Kim Close is executive director of the Foundation of Little Village (FLV). She founded the organization (formerly the Little Village Community Foundation) in 2018 to expand programmatic capacity for the Xquina Incubator. In her time at FLV, Kim has worked to increase resources and opportunities available to small businesses in Little Village.
Kim employs a holistic approach in her pursuit of economic development as a means to achieve greater equity. This approach combines direct investment in the community through the implementation of educational programs designed to create economic impact in Little Village.
She also manages the Fund for Equitable Business Growth Partnership grant, which provides a network of Spanish-language entrepreneurial resources in collaboration with 1871, Btec, FoodHe.ro, and FourStar Branding. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kim managed the Road to Recovery fund, which distributed $700,000 in micro-grants and technical assistance to small businesses in Little Village.
In her previous role as FLV’s director of programming, Kim oversaw the development and implementation of the Foundation’s signature Juntos professional training, which equips local entrepreneurs with the skills needed to achieve effective, sustainable business growth.
Kim currently serves on two committees tasked with selecting and installing a mural at the Manuel Perez, Jr. Memorial Plaza and a Learning Landscape educational art installation at a local laundromat on Little Village’s 26th Street commercial corridor. She also represents FLV on the Quality of Life Economic Development Committee, and Little Village business owners on the Small Business Advocacy Council. In 2019, she collaborated with the Chicago Central Area Committee to create a corridor revitalization initiative for Little Village. She also serves on the Richard J. Daley Advisory Board.
Prior to her work in Little Village, Kim owned a small business for ten years—an experience that taught her about the challenges and rewards of entrepreneurship. She previously traded foreign currencies and worked in sales.
Kim holds a degree in International Relations with a minor in Spanish from Austin College.
Lisandra is a Bilingual Latina with a lifelong passion for empowering women and minorities through inclusive entrepreneurship. She brings over ten years experience consulting and training business owners delivering a comprehensive spectrum of solutions from capacity building -- scaling businesses, to competing in the marketplace, and advocacy for equity and access for underserved entrepreneurs.
While serving as Director of the Women's Business Center (WBC) in Chicago, Lisandra spearheaded the Leadership Entrepreneurial Accelerated Development program (LEAD) and the Early Childhood Education Entrepreneurial Program developing bilingual curriculum, leading training, and facilitation of multi-week cohorts targeting start-up & established business owners.
As a result of her passion for social impact, Lisandra’s mission is driving diversity and inclusion as an advocate for black and brown founders.
Born and raised in the Little Village community, her passion for empowering others began in elementary when organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club of Chicago and After School Matters provided her the necessary resources to become the first in her family to graduate college. Completely humbled and appreciative of the support she received from her community, in 2016 Roxana earned her degree in Communications from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and began her career in the community relations & marketing fields. Now with more than 5 years of experience, Roxana continues to work with organizations that fundamentally change the lives of individuals throughout Cook County and beyond. In her spare time, Roxana serves as a youth mentor and enjoys spending time with animals, especially with her dog Rosy.