Industry - Lifestyle and Retail



"When I think of a legacy, I think of the essential impact it has on others. I have the ability to empower people by celebrating black culture and understanding the importance of black history. Growing up, my father was a small business owner, and my grandmother was a hairstylist working out of her home. I quickly learned that I could use my talents and creativity to have my own business. I like to think of my legacy as one that inspires others to cultivate their own success through entrepreneurship." -Eric Williams



Eric Williams is the founder and creative director of The Silver Room. As a social entrepreneur, Williams has successfully addressed the historic disenfranchisement in communities of color over the past 20 years by providing space, mentorship, and programming that responds to his core constituents' needs. In 2019, Eric Williams established The Silver Room Foundation. The Silver Room Foundation's mission is to create intentional art-centered experiences, spaces, events, and programming to increase the health, wellness, equity, and economic prosperity outcomes for communities of color on Chicago's south and west sides. Williams holds a degree in finance from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He was also a 2017-2018 Loeb Fellow at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design.



The Silver Room is a retail space, community events hub, and art gallery. The Silver Room's annual Sound System Block Party in Hyde Park, and Connect Art Festival in South Shore, have worked to successfully transform Chicago streets and empty lots into sites of celebration that strengthen communities of color and fuel economic growth. In 2018, Downtown Hyde Park dedicated its inaugural Economic Impact Award to the Sound System Block Party. In 2019, the event brought over 100 musical artists, 100+ small business owners, and more than 50,000 celebrants to the neighborhood, generating an estimated $2.3 million in economic impact for the Southside of Chicago in one day.