OVERVIEW: The Alphawood Foundation is a private grantmaking foundation based in Chicago that supports 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.
FUNDING AREAS: 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
IP TAKE: The Alphawood Foundation, like its founder Fred Eychaner, is private and often awards grants anonymously. Fortunately, Eychaner has hired staff who make themselves more accessible to grantseekers.
PROFILE: Established in 1991, the Alphawood Foundation is the foundation of Fred Eychaner and is based in Chicago. Eychaner, originally tried to name his philanthropic organization “Anonymous” because he has always kept a low profile on both the personal and the professional front. Eychaner started the foundation to support arts foundations in the Chicago area and northwest Indiana. The oldest of four children in a rural, Republican, Methodist family, Eychaner emerged onto the philanthropy scene by making a fortune through his company, Newsweb Corporation. Since 1971, Newsweb specialized in community, ethnic, and college newspaper printing. He sold his Chicago-based television network to Fox Television for $425 million in 2003. The funder aims to work for and “equitable, just, and humane society.” Grantmaking areas of interest are 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.
For advocacy grants, Alphawood funds groups promote “social change, and whose advocacy activities advance responsive and accountable policies and institutions.” The funder supports archaeology research related to Mayan-based projects in Belize and Guatemala. Architecture and preservation grants support the built environment, and arts grants go to groups that demonstrate both artistic and managerial effectiveness. Meanwhile, arts education grants support programs for children, domestic violence grants support intervention and prevention efforts in the Chicago area, and HIV/AIDS grants target prevention and awareness. Alphawood offers general interest grants outside of these funding areas on occasion as well.
The foundation awards around 200 grants each year, ranging from about $7,500 to $3 million. Grants have generally been anywhere from $5,000 to $1 million in recent years. Grantseekers can find a list of grants by subject area on the funder’s website and in its 990 forms. The bulk of grantmaking stays in the Chicago area. In general, the funder does not support film, television, radio, scholarships, religious purposes, special projects, or political campaigns.
The Alphawood Foundation does not accept unsolicited requests for funding. However, grantseekers can complete an online form to inform the staff about their organizations. Individual staff members’ email addresses are listed on the funder’s website, although phone contact is not encouraged. Also, the website's Newsroom is updated regularly to give grantseekers a better idea of where support has been going lately.
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