In 1905, Moody Bible Church started a rescue mission, known as Moody Mission. Within a few years, this inner city ministry became known as Sunshine Gospel Mission, which later became Sunshine Gospel Ministries. Sunshine operated within the Cabrini-Green housing project for 30 years as a youth-centered mission, providing academic, sports, and mentoring programs. Due to extensive redevelopment in Cabrini-Green, many families were relocated to neighborhoods across Chicago’s south side. Among these was Woodlawn, a community adjacent to the University of Chicago. Sunshine moved its operations to Woodlawn in 2001, while the organization underwent a change in leadership and began to broaden the vision beyond youth to address the problem of joblessness.
In 2005, Sunshine began a new chapter in its 100-year existence. In the midst of a section of 61st street stood a building that had once housed a half-dozen retail storefronts, but had lain dormant and neglected for decades. Sunshine acquired the building and began conducting new youth programs, as well as opening a Community Technology Center to provide computer access and technology training. In addition, Sunshine worked with the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) to train young people in business management. While the training was valuable, after 5 years it became evident what was needed was a more practical approach to job creation and community restoration.
Sunshine Enterprises (SE) launched in 2012 to begin the work of training and equipping neighborhood-based entrepreneurs in business management and development. In line with the vision to help seek community renewal, the mission of SE is to start and grow 200 businesses in Woodlawn and expand throughout the south and west sides of Chicago. Sunshine recognizes entrepreneurship as a key pathway to economic growth. We support this growth through training and coaching individuals for success in business, as well as cultivating city blocks as vibrant places to live, work, and play.