Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Governor helps ally showcase new incubator
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Governor helps ally showcase new incubator

Thursday, Sep 28, 2017

* I was reading some stories about Gov. Rauner’s visit to what’s being billed as a business incubator on Chicago’s South Side yesterday and kinda went down a rabbit hole for what seemed like forever.

Let’s start with CBS 2

Rev. Corey Brooks and Project HOOD have opened a new Woodlawn community center focused on helping people get ahead financially.

In donated space at a shuttered Walgreens store at 63rd and King Drive, Brooks unveiled the Project HOOD Leadership and Economic Opportunity Center.

The facility essentially is a South Side business incubator. Brooks said it was created without government funds, but Gov. Bruce Rauner was on hand to help cut the ribbon on Wednesday, and he applauded the private donors who helped fund the center. […]

The governor said the state will help with job-training grants for some of the Project HOOD partners.

“Where the government has played a role, and always does; part of the charter of our Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is to provide grant money for job training, especially for skilled trades, like construction, etc. That’s going on here, and some of the private businesses that are doing the job training also received some Department of Commerce resources,” he said.

So, it’s privately funded, but it’ll have government money. As the governor says, that’s how these things tend to work. But this caught my eye yesterday…

Also, Brooks endorsed Gov. Rauner in 2014, which isn’t mentioned in the piece.

* But the political connections were right up front in the Sun-Times story written before the event

Politically connected South Side pastor Corey Brooks this week opens a new training center in a beleaguered area of rising Woodlawn, which will be housed in a shuttered Walgreens at 63rd and King Drive that has been donated to his nonprofit.

If his political connections help his new incubator succeed, then fine. Jobs and businesses are in extremely short supply in that part of the city.

* But about that building. It wasn’t actually donated. The remaining lease was donated

When Walgreens closed the store in summer 2016 as part of a downsizing that closed stores across the country, Brooks was able to get Walgreens to donate the remaining four years of its lease on the building to him.

* This is all part of reviving Brooks’ long-term goal of opening a community center. Remember his “Walk Across America” in 2012? Back then, he wanted to raise $15 million for the community center, but he only raised about $500K. His new goal is far higher

Brooks’ Project HOOD on Wednesday opened the new center inside a shuttered Walgreens at 6330 S. Martin Luther King Drive, which is to be a stepping stone towards a larger goal of opening a permanent $23 million community center in Woodlawn. […]

Brooks has a four-year lease on the former Walgreens, which is supposed to be enough time to raise the $23 million necessary to build the new community center debt free. But Brooks admitted the conversion of the Walgreens has drained much of the nonprofit’s resources and it’s a long climb up to hit that fundraising goal. […]

Rauner said he had not personally contributed any funds to Project HOOD, but dropped $40 in a donation jar on his way out the door.

Way to go, Big Bucks Bruce!

* Since Brooks admitted that the incubator drained his group’s resources, I’m curious how far he really is away from meeting his fundraising goal

He declined to say how far he was toward raising the $23 million needed to build the center, but said he still expects to start construction in 2018 so the nonprofit can move in when its lease ends in the Walgreens space.

“Our goal is to pay cash for our facility so we’re not in any debt,” Brooks said.

The permanent center will be a major expansion for the nonprofit physically, with 60,000 square feet of new space, and Brooks said the programming will need to be ready to scale up quickly.

* But, for now, he has some lofty goals for the incubator

Project H.O.O.D. will house six components for innovation — construction certification and training, a business and entrepreneur hub, a Women’s Entrepreneur Center, youth mentoring, a media program and a trainee-run restaurant and café. Programs at the facility will range from carpentry to journalism to financial literacy. […]

The building has been completely renovated and provides a space where entrepreneurs and contractors can grow their businesses. Meetings can be held in colorful cubicles. Special rooms allow for training in construction and food management.

The biggest impact may be that big organizations and corporations will visit to let small business owners know how they can secure contracts and make money. For example, on Wednesday, representatives from the Illinois Tollway were at the center.

So, the Tollway was there, too?

* Back to the Sun-Times

He’ll be joined Wednesday by Rauner, who gave Brooks a post-election $31,426-a-year appointment with the Illinois Tollway board, good through May 2019.

* One more tidbit

Other identified donors include construction trades firms, a car dealership and Republican politician Jim Oberweis’ ice cream firm.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Grand Avenue - Thursday, Sep 28, 17 @ 11:40 am:

    Did they ever catch who broke into Pastor Brooks’ church to steal all the quarters and dimes right before the 2014 election?

  2. - Anonymous - Thursday, Sep 28, 17 @ 11:49 am:

    The gov’t funding issue is pretty simple, although no media there seemed interested in getting to the bottom of it.

    One of the skilled trades programs that was housed at the center did receive a DCEO grant. They graduated a few kids into jobs in the construction field earlier this year. Everything else was private $, including, you know, the actual incubator. Definitely not a “public-private partnership” on the whole.

  3. - Alternative Logic - Thursday, Sep 28, 17 @ 11:52 am:

    Hope it all works out.

    An alternative to a $23M center, I guess, could be a $2M center with a several million dollar investment in “proof of concept.”

  4. - @MisterJayEm - Thursday, Sep 28, 17 @ 11:54 am:

    “Rauner said he had not personally contributed any funds to Project HOOD, but dropped $40 in a donation jar on his way out the door.”

    Donate anonymously or donate an unknown amount.

    Unless you are donating a staggering amount, it’s always better for a politician to not be witnessed donating a known sum of money.

    – MrJM

  5. - Anon221 - Thursday, Sep 28, 17 @ 12:00 pm:

    I’ll bet Brooks is really betting on Rauner winning re-election. Would have loved to see Brooks’ face when Rauner dropped that $40. The community center and incubator is a very commendable goal as long as Brooks doesn’t use it for self-enrichment. When I see statements like this, I get a little leary…

    “Brooks said the home (Walgreens) will be temporary, and he expects the nonprofit will move out when its lease is up in 2020.” (From the dnainfo article above)

    Wonder how much it would cost to buy the Walgreens property as opposed to building a brand new center next to his church by tearing up a parking lot. It just feels like a “jump to the next money jar” kind of thing.

  6. - illini - Thursday, Sep 28, 17 @ 12:02 pm:

    I suppose that showcasing the opening of a center like this is newsworthy.

    Yet I am saddened with how unceremoniously many, if not most, of the Small Business Development Centers, Entrepreneurship Programs, remedial and directed training programs that used to be run through our Community Colleges have been forced to close because of the lack of a budget and state assistance. Thank you BVR.

  7. - walker - Thursday, Sep 28, 17 @ 12:06 pm:

    Mentoring youth, and training for construction jobs, are good things to do, but don’t sound like a small business “incubator.” The funding needed is from interested investors in good concepts and potential leaders. A venture capital commitment is much more important than donations for the center’s operating expenses. Best wishes.

  8. - Torda - Thursday, Sep 28, 17 @ 12:25 pm:

    This move has one purpose and one purpose only

    To facilitate Intersect Illinois getting

    501c3 status

    You see Intersect is stymied indeed arguably illegally doing business on behalf of the state without that
    Non for profit status 501c3
    You have to be focused on underserved or minority business communities to get that particular status
    They tried the government is cumbersome route
    And failed
    It’s why they starved and neglected DCEO
    Now they are trying this other route
    To status.
    Once they have it they know the Trump
    Admin will never check on it again
    And intersect illinois will be able
    To give in Foia deals to anyone
    With impunity
    That’s what this is about.

  9. - Albany Park Patriot - Thursday, Sep 28, 17 @ 1:00 pm:

    Isn’t this the same stuff that Rauner and the Illinois Policy “Institute” totally torched Pat Quinn for?

  10. - Lamont - Thursday, Sep 28, 17 @ 1:35 pm:

    Pastor Brooks—bought and paid for by Bruce Rauner BTIA.

  11. - Anonymous - Thursday, Sep 28, 17 @ 2:24 pm:

    Go for it Bruce, steer some big state $ to Pastor Brooks, I’m sure none of it will end up being misspent…

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Kinda sorta slightly good news for the state, not so much for the city, CPS and Cook
* Question of the day: Golden Horseshoe Awards
* Caption contest!
* Illinois lost 45,116 people in one year
* But his e-mails...
* The hollowing-out of state government
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...







Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller