Inspired By Our Nonprofits in Chicago: Rogers Park Business Alliance

Topics: Nonprofit

Rogers Park is a thriving Chicago neighborhood 10 miles north of the city and home to a diverse community of over 56,000 people. Consisting of individuals from over different 70 nationalities, the area is full of ethnic restaurants, cafes and culture. Rogers Park is also home to Loyola University and over a mile of accessible public beaches and lakefront parks.

“Rogers Park is a very unique community. It’s very diverse. We’re one of the diverse communities in the city of Chicago, and it’s like a small town in a big city. Everybody knows everybody,” describes Sandi Price, executive director of Rogers Park Business Alliance (RPBA). “The people here are wonderful, really great. Small businesses are fabulous, extremely successful.” Small business is thriving in Rogers Park thanks to the help of small business alliances such as the RPBA.

Rogers Park Business Alliance: Helping Small Businesses Succeed

Rogers Park Business Alliance (RPBA), a 501c3 nonprofit organization established in 1993, focuses on small, independent businesses, including restaurants, retail stores, caterers and home-based businesses. The RPBA team works to implement innovative ways to increase commerce and assist local businesses through an array of programs and initiatives, including:
  • Business resources, outreach and support
  • Investment in small businesses in the community
  • Beautification and maintenance of the neighborhood
  • Events and promotions
  • Shop small campaigns
The organization’s mission is to cultivate and sustain a thriving economic environment in Rogers Park by serving businesses and residents. The organization, run by a small professional staff, is governed by a volunteer board of directors composed of local business owners, residents and other stakeholders.

Sandi Price has been working at RPBA for 17 years and has been the executive director of the organization for the past five years. She explained RPBA community outreach, “There are about 600 independent businesses in Rogers Park and we try to work with all of them. We’re membership-based, so they’re not all members, but we provide technical assistance to anyone who needs it, help with city services, that kind of stuff.” She went on to say, “I think one of the most important things that we do to help these businesses is help them with their marketing and promotion, which is one of the basic needs that none of them can afford.”

RPBA has a full-time staff of seven people as well as a couple of part-time workers. They also work with interns whenever possible. The board of directors is made up entirely of volunteers, the summer farmers market has its own volunteer council and there are various committees staffed by volunteers. Price shared, “We accept any volunteers that will volunteer for us. We couldn’t do it without our volunteers.”

Impact to Rogers Park Chicago Small Businesses

In 2018, RPBA sponsored 150 events with over 40,000 attendees, including entrepreneurial training, educational workshops, community events, business attraction and retention events, and business networking events. Plus, they invested in small businesses in the community by sharing nearly $320,000 in loans and improvement projects.

The organization produces other types of events in Rogers Park, ranging from summer farmer’s markets and quarterly networking lunch meetings to an annual restaurant crawl and “Small Business Saturday” events. Price was excited to share information about the newest community event that RPBA sponsored this past summer.

“In 2019, we started a chalk festival on Howard Street. It was the first-ever chalk festival in the city of Chicago and it was extremely successful. We had 3D chalk artists who came out and did their magic on the street,” she said.

Inspired by the Relationship Between Agents and Their Insureds

The nonprofit sector is a large and diverse one. AmTrust Financial understands that agents succeed when they have the flexibility to meet the specific needs and expectations that each organization has with customizable nonprofit insurance. Our agents understand the differences in the nonprofit world and work with their clients to protect their businesses.

Price points out the importance of having an agent that understands the nonprofit world, “We’ve been working with AmTrust for a couple of years now, and I think that as a non-profit organization, our insurance needs are very unique. We started working with S.Wolf and Associates a couple of years ago. I didn’t know there was an insurance broker who only worked with nonprofit organizations, and because they only work with nonprofit organizations, they know everything that there is to know about nonprofit organizations, which is wonderful.”

AmTrust Offers Nonprofit Insurance Coverages

AmTrust helps protect the dreams of nonprofits, allowing organization directors to continue focusing on other concerns such as fundraising and community events. Our nonprofit insurance coverages are created with our client’s specific exposures in mind. In addition to our workers’ compensation coverage, we offer property insurance and a management liability product that encompasses director and officer liability, fiduciary, cyber and employment practices liability.

 For more information about our nonprofit insurance solutions or becoming an appointed agent, please contact us today.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.


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