Bernard Loyd '85, PhD '89, MS '90
After earning undergraduate and graduate degrees from MIT in aeronautics and astronautics, he returned for a master’s degree from the MIT Sloan School of Management before moving into management consulting. “As a consultant at McKinsey and Company, I worked hard for my clients, as well as on numerous company-sponsored initiatives,” he says, “but after over a dozen years with the firm, I decided to focus on the challenges in my own backyard.”
Loyd is now founder and president of Urban Juncture, a social enterprise he started in 2003 to develop commercial real estate and related enterprises that concentrate on the needs of underserved communities in Chicago. With its Build Bronzeville project, he and his team have identified initiatives that build on local culture and community and encourage the development of small businesses, with the aim of a holistic and long-term community renaissance.
One of these, Bronzeville Cookin’, is an emerging dining destination celebrating the cuisines and cultures of the African diaspora (with one restaurant and an incubator space in operation so far). “Good food is the heart of any community, and from a business point of view, restaurants are labor intensive. That translates to local jobs,” says Loyd. Although the neighborhood is 15–20 minutes from downtown Chicago, Bronzeville has few large grocery stores stocked with abundant fresh produce. But each new restaurant moving into the area has access to a wide variety of seasonal produce from a rooftop farm and nearby community garden, as do residents during market day in Boxville—another of Urban Juncture’s initiatives.
Boxville is a neighborhood marketplace consisting of bright, colorful repurposed shipping containers where small businesses can ply their wares. A popular outdoor gathering place since 2017, it continues to bring locals together during the Covid-19 pandemic—albeit in an altered way: “Because of Covid, instead of our weekly Boxville market, where the objective was to pack in as many people as possible, we’ve moved to a socially distanced ‘Boxville Community Day’ where we share resources with neighbors, and we’ve instituted socially distanced ‘Boxville Fitness Saturdays,’” Loyd says.