Community First October 2023 Newsletter

  • October 6, 2023

Path to Healing Extends Mental Healthcare Access to More Through Accelerate Grant

Melissa Gates founded Path to Healing in 2012 with a mission to provide competency, compassion, and acceptance to all who walk through her doors. Since opening, Path to Healing has become a beacon of hope in Dixon, Illinois, offering behavioral health and psychiatric services to children, adolescents, and adults.  

Common access barriers impacting rural communities presented challenges for Path to Healing and its patients, most notably, the distance patients had to travel to receive care. With the help of Sauk Valley Bank, Melissa applied for FHLBank Chicago’s Community First® Accelerate Grants for Small Business in 2022 and received $25,000 to support Path to Healing’s expansion. Through this grant, Melissa opened new offices in Byron, IL, and Rock Falls, IL, and hired additional therapists, updated software and technology, and provided training opportunities for staff.

Melissa and her team at Path to Healing are committed to meeting their communities’ needs and breaking down barriers to mental healthcare access. Watch the video below for Path to Healing’s story


FHLBank Chicago Increases Support for Diverse Developers Initiative

Diverse real estate developers are invaluable to the mission of building equitable, affordable housing. To grow the diverse developer talent pipeline in Illinois and Wisconsin, FHLBank Chicago has doubled its annual support to $2 million for the  Community First® Diverse Developer Initiative (Diverse Developer Initiative), bringing the total commitment to $4 million over three years.

“Through programs like the Diverse Developer Initiative, we can address the systemic barriers facing aspiring diverse developers and create a lasting, talent pipeline in real estate development,” said Katie Naftzger, SVP, Community Investment Officer, FHLBank Chicago.    

To view the full list of recipients, see what U.S Senators Tammy Duckworth and Tammy Baldwin and Rep. Gwen Moore had to say about the program, and learn about the affordable housing development efforts of 2022 recipient DL3 Realty Advisors, LLC (DL3), read more here.  

    Accelerate Grants for Small Business Funding Increased and Deadline Extended

    FHLBank Chicago is pleased to announce additional funding to offer more Community First® Accelerate Grants (Accelerate Grants) for Small Business. To meet increased market demand for small business support, we are making $7.5 million available in grant funding and have extended the application deadline to October 20, 2023. 

    FHLBank Chicago encourages all members to submit one grant application to receive up to $25,000 on behalf of eligible small businesses with which they have had a business relationship for at least 12 months. We plan to announce award recipients in mid-November.  Apply today.

    Share Your Community Impact Story

    Every day throughout communities in Illinois and Wisconsin, we make a positive and lasting impact together with our member financial institutions and partnering organizations. At FHLBank Chicago, we want to showcase our District's stories of innovation, adaptability, and resilience serving these communities. Stories like this may include:

    • Community partnership
    • Community development
    • Affordable housing support
    • Small business successes
    • Diversity, equity, and inclusion
    • Economic development in your communities

    Visit to find inspiration and to Tell Your Story.

    2023 Community Support Statements Due October 31, 2023

    FHLBank Chicago members are required to submit a Community Support Statement (CSS) to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) every two years to document their Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) performance and record of lending to first-time homebuyers. We recommend our members submit their CSS as soon as possible. Failure to submit will result in loss of access to FHLBank long-term credit and Community Investment products. All submissions must be complete by October 31, 2023.

    For additional resources, questions or to request a copy of a prior submission, reach out to


    Upcoming Events

    October 12 | Diverse Developers Conference 

    October 19 – 20 | Housing Action Illinois | Annual Housing  Matters Conference

    October 25 | South Suburban PADS | Pathways Home Annual Fundraising Event

    November 6 – 7 | WHEDA | 2023 WHEDA Conference – How Housing Happens

    November 8 | Wisconsin Council for Affordable & Rural Housing | Moving in the Right Direction

    Contact Us

    Please direct all media inquiries to:

    Casey Reidy 
    Director, Communications

    Heather Bockstruck
    Assistant Director, Communications