CHICAGO — My Block, My Hood, My City founder Jahmal Cole says while he was joining peaceful protests in Chicago following the death of George Floyd, he witnessed the heartbreaking scene as some needlessly destroyed property and looted local businesses.
“In Chatham, where I live, they turned it essentially into a food desert,” Cole said. “Especially when you’re busting up businesses in your own neighborhood, these are the same businesses that donate water to high schools that don’t have no air-conditioning. These are the same businesses that pay for newsletters for local block clubs.”
So Cole decided to do something, and put out a call for donations through his website at formyblock.org. And the response took his breath away.
“Our average donation was $69; Everyday Chicagoans wanting to help out somebody in the neighborhood, wanting to get involved I don’t know how,” Cole said.
After bringing in $1 million worth of donations, Cole is teaming up with the Southeast Chamber of Commerce to help hundreds of struggling businesses who are already applying for up to $7500 in grant money.
The eligibility requirements are that the business must be within Chicago city limits, employ 20 or fewer full-time employees when at full capacity, and bring in annual revenues up to $2 million.