Ann & Robert Lurie Foundation

OVERVIEW: The Lurie Foundation awards most of its grants to health-care centers and hospitals, favoring well-established organizations with a track record of success.

FUNDING AREAS: Health, youth services, higher education, environment

IP TAKE: Lurie’s large grants make news, and the other recipients are handpicked and well-established.

PROFILE: Established in 1986, the Ann & Robert Lurie Foundation is the foundation of the Lurie couple in Chicago. Robert Lurie earned his wealth in real estate and diversified investments, and Ann worked as a pediatric intensive care nurse in rural Florida and then at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Ann moved to Chicago in 1973, and Robert passed away in 1990 after a battle with colon cancer. The foundation focuses its grantmaking on health care and hospitals but also supports education and human services.

Although Ann Lurie has a website, the Lurie Foundation does not have an official online presence. The foundation became well-known after Ann Lurie approved a $100 million grant to fund the construction of the Ann & Robert Lurie Children's Hospital in downtown Chicago. Some of the largest Lurie grants in Chicago have included $20 million to the Children's Memorial Foundation, $10 million to maintain the Lurie Garden at Chicago's Millennium Park, and $50,000 to Riders for Health. She's also approved smaller continuing grants to the Greater Chicago Food Depository and Gilda's Club cancer support program.

The Lurie Foundation typically gives out only about eight to 10 grants each year, which usually range in size from $50,000 to $100,000. Although the $100 million grants are the ones making news, they are rare, and most yearly giving totals top out at barely $1 million. The funder does not provide an online database for grantseekers to learn from. Browse the funder’s recent tax records to learn more about foundation giving. While grantmaking does not appear to be exclusively restricted to Chicago, this is where most Lurie funds remain.

It does not appear that the foundation accepts unsolicited grant proposals from nonprofits. The best way to get in touch with the Lurie Foundation is by phone at 312-466-3222.

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