Marshall Field’s Grandson Started a Foundation. Here’s What It Supports in Chicago.

Shopping enthusiasts, Chicago history buffs and pretty much anyone who grew up in Chicago are familiar with the name Marshall Fields. But did you know the legendary merchant’s grandson started a philanthropic foundation that’s still a big player on the Chicago philanthropic scene?

The Field Foundation has six giving areas and offers a wide range of support in the Chicago metropolitan area. These are some of the key things for local grantseekers to know about the Field Foundation and where its support is going these days.

Emphasis on Community Welfare Grants

In the most recent year's list of recent grants, published on the foundation’s website, community welfare projects came out on top. These grants were all in the $15,000 to $25,000 range; sample grantees include Housing Opportunities for Women, the Uhlich Children’s Advantage Network, and the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council. Health has probably been the next largest issue for this funder lately, based on grant numbers.

Field Foundation in the Community

The Field Foundation has been mentioned several times in news sources around town for its recent support in Chicago communities. Although unknown to many grantseekers who have only scratched the surface of funding opportunities from locally focused funders, Field has its hand in a lot of the action going on locally. 

General Operating v. Capital v. Program Support

This is a funder that supports both new and established organizations—“established” is defined as groups that have existed over five years. Preference is given to funding innovative approaches for addressing problem areas. However, it’s important to note that established organizations are only eligible for program support, not general operating support. Support of either kind typically doesn't sustain beyond three years.

Capital requests are considered for small, community-based agencies and capped at $50,000. Don’t bother asking for computer equipment funds, and only ask for this type of support after your total project is already at least 50 percent funded.

Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Populations

This is a funder with very broad interests, so unsurprisingly, a wide range of local groups contact Field each year for support. To stand out in the crowd, you’ll need to emphasize the socioeconomically disadvantaged populations as your target demographic and back up your claims with hard facts. This is especially important for the Field Foundation’s community welfare, culture, and education programs. Race and class discrimination are still big issues in Chicago, and this is the funder to approach for addressing these issues.

To learn more about this funder, check out IP’s full profile of the Field Foundation of Illinois.