit that these companies reported on their taxes.

Since lending resumed last month, $134 billion has been disbursed to 1.8 billion businesses.

Additional Changes Include:

  • Revised loan calculation for sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals to receive more financial support.
  • Elimination of exclusionary restrictions preventing applicants with prior non-fraud felony convictions from accessing funds.
  • Elimination of exclusionary restrictions preventing applicants who are delinquent on their federal student loans from accessing funds.
  • Ensure access for non-citizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents by clarifying that they may use Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) to apply for relief.

The Time is Now! Only employers with less than 20 employees can apply for PPP for the next 14 days.  We recognize that 98% of businesses have less than 20 employees and are at the forefront of our communities and families.  Help is here.  Prioritize your business – Apply Now.