Cook County on a Mission

Making the most of major place-based institutions

Tap the buying power of universities, museums and other place -based anchors, turning them into customers of social enterprises run by the unemployed and underemployed. One example: working with the Illinois Medical District to develop mission-driven healthcare businesses.

Addressing food deserts

The plan is to help residents in areas that lack affordable–or any–supermarkets to build neighborhood grocery stores.

Revitalizing the Port of Chicago

The Commission wants to work with such government units as the Illinois International Port District to revitalize the Port, largely through a combination of impact investment and philanthropy.

Redeveloping blighted areas

By partnering with the Cook County Land Bank Authority, the goal is to help entrepreneurs redevelop abandoned, vacant or foreclosed properties, rebuilding neighborhoods while creating  opportunities for businesses.

Cook County on a Mission

The Commission makes actionable policy recommendations to the Cook County Board and the County’s agencies and departments to create, scale, sustain and fund novel solutions to social problems.

“We’re marrying the social mission of a government program with the market-driven approach of business,” says Marc J. Lane, vice chair of the Commission and a Chicago-based lawyer and financial advisor. “It’s all about engaging businesses to pursue market-driven strategies that have a financial and social return.”

  • Unemployment Rate 10%
  • Lives at less than 20% of the federal poverty level 50%
  • Adults over 25 without a high school diploma 6%
  • Population Change 85%

Jesus “Chuy” Garcia

Chair of the Cook County Commission on Social Innovation

Jesus “Chuy” Garcia is a member of the Cook County Board of Commissioners and Chair of the Cook County Commission on Social Innovation.

Marc J. Lane

Vice chair of the Cook County Commission on Social Innovation

Marc J. Lane, Vice Chair of the Cook County Commission on Social Innovation, is a business and tax attorney and financial advisor whose clients are stakeholders in the evolving Social Impact Ecosystem. Marc is the author of The Mission-Driven Venture. Mlane@marcjlane.com.