OpenCHICAGO – The state released $46 million in Business Interruption Grants to more than 2,500 local businesses in the first round of the program, which is intended to help businesses hit especially hard by pandemic-related closures and restrictions. State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) is urging more business owners to apply for the next round.

“I was happy to see more than 50% of this round of grants go to businesses owned by people of color in particularly hard hit areas,” Villanueva said. “These grants will go a long way to help businesses struggling from the COVID-19 outbreak, especially for the many business owners who couldn’t qualify for federal aid in communities like the one I represent.”

In the 11th Senate District, 42 businesses received $770,000 in aid. First round BIG grants range from $10,000 to $20,000 and will be used to help businesses cover payroll costs, rent and utilities. The funds may also be used to cover pandemic-related expenses, such as masks and other protective equipment, training, and new technology. Recipients were selected via a random lottery.

Before the next round of grants, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is providing technical assistance to support entrepreneurs who need help applying, especially in communities of colors. They will work through community partners, including the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, The Resurrection Project, and the Chicago Urban League.

“We all know the truth is the pandemic has hit Latinx and Black communities especially hard, especially in the city,” Villanueva said. “Businesses in our communities often have less resources and less experience navigating government programs. I urge local businesses who need help to work with these community navigators to apply for the next round of grants.”

DCEO expects to launch the next round of applications soon.

Category: News

essential employeeCHICAGO – State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) celebrated as legislation that will protect essential workers, increase first-responder benefits and expand collective bargaining rights was signed into law.

“First-responders and essential workers have put their lives on the line for us every day,” Villanueva said. “They deserve a dignified workplace where they can be free from harassment and negotiate fair wages.”

Read more: Villanueva: Essential workers, first-responders deserve a dignified workplace

Category: News

C-SYEPCHICAGO – To help young adults find employment during the pandemic, State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) is encouraging them to seek opportunities from organizations funded through the Illinois Department of Human Services’ COVID-19 Summer Youth Employment Program.

“Young adults from low-income families often contribute to their household income,” Villanueva said. “Paid career development opportunities like this will allow them to improve their professional skills while still helping at home.”

Read more: Villanueva: Paid career development opportunity available to young adults

Category: News

Farragut Career Academy High SchoolCHICAGO – To bring more students into the education field, State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) announced that Farragut Career Academy High School will receive state funding to develop teaching programs.

“Students deserve teachers and role models that have shared lived experiences,” Villanueva said. “Bolstering Farragut Academy’s teaching program will prepare young people in Little Village for a career that will make a lasting impact on their community.”

The Illinois State Board of Education awarded the City of Chicago Public Schools Education for Employment system a $237,000 grant that will be distributed between four high schools to develop Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs focused on careers in education, including Farragut Career Academy High School.

Read more: Farragut Career Academy receives grant for teaching program

Category: News

COVID19 Resources

Follow Sen. Celina


Newsletter Sign-up
  1. First Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  2. Last Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  3. Your Email(*)
    Please let us know your email address.

Office Info

Springfield Office:
Senator 11th District
623 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706

District Office:
2501 S. Central Park Ave.
Chicago, IL 60623