Who We Are

Investing in Chicago’s Low-Income Communities

Founded in July 2005 by the City of Chicago, the Chicago Development Fund (CDF) is a non-profit corporation that provides capital to qualifying projects and businesses in low-income areas of Chicago through the use of New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs). CDF has been awarded $356 million in NMTCs by the United States Department of the Treasury in six allocations starting in 2006.

The activities of the Chicago Development Fund are managed and directed by a two-board structure – a Board of Directors and an Advisory Board. The boards meet on a quarterly frequency. Day-to-day operations at CDF are managed by City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD) staff with operational support from SB Friedman Development Advisors, an independent consultant.

Board of Directors

CDF is governed by a Board of Directors, which is chaired by the Commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development. It is responsible for managing the overall business and affairs of the corporation. All sitting members are City of Chicago officials.

Advisory Board

The CDF Advisory Board ensures that CDF maintains its commitment to low-income communities, consistent with CDF’s core mission and NMTC program regulations. The Board’s members are appointed by the Mayor and approved by the City Council.

Eleanor Gorski – Chair
Eleanor Gorski is Acting Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development (DPD). In that role, Gorski leads the department’s economic development, zoning, and planning bureaus while fostering community-improvement projects and initiatives throughout the city. She also serves on the Chicago Plan Commission, Community Development Commission and the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.

Jennie Huang Bennett
Jennie Bennett serves as the City’s Chief Financial Officer. She previously served as the Chief Financial Officer for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and has extensive experience in managing financial turnarounds, driving cost efficiencies, managing large complex capital structures, developing governmental budgets, finding paths toward financial sustainability, and generating revenues through creative solutions.  She helped lead CPS through significant financial difficulties, which have now been relieved through new, fairer educational funding.

Melissa Conyears-Ervin
Melissa Conyears-Ervin is the City Treasurer. She is the custodian and manager of all cash and investments for the City of Chicago, the four City employee pension funds and the Chicago Teacher’s Pension. In addition, her office manages a number of programs that promote economic development, financial education, and small business growth in Chicago.

Alderman Pat Dowell
Pat Dowell is the alderman of the 3rd ward, which covers parts of the Near South Side, Hyde Park, Bronzeville, Fuller Park and Grand Boulevard. She serves as Chair of the Committee on the Budget and Government Operations of the City Council.

Susie Park
Susie Park was appointed Budget Director by Mayor Lori Lightfoot and confirmed by the City Council on June 12, 2019. Park oversees a $10.7 billion annual budget, which includes the City’s general operating fund, special revenue funds, enterprise funds and more than $1.8 billion in grant funding. Prior to this role, she served as the Deputy Chief for the Chicago Police Department’s Bureau of Organizational Development.

Alderman Gilbert Villegas
Gilbert Villegas is the alderman for Chicago’s 36th Ward which is located on the City’s Northwest Side encompassing the neighborhoods of Belmont Cragin, Dunning – Schorsch Village, Hermosa, Montclare, and Portage Park. He serves as the Chair of the Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development of the City Council.

Alderman Scott Waguespack
Scott Waguespack is the alderman of Chicago’s 32nd Ward which includes parts of the Bucktown, Logan Square, Wicker Park, Hamlin Park, Roscoe Village, South Lakeview, and Lincoln Park neighborhoods. He serves as the Chair of the Committee on Finance.

Rafael Leon – Chair
Rafael Leon serves as the Executive Director of the Chicago Metropolitan Housing Development Corporation (CMHDC), a nonprofit organization that develops, redevelops, owns, and manages affordable rental properties throughout the City of Chicago. He sits on the board of the Chicago Community Loan Fund and is a fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago.

Craig Chico
Craig Chico is the President & CEO of the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council. The Council was established in 1939 and operates by its motto, “We the people will work out our own destiny.” With the assistance of the Board of Directors, Craig Chico has made the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council a dominant community agency in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, as well as a model community organization for the entire nation. One of the BYNC’s largest responsibilities is acting as Service Provider Agency to four Special Service Areas: most notably SSA #10 (Back of the Yards) and SSA #13 (Stockyards Industrial Park).

Edward Coleman
Ed Coleman leads Bethel New Life, a notable nonprofit organization that has served Chicago’s West Side communities since 1979. In this role, Ed is driving Bethel toward establishing and implementing initiatives focused on transforming Chicago’s West Side communities into attractive places to live, work, and play. The implementation of Bethel’s mission is based on a combination of job and income creation (business development) and high-demand career preparation and fulfillment (workforce development).

Jaime DiPaulo
Jaime di Paulo is President & CEO of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC), the leading Hispanic business networking, advocacy and development organization in the Midwest. IHCC is committed to helping entrepreneurs grow by equipping them with the tools and resources they need to be competitive in today’s economy.

Eleanor Gorski
Eleanor Gorski is Acting Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development (DPD). In that role, Gorski leads the department’s economic development, zoning, and planning bureaus while fostering community-improvement projects and initiatives throughout the city. She also serves on the Chicago Plan Commission, Community Development Commission and the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.

Angela Hurlock
Angela Hurlock is the executive director of Claretian Associates, an organization whose mission is to build community in South Chicago by providing affordable housing and related services targeting people making less than 50% of the Area Median Income.

Maxine Mitchell
Maxine Mitchell is the founder and president of Applied Real Estate Analysis, Inc. (AREA), a multidisciplinary real estate consulting firm offering services in community revitalization and housing program research.

Carlos Nelson
Carlos Nelson has been the Executive Director of the Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation since 2003 after working as a mechanical engineer in corporate America for many years. Since taking over the GAGDC, the organization has grown from a staff of one to twenty-four full-time and part-time staffers. The GAGDC works to foster and promote revitalization of the low-to-moderate income communities that we serve using comprehensive community development strategies. Since 2001, the GAGDC has worked in all, or parts of, Ashburn, Auburn Gresham, Englewood, Greater Grand Crossing, Washington Heights, West Englewood, and West Chatham.

Reverend Richard Tolliver
Reverend Richard Tolliver is the rector of St. Edmund’s Episcopal Church, located in the Washington Park neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. He joined the parish in 1989, and under his leadership the St. Edmund’s Redevelopment Corporation (SERC) was launched the next year. As the lead agency for the New Communities Program in Washington Park, SERC works towards developing quality affordable housing and community revitalization opportunities in the area.