Much of the philanthropy action in the Great Lakes region is centered in Chicago, but plenty of grantmaking is also happening in Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Funders across these states are engaged in a wide range of initiatives, with money flowing for the arts, education, human services, health, parks, youth, and more. All the profiles of funders and program officers in the guide are updated regularly. Only paid subscribers can access these resources (subscribe here).
The G.A. Ackermann Memorial Fund supports health, human services, and religion-related causes in Chicago and New York City.
Alphawood funds causes for advocacy, architecture and preservation, the arts and arts education, promotion and protection of the rights of LGBT citizens and people living with HIV/AIDS, and other human and civil rights.
This funder focuses most grantmaking on preserving the world’s oceans, but also on performing arts and social causes in the Chicago area. There are two annual grant cycles.
The Lester and Edward Anixter Family Foundation funds grantmaking related to health, Jewish causes, education, youth, the arts, and human services.
Baskes' Chicago grantmaking strongly focuses on arts and culture, particularly supporting theater and opera.
The Carol Lavin Bernick Family Foundation’s grantmaking invests in health and education, among others.
The Alfred Bersted Foundation supports education, health, and human services in the Illinois counties of DuPage, Kane, McHenry, and DeKalb.
The Grace Bersted Foundation supports education, health, and human services in DuPage, Kane, Lake, and McHenry counties in Illinois
The philanthropic vehicle of real estate billionaire Neil Bluhm is mainly focused in Chicago, supporting education, arts and culture, and Jewish causes.
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation supports programs that promote civil society, Constitutional order, free markets, and informed citizens in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and beyond.
Brach focuses its grantmaking within the Chicago metro area. Areas of interest are animal welfare, the environment, education, and homelessness.
The Brinson Foundation funds a variety of education and scientific research causes throughout the city of Chicago and around the globe.
The Jacolyn and John Bucksbaum Foundation focuses on early childhood development, Jewish education, excellence in sports, and the arts and civic organizations in Aspen and Chicago.
The Henrietta Lange Burk Fund supports arts, culture, humanities, education, health, and human services in the Chicago metropolitan area.
The philanthropic vehicle of financier John Canning and his wife Rita, the Canning Foundation supports a range of causes, which includes the arts, education, health, and animals.
he Central Indiana Community Foundation supports community development, children and youth, social justice, crime prevention, and other local needs in Marion County and Hamilton County.
The Cheney Foundation supports musical and theater arts, dance, museums, public television, and radio media in the Chicago area. Both well-established and small arts organizations are considered for grants.
The Chicago Community Trust is the largest Chicagoland grantmaker. Funding supports arts and culture, community vitality, education, economy, health and housing.
CFE has a handful of grantmaking programs, workshops, and fellowships designed to make Chicago Public School teachers more effective in the classroom. Grant programs are open to unsolicited applications.
This funder supports economic opportunity, access to healthcare, and domestic violence causes that directly impact women and girls in the Chicago metropolitan area. Most support comes in the form of direct services.
This funder exclusively supports education in Chicago Public Schools, with an emphasis on teacher and principal professional training and development.
This funder supports initiatives that strengthen Christian faith, educate and encourage health and family well-being, and inspire creativity. Much giving takes place in the Chicago area.
Circle of Service awards grants for Cook and Lake Counties to organizations working in community services, education, Jewish causes and medical research.
The Cleveland Foundation supports arts and culture, economic and workforce development, education, youth development and social services, and neighborhood revitalization and engagement in the Cleveland region of Ohio.
This funder supports all levels of education in Illinois, but mostly in Chicago. It has a particular interest in math and computer technology education for children.
The philanthropic vehicle of Chicago area financier Andrew Code and family focuses primarily on faith-based organizations. Funding interests include religious, youth, human services, health and education causes.
The Coleman Foundation primarily supports Chicago-area nonprofits working to improve cancer care, independence initiatives for people with developmental disabilities, and entrepreneurship education.
The Columbus Foundation supports community needs, health, animal welfare, community improvement, conservation, youth development, substance abuse, special populations, and more in central Ohio.
The Comer Family Foundation supports education, healthcare, environment, and culture organizations. Chicago is the geographic focus of grantmaking.
The Conant Family Foundation provides general operating support to nonprofit organizations that address racial, economic and gender justice.
Cook County is the primary benefactor of Crown’s annual grantmaking. Crown awards grants in arts, civic affairs, education, environment, Jewish causes and human services.
This is the funding entity of Chicago’s Perry Mandera and his trucking business, Custom Companies. Top funding interests are children and youth, youth sports, and veterans.
The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation awards grants to land conservation and artistic vitality programs in the Chicagoland area and in the Low-country of South Carolina. The board considers grant applications twice a year.
This is Chicago investment advisor Richard H. Driehaus' family foundation. Grants often go to historic preservation, arts, and economic development organizations in the Chicago area.
This funder supports cancer care, health, arts and culture, and children and youth, primarily in Chicago and its suburbs. Grant requests are accepted by invitation only.
This funder mainly supports film in Chicago, but also awards grants to arts and human services causes across the city. It does not have a website or appear to accept unsolicited applications.
The Edlis Nesson Foundation prioritizes arts and culture grantmaking, but awards grants in other areas as well.
The Endres Manufacturing Company Foundation supports education, technology, business, environmental issues, the arts, and human services in Dane County, Wisconsin.
This private family funder supports community welfare, culture, education, environment, health, and urban and community affairs in the Chicago metro area.
This is the foundation of a couple whose wealth comes from Goldman Sachs, and whose giving focuses on education, healthcare, youth organizations, and more.
The Fasseas Foundation, affiliated with PAWS, supports animals and health, among other areas.
The Finnegan Family Foundation’s grantmaking includes support of education and youth organizations.
Franke Family Charitable Foundation’s grantmaking includes support of education and the arts. The family are strong backers of the humanities.
The foundation's Chicago grantmaking includes support of community organizations, education, and health and human services. The family is especially interested in Jewish causes.
The Greater Milwaukee Foundation supports community capacity, arts and culture, equitable economic opportunity, physical environment, early childhood education, K-12 success, and opportunities for youth in the four-county Milwaukee region of Wisconsin.
The Fry Foundation’s grants are almost exclusively awarded to Chicago organizations. Fry awards grants to arts education, public education, employment and training for low-income individuals and health programs.
The Harry S. Black & Allon Fuller Fund supports health and human services in Chicago and New York City.
The Gies Foundation’s grantmaking prioritizes education and health causes, among other interests.
The Sidney & Lisa Glenner Foundation’s grantmaking strongly focuses on the Jewish community.
Primarily directs its efforts to the needs of in Lake County, Illinois in the Greater Chicago area, with an eye towards education and youth.
Grand Victoria’s grantmaking includes K-12 education, economic development, family economic security and natural resource preservation. Priority is given first to Chicago and Elgin, then to the state of Illinois.
The Grant Healthcare Foundation was established from the proceeds of the sale of Chicago’s Grant Hospital, which performed the city’s first legal abortion. This is a pro-choice and substance abuse treatment funder.
The Greater Cincinnati Foundation supports youth, arts and culture, health, women and girls, safety net, environmental sustainability, inclusivity, and other community needs in eight counties surrounding Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Jacolyn and John Bucksbaum Foundation focuses on early childhood development, Jewish education, excellence in sports, and the arts and civic organizations in Aspen and Chicago.
This funder awards grants in the fields of urban gardening/agriculture, the arts, and youth leadership development. Some funds are allocated for summer youth employment and early childhood education.
Chicago grantmaking primarily supports environmental organizations. Other areas of interest include arts and culture, education, and human services.
The Harris Family Foundation’s grantmaking includes support of health and arts organizations.
The Carl R. Hendrickson Family Foundation supports education, health, and human services in Chicago and Northern Illinois.
The David Herro Charitable Foundation funds education and arts organizations.
This funder supports nonprofits in the areas of culture, education, family, health, and sustainability. There are separate chapters for the city and suburbs, and a big goal is empowerment of women through philanthropy.
The Harris Family Foundation has around 15 funding interests, including arts, botanical gardens, human services, education and medical care and research. The foundation awards grants mostly in Chicago.
ITW provides grants and pledges in the areas it operates. Science education is a priority for this funder. Other interests are health, environment, and community involvement.
The Jentes Family Foundation funds grantmaking related to education, youth, health, and the arts.
Supports programs for Jewish women and girls. Most giving is in Chicago, but some grants go to Israel and other countries. Interests include economic security, legal reform, education, leadership, health and well-being.
Joyce favors organizations in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. Funding is largely focused on racial equality and economic mobility in the Great Lakes region.
The Kohler Foundation supports the arts and education in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin and other small towns throughout the state.
The Kolschowskys are steady backers of the Lutheran church. The family is strongly interested in fighting hunger and poverty not only in the Chicago area, but also at a global level.
The LBTQ Giving Council is affiliated with the Chicago Women’s Foundation and supports local LBTQ women and girls with access to healthcare and information, freedom from violence, and economic security grants.
This is the foundation of Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky and his wife Liz. Interests include health care, medical research, arts and culture, and education.
Much of this funder's giving is in Chicago. Areas of interest are health & human services, Jewish causes, education, environment, and animals.
Retired Merrill Lynch investment banking big shot Charles Ashby Lewis and his wife established this foundation. Grantmaking stays in Chicago and Evanston, and education and youth services are high priorities.
The Eli Lilly and Company Foundation supports health, pre-K to 12 education, the United Way, and cultural and community development in Indianapolis, Indiana and beyond.
The Lilly Endowment supports education and youth, religion, and community development in Indiana and beyond.
This funder supports local, national, and international causes for social justice, scholarship, arts, and investigative journalism. Many grants are awarded in the late founders’ home city of Chicago.
Lurie supports causes related to hunger, health care, animal welfare, arts and conservation organizations.
Although MacArthur does make national and international grants, it makes arts and culture grants specifically in Chicago.
The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation supports leadership development, humanities, Jewish life, urban engagement, and the management of nonprofits in Ohio and beyond.
This is the philanthropic vehicle of Morningstar CEO Joseph Mansueto and his wife Rika. While the couple funds education, arts, and culture, giving thus far is limited. But they have signed the Giving Pledge.
Although McGowan is a national funder, a good number of grants are regularly awarded in the Chicago area. Priorities include education, vulnerable communities, and healthcare and medical research.
McCormick is a big Chicagoland grantmaker and has four major grant programs including communities, education, democracy, and veterans.
The McInotsh Foundation funds grantmaking related to education, youth, the arts, health, human services, and religious causes.
The Colonel Stanley R. McNeil Foundation supports arts, culture, humanities, education, health, and human services in the Chicago metropolitan area.
The C. Louis Meyer Family Foundation is a small funder that gives in the Chicago area and North and South Carolina. Funding areas include poverty relief, education, health, religion, community affairs, arts, and youth.
The Minow Family Foundation prioritizes education and arts organizations, among other grantmaking interests.
The Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust supports arts, culture, humanities, education, health, and human services in Chicago and Cook County in Illinois.
This foundation keeps a low profile and supports arts and culture, art education, and the environment in the Chicago area.
The New Coast Foundation focuses its grantmaking efforts on poverty in Chicago and provides grants in the areas of education, community mobilization, economic development, housing, and wellbeing.
This funder's grantmaking heavily involves Chicago arts and culture organizations. The Nichols couple also supports education, among other interests.
The North Shore Giving Circle is made up of Chicago-area women who combine funds to address the needs of women and girls in Chicago’s northern suburbs.
This funder mostly supports small community neighborhood nonprofits that serve the City of Chicago in the areas of civic and community, culture, education, and health and human services.
The Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation is driven by the values, priorities and experiences the family shares. Focuses include educational opportunity and violence prevention.
Pritzker Traubert focuses its grantmaking in the Chicago metro area. The foundation awards grants in the arts, public health, and education, with an emphasis on fighting childhood obesity.
Polk Brothers is all about Chicago in its grantmaking. More specifically, the foundation awards grants in education, housing and homelessness.
The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust supports the environment, animal welfare, human services, community needs, and youth in Indiana.
Bruce Rauner made his money in private equity and then became governor of Illinois. Rauner and wife Diana are active in education reform, health and human services, policy, and Jewish causes.
The foundation of a wealthy Lake Forest couple has supported Chicago area education organizations, conservation groups, and more.
This funder supports health-focused nonprofits in the Chicago metro area who serve low-income families, children & youth, people with disabilities, the elderly, immigrants, refugees, and the uninsured.
This foundation of a billionaire and his wife makes many of its grants in the Chicago area. Priorities include health, arts and culture, and education.
Areas of grantmaking interest include arts, healthcare, hospice care, K-12 and higher education, and Catholic agencies and services. The foundation award grants Illinois-wide.
The Sacks Family Foundation’s grantmaking includes support of educational and arts institutions.
The philanthropic vehicle of Crate and Barrel founders steadily and strongly support Northwestern. Other interests include civic, health and Jewish causes.
The couple's Chicago grantmaking involves strong support of arts and culture, with other sums going to education and religious causes.
The philanthropic vehicle of a financier focuses its Chicagoland giving on education, health, human services and more.
The Skender Foundation is the philanthropic extension of the Skender company in Chicago and gives locally for education and wellness.
The South Side Giving Circle of the Chicago Women’s Foundation supports gender equality, racial equality, economic security, freedom from violence, and access to health care and information on Chicago’s South Side and the South Suburbs.
The Chicago-based Stone Foundation supports education, youth, and early childhood nonprofits in Chicago, as well as the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Philadelphia, and Boston.
Taproot's in-kind service grants present a unique opportunity to work with top consulting professionals in the field on a pro bono basis. Taproot works in several major metropolitan centers, and Chicago is one of them.
Terra funds arts programs including exhibits, research projects, scholarly dissemination, and art education. Grants go to schools, cultural organizations, universities, and museums.
The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation’s grantmaking prioritizes the arts and cultural institutions, but also supports health and policy work.
This foundation of a Chicago couple focuses on education, the arts, and more. Byron Trott is a strong supporter of his alma mater University of Chicago.
The VNA Foundation focuses on supporting underserved populations in Chicago. It awards grants for home health care services, community and school based services, primary care, chronic disease management, and health promotion.
The Walter Family Foundation primarily supports grantmaking related to education and youth, the arts, animals, and community organizations.
The A. Montgomery Ward Foundation supports arts, culture, humanities, and education in Chicago and the surrounding communities.
The Western Suburbs Giving Circle is a women’s philanthropy group affiliated with the Chicago Foundation for Women that supports local issues for women and girls.
Wieboldt awards grants to Chicago organizations working toward the economic development of low-income neighborhoods, as well as the economic security of Chicago residents.
The Women United Giving Council is part of the Chicago Foundation for women and supports local women and girls through economic security, freedom from violence, and access to health services and information grants.
The Woods Fund of Chicago is the Chicago-exclusive branch of the Woods Charitable Fund. Almost all grants support public policy, anti-racism, and community development organizations in the Chicago area.
The Young Women’s Giving Council is affiliated with the Chicago Foundation for Women and supports efforts that benefit young women and girls in Chicago.
Zell's primary grantmaking focus remains in the Chicagoland area. The foundation awards grants annually toward arts, education, healthcare, museums, youth development and cancer research.
The Zilber Charitable Foundation supports affordable housing and community economic development in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.