When local residents and businesses thrive, their communities do too. As the largest employer and engine for economic development on the South Side of Chicago, the University of Chicago has a deep commitment to ensuring local communities benefit from its activities. Through the UChicago Local initiative, the Office of Civic Engagement marshals the resources of the University and Medical Center to positively impact the quality of life in the neighborhoods around the University. In partnership with local organizations, we support business and career growth for local residents, housing opportunity in our community and economic growth that benefits all residents.
Since its implementation in 2014, UChicago Local has worked with more than 300 South Side businesses to help grow their capacity and connect with opportunities at the University. Through these partnerships with community businesses, the University spends more than $25 million on goods and services from more 300 South Side companies. In addition, there are more than 1,300 community entrepreneurs belong to the Polsky Exchange, the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s 34,000 square foot coworking space and startup incubator.