Small Business Growth Initiative - For Funders

LCCF is concentrating on the growth of our local communities and building strong economies for the future through our Small Business Growth Initiative (SBGI), which collaboratively supports small businesses in historically disinvested communities. This program concentrates on Waukegan with plans to expand to other communities.

At LCCF, we believe now is the time to collectively invest in communities that have long been ignored and discounted by larger systems. We know that by investing in small businesses in historically disinvested communities, we are generating wealth for generations to come and creating access and opportunities for communities to thrive.

LCCF is working with partners to build this comprehensive program that will ultimately result in a network of support for small businesses owned by people of color.

How It Works:

We take a data-driven approach to working alongside small business owners to help them meet their specific growth goals while enriching the surrounding economic and social landscape.

  1. Small business application process
  2. One-year grant up to $30,000 from LCCF
  3. Wrap-around resources, referrals and technical assistance based on desired growth areas
  4. Educational workshops and peer-to-peer cohorts
  5. Collaboration for long-term, sustainable growth

Partners: (Pilot Partner) Drip & Culture, Waukegan; Allies for Community Business; College of Lake County’s Small Business Development & International Trade Center; Lake County Partners, City of Waukegan


  • Create pipelines of entrepreneurship in historically disinvested communities.
  • Increase economic development and community engagement within priority ZIP codes.

  • Foster a more equitable environment for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

  • Provide collaborative space for peer learning networks for small business owners.

  • Encourage participant businesses’ viability and sustainability by taking an individualized approach to mentorship, technical assistance and financial support.

  • Create baseline data on small businesses in Lake County.

Why Should Your Company Invest?

  • Take concrete action to be a part of change for historically disinvested communities.
  • Gain name recognition with a unique program that has the power to create long-term equitable change at a macro, city level.
  • Have a small business grant named after your organization when you commit to $30,000 or more.
  • Gain a variety of marketing benefits as an official Corporate Partner of LCCF, a local leader in philanthropy, including:
    • Social media, website & e-newsletter publication.
    • Listing in the 2024 annual Report to the Community.
    • Multiple press releases in local and national news outlets.

Thank you to our 2023 SBGI Funding Partners!




Donate Today

Donations may be made:

  • By Credit Card.
    To make a credit card contribution online click here
  • By Check.
    Please make your check payable to: "The Lake County Community Foundation" and reference “Small Business Growth Initiative” in the memo line.

    Mail your check to
    1200 University Center Drive, Suite 333
    Grayslake, IL 60030

  • By Other.
    Please contact Wendy Richter, Director of Donor Services & Operations, at [email protected] to request the Foundation’s gift instructions should you wish to make a wire transfer or gift of stock.

SBGI Task Force

  • Adam Carson, Drip & Culture Co.
  • Brad McConnell, Allies for Community Business
  • Courtney Combs, LCCF
  • Topiltzin Gomez, Honeycomb Credit
  • Adriana Gonzalez
  • Thomas Maillard

LCCF Small Business Growth Initiative Impact Analysis on our Pilot Program can be found here. For more information, please reach out to our Director of Strategy & Community Impact, Courtney Combs, at [email protected]

Small Business Newsletter