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Neighborhood Opportunity Fund (NOF) Grant

Grants to Illinois Businesses, Nonprofits, and Property Owners
for Community Development Activities in Eligible Regions

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City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development

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Grants to Illinois businesses, nonprofit organizations, and property owners in eligible locations for community development activities. Funding is intended to benefit underserved neighborhoods. Grant funds may be used for the construction or rehabilitation of real estate, as well as projects that support new or expanding businesses or cultural assets. The Neighborhood Opportunity Fund finances projects in commercial corridors across Chicago's South, Southwest, and West Sides.

The Neighborhood Opportunity Fund (NOF) awards grants to projects that have a catalytic impact on the neighborhood and lead to the construction or rehabilitation of new and existing, publicly accessible, commercial spaces (e.g. grocery stores, retail establishments, or restaurants) or cultural establishments. 

Grant funds can be used to reimburse the following costs associated with the construction or rehabilitation of buildings:

  • Land acquisition and assembly
  • Building acquisition, demolition and environmental remediation
  • Security measures
  • Roofing, façade repair and mechanical system repairs
  • Architectural and engineering fees
  • Financing fees (related to securing a loan or other capital)
  • Minor site improvements, such as fencing or planters, when a part of an eligible project
  • Other soft costs associated with eligible hard costs

NOF offers two types of grants:

  • Small Projects - NOF Small Projects must be located in an Eligible Commercial Corridor, which are public streets that are generally zoned for retail or commercial uses. Projects are required in these locations so that they can be concentrated to create a larger, collective impact. Projects may also be located within a Priority Investment Corridor, which is similar to an Eligible Commercial Corridor, but has a greater amount of retail or commercial activity
  • Large Projects - NOF Large Projects do not have to be located in an Eligible Commercial Corridor, but must be located within the Qualified Investment Area (QIA). 

NOF aims to develop sustainable neighborhood growth by building community-based wealth. Supporting locally-based business and property owners will ensure that investments in the neighborhoods remain in those neighborhoods, helping to catalyze new businesses and new employment opportunities. The Build Community Wealth Bonuses provide eligible projects with additional funds, to advance this goal. If eligible, projects may receive either or both Build Community Wealth Bonuses.

In addition to grant funds, NOF also has technical assistance service providers to help grantees get their projects across the finish line:

  • Architects
  • Construction Managers
  • Financial Consultants/Lending Coaches

Up to 95% of the cost of hiring these TAs can be included in the calculation of the grant award.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 185158

Estimated Size of Grant:

NOF offers two types of grants: Small Projects (assistance of $250,000 or less), and Large Projects (assistance of $250,001 - $2.5M). The NOF assistance available to your project depends on its location and the amount of financial assistance being requested.

Term of Contract:

Small Grants: Grantees are expected to complete their projects within 2 years

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Business and property owners may apply for grant funding:
- Commercial Property Owners with known business uses (no speculative/vanilla box projects)
- Commercial Business Tenants (with landlord approval)
- Non-Profit organizations providing a revenue generating commercial activity to the public

Mixed-use properties are eligible for NOF assistance only for the commercial spaces.

Non-profit organizations are eligible for the NOF grant, but they must be engaged in a retail or commercial activity or providing a cultural asset that is open to the public.

Not funded:
- Residential properties including home-based businesses and live/work spaces
- Manufacturing or industrial businesses or properties
- Social services organizations including workforce development, schools and daycare centers
- Churches and places of worship

NOF does not award grants for the construction or rehabilitation of residential uses, manufacturing uses, industrial uses, social services (including daycare and elder care), or places of worship that do not identify commercial as the primary use of a project.

Any build-out or improvement of residential spaces is considered an ineligible project cost.

Grant funds cannot be used to reimburse the following costs associated with the construction or rehabilitation of buildings:
- Residential dwelling units or the residential portion of a mixed-use building
- Minor repairs and improvements, such as painting
- Repairs or improvements that are required to bring a building into compliance with the City of Chicago’s Building Code
- Support programs or services
- Operating expenses
- Travel expenses or any lodging/hotel expenses
- Applicants cannot be reimbursed for any work completed on their project prior to receiving a conditional award letter, nor can grants be retroactively awarded for projects completed outside of the formal grant process.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Upcoming Information Sessions:

NOF Info Sessions: English

10:30 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 12 | Register on Zoom: or Live Stream on YouTube:

10:30 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 17 | Register on Zoom: or Live Stream on YouTube:

Pre-Application Information:

The full application for NOF will be open on Monday, August 16th.

The window for full applications will close on Friday, September 24th.

NOF Large Grant applications are currently being accepted until September 24, 2021. Both the NOF Large Grant Application and Developer Input Form must be submitted to be considered for an NOF Large Grant. Submit the NOF Large Grant Application via the 'submit' button in the application, in Supporting Documents, below.

The selection process will take approximately two to three months from the application deadline.

NOF is a funding partnership, which means that the City provides a grant of funds for a percentage of the total project costs, and the applicant provides the remaining funds to reach 100% of total project costs. For more information, see the guidelines at the link below.

Previously Recorded Information Sessions:
March 5, 2021 (English):
March 8, 2021 (English):
March 15, 2021 (English):

Additional Information:

Applicant Support Information:

For additional relevant links, see URL for Full Text (RFP).

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Please start your application for NOF Small Grants here.
- English:
- Español:

If you project is determined to be eligible, you will automatically be directed to complete the Project Readiness Quiz. Applicants who demonstrate readiness are provided with a unique application code which is needed to apply.

Applicants are encouraged to contact NOF with questions about Large Projects in advance of submitting an application.

Email completed Developer Input form to: with the subject line: [Applicant Contact Name] Developer Input Form.

For questions about the NOF Large Grants program, please email the email address, above.

For questions about the NOF Small Grants program, please email

Department of Planning and Development
City of Chicago – City Hall
121 N. La Salle Street, 10th FL
Chicago, IL 60602

URL for Full Text (RFP):

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