Community Builder Tackles Chicago’s South Side Using Crowdfunding
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Bernard Loyd, an MIT-educated activist born on Chicago’s West Side and raised in Liberia, has returned to Chicago to lead the rebuilding of a historically black community.
“Despite being the historic center of Black Chicago, a former cultural and commercial hub of Black America, and located only minutes from downtown Chicago and Lake Michigan, Bronzeville is one of the most economically-challenged communities in the United States and a food and jobs ‘desert,'” Bernard says.
With that as motivation, Bernard and his company, Urban Juncture, is out doing something about the problems he sees.
He says, “We are developing a culinary district celebrating unique Black cuisine from around the world in order to provide delicious food for residents, a one-of-a-kind dining destination for visitors, a significant number of locally accessible jobs, and wealth creation opportunities for restaurateurs and investors. We’ve also started development of a companion cultural district highlighting Bronzeville performance arts and hospitality.”
Rebuilding won’t be easy. Money is the biggest constraint on success, he says. “Accessing the capital needed to build culinary enterprises is our most difficult challenge.”
Bernard is raising $100,000 using crowdfunding site Wefunder today. Readers can learn more about the offering here.
The shortage of cash is a result of a complex variety of factors. “Our community was redlined for decades, starting with the federal government, and the after effects of this redlining, along with bad municipal policy, and unintended byproducts of civil rights have created a tremendous resource crunch in Bronzeville and similar communities,” Bernard says.
He acknowledges that the community’s problems go deeper and reach further than his program can solve, but he sees Urban Juncture as a part of a solution that will bring jobs and prosperity back to the neighborhood.
He says, “Gun violence is the single biggest problem that ails Chicago and, while our projects are having positive impact on our community, we need a much broader effort to create the volume of jobs, social connections, and sense of hope needed to eliminate the key root causes of violence.”
Bernard is looking beyond Chicago’s South Side. “We are creating a cuisine-based model for community revitalization that, with the appropriate tailoring and adaptation, can be applied to thousands of urban neighborhoods that lack good food, accessible jobs, and social capital.”
On Thursday, July 14, 2016 at noon Eastern, Bernard will join me here for a live discussion about his efforts to rebuild the South Side of Chicago and his crowdfunding campaign. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
Bernard Loyd, courtesy of Urban Juncture
More about Urban Juncture:
Urban Juncture, Inc. is a for-profit social enterprise focused on leveraging the unique cultural assets and underutilized talent of economically-challenged neighborhoods to catalyze revitalization. Urban Juncture, Inc. works closely with Urban Juncture Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit with the same goal.
A native of Chicago’s West Side, Bernard was raised primarily in Liberia, West Africa. He received undergraduate and graduate degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, including a doctorate in computational fluid dynamics and a masters of science in business.
Between 1990 and 2003, as an associate and partner of the management consulting firm of McKinsey & Company, Bernard helped senior corporate leaders around the world expand existing businesses, create new businesses, and improve operations. Bernard’s contributions at McKinsey include co-founding its global Agriculture and Food Chains initiative and leading world-wide client development and service in that arena. He also co-founded and led the firm-wide Black Client Service Staff initiative, which catalyzed substantial increases in the number of Black associates and partners.
Bernard created Urban Juncture, Inc., a community development firm and Urban Juncture Foundation to act as catalysts for the economic revitalization of urban communities and the empowerment of residents through the development of business and social ventures, provision of amenities, and creation of jobs.
He and his family reside in Chicago’s Bronzeville community.
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Devin is a journalist, author and speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!
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