Gateway to Learning is a non-profit serving adults with intellectual challenges and developmental disabilities in Chicago. Launched more than 40 years ago, their mission is to provide lifelong learning that promotes active inclusion at home, at work, and in the community.

After decades of serving Chicagoans, it became clear to the non-profit’s leadership that their building needed improvements to continue the mission. A top priority was the roof – which was beyond a quick fix. The sticker shock of a new roof lead them to apply for a SBIF grant. They were awarded funding to replace the roof system, from membrane to flashing and roof drains. 

The new roof allowed Gateway to Learning not only to keep their doors open, but to turn their eyes toward future expansion and programming.

“There would be no Gateway without a new roof,” said Director of Advancement, John Ratzenberger. “We are so thankful to the SBIF program and its commitment to community organizations.”

Learn more about Gateway and their mission at



The City of Chicago’s Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) promotes economic development by providing small businesses with financial assistance for building improvement costs. SomerCor is the program administrator of the City’s Department of Planning and Development SBIF program. SBIF grants use local Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenue to reimburse you for the pre-approved repair or rehab of your business facilities or adjacent land acquisition. You must be located within a SBIF eligible TIF district. The maximum grant assistance for an industrial property is $150K; for a single-tenant commercial property the maximum is $100K; and for multi-tenant commercial property, it is $50K. Click here if you are interested in learning more about this program.