Residents of Cook County will soon be able to apply for a program that will send them $500 for two years. 

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Cook County commissioners announced on Sept. 14 that the application window for the Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot program will be open from Oct. 6 through Oct. 21. 

The program will send monthly payments to 3,250 residents in the county. Payments are expected to start in December. To apply or for more information, visit: 

“With a $42 million investment, this two-year pilot is the largest publicly-funded guaranteed income initiative in American history and will provide thousands of our residents with a stable economic foundation – many for the first time in their lives,” President Preckwinkle said. 

“Cook County is proud to be leading the way for government in the American guaranteed income movement,” she said. “With this historic investment, we aim to show the nation what guaranteed income at scale can achieve.”

The program is funded by the America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Preckwinkle said she and county leadership are committed to continuing the program after the completion of the pilot through a combination of county funds and philanthropic dollars. 

Cook County officials estimated that 36% of all county residents will eligible to apply for the pilot. Applicants must be at least 18 years old, a Cook County resident and have a household income at or below 250% of the federal poverty level, or about $58,00 for a three-person household. 


Small business grants

The Cook County Bureau of Economic Development announced on Sept. 29 the launch of the Source Grow Grant, a program that will award $71 million in grants to minority businesses. 

The program will provide $10,000 in grants along with one-on-one business advising to “historically excluded businesses — including those owned by entrepreneurs of color, women, veterans, LGBQT+ and persons with a disability — to close racial wealth and opportunity gaps,” county officials said. 

The grants will prioritize businesses in sectors that were heavily affected by COVID-19, including food services, hospitality, arts and entertainment, and childcare, among others. 

To apply for a Source Grow Grant or for more information on the grant program, visit