In 2013, the Chicago-based William G. McGowan Charitable Fund reported over $146 million in assets and has a three-pronged approach to regionally specific philanthropy. This funder has been on the philanthropy scene since 1992 and awards $7 million to $8 million in grants annually. These are the top three things that grantseekers should know about this family foundation.
Top Issues: Vulnerable Communities, Education, Health and Medical Research
The McGowan Charitable Fund has three grantmaking program areas: vulnerable communities, education, and health and medical research. Community grants are awarded to nonprofits working for the elderly, victims of abuse, the disabled, and people who suffer from hunger, homelessness, unemployment and illness. McGowan places a special emphasis on homelessness and has a special initiative for programs that include job training, job placement, and retention.
McGowan’s education program supports Pre-K through grade 12 programs that use creativity to address challenges in the education system. The fund looks for programs that improve graduation rates and that reach underachieving populations. Because William McGowan suffered from a cardiac condition that led to his death in 1992, all healthcare and medical research initiatives are focused on heart disease prevention and research.
Chicago is One of Six Geographical Focuses
Although McGowan is based in Chicago, the city is just one of six geographical focus area that McGowan chooses to support. In the Chicago area, McGowan focuses on the neighborhoods of Austin and North Lawndale and the suburb of Aurora.
Branching out a bit further, the fund supports programs that boost low-income and single-parent families in the Greater Denver area and in Greater Eagle County, Colorado. The focus here is on economic security and independence through pathways to employment. Additionally, McGowan supports nonprofits in and around Kansas City, Kansas, Reno, Nevada, Rochester, New York, and Lakawanna and Luzerne Counties in Pennsylvania.
Letters of Inquiry Accepted Three Times Per Year
Fortunately for grantseekers, McGowan is an accessible foundation and letters of inquiry are accepted via online application three times per year. Inquiries are due November 15, March 15, and July 15 each year and full applications are due January 2, May 1, and September 1.
Review the foundation’s Important Dates section to verify deadlines for first time applicants. Just keep in mind that McGowan doesn’t fund multi-year grants or step outside its established funding areas very often.
To learn more about McGowan’s local and national grantmaking, check out IP’s profile of the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund.