Franke Family Charitable Foundation

OVERVIEW: Franke Family Charitable Foundation’s grantmaking includes support of education and the arts. The family are strong backers of the humanities.

IP TAKE: The foundation keeps a low public profile, which limits information available on its grantmaking priorities and activities.

FUNDING AREAS: Education and Youth (Humanities), Arts and Culture

PROFILE:  Founded in 1990, the Franke Family Charitable Foundation’s was established by investment banker Richard Franke and his wife Barbara. The Franke Family Charitable Foundation’s grantmaking includes support of education and the arts.

The Frankes have been strong patrons of the humanities for years. In 1988, Franke helped found the Chicago Humanities Festival, which brings together artists and culture critics from all over the world. In 1997, he was in the first cohort to receive the new National Humanities Medal from then President Clinton. In the late 1990s, Franke and Barbara gave $2.5 million to University of Chicago's Humanities Institute, renaming it The Franke Institute for the Humanities.  The couple also engage in this work beyond Chicago.

Other grantees have included Northwestern University (Barbara’s alma mater), Lyric Opera of Chicago (Franke is a life director), Chicago Humanities Festival, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Court Theater at University of Chicago, which the couple have steadily supported

In a recent fiscal year, grants ranged from $75 to $500,000. Review the funder's recent tax records to learn more about past grantees. Grantmaking is largely focused on Chicago. 

The foundation accepts written narratives with proof of 501(c) status. The funder's phone number is 312-573-2743.

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