When Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed the State’s L3C bill into law late in 2009, the leadership of Social Enterprise Alliance’s new Chicago chapter - - SEA’s first chapter - - seized the opportunity to unite and energize the Chicago area’s leading nonprofits, entrepreneurs, socially conscious individuals, foundations, thought leaders and impact investors. The message couldn’t have been timelier: the Great Recession was already taking its tragic toll on the neediest among us, yet many of the State’s charities, suffering cuts in grants and subsidies, saw no obvious alternative but to curb services. Yet, social enterprise advocates knew that the Low-profit Limited Liability Company, a new business form intended to facilitate foundations’ program-related investments for charitable or educational purposes, might help rescue the social sector by empowering it to diversify revenue sources, tap into market efficiencies and achieve scale. So SEA-Chicago made it its mission to educate agents of change about the new opportunities social enterprises present. From that fortuitous beginning, the chapter continues to grow, inform and foster collaboration.
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