Brian and Julie Simmons Foundation: Grants for Chicago

OVERVIEW: The Brian and Julie Simmons Foundation is the philanthropic vehicle of financier Brian Simmons and his wife, Julie, who provide grants in the areas of education, health, and human services.

IP TAKE: The foundation keeps a low profile but appears to accept applications. Getting a handle on exactly what the Simmons couple looks for in their grantees, however, is hard to ascertain.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, youth, arts and culture, health, human services

PROFILE: Established in 2001, the Brian and Julie Simmons Foundation is a family foundation in Illinois. Brian P. Simmons is a founder of CHS Capital, a private equity investment firm based in Chicago. A component of Simmons and his wife’s giving through their Brian and Julie Simmons Foundation involves select Chicago area organizations. Grantmaking areas of interest include education, youth, arts and culture, health, and human services.

The foundation does not have a website to guide grantseekers. However, one area of interest for the Simmons couple in Chicagoland is education. The foundation's grantmaking has supported the Chicago Public Education Fund (Simmons has served on the board of directors), Urban Alliance, KIPP Chicago, Latin School of Chicago, and Golden Apple. The couple also supports arts and culture organizations in the Chicago area like Lincoln Park Zoo, where Simmons is a life trustee, and Chicago Botanic Garden. Another interest is health and human services, and Simmons’ wife, Julie, is a member of the women's board of University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center, which the couple has helped fund. Other grantees have included Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, and Greater Chicago Food Depository, where Simmons once served as board chair.

Individual grants rarely exceed $25,000 and in many instances are much lower. Review the funder’s recent tax records to learn more about past grantees. In a recent fiscal year, the foundation gave away a little under $250,000. Foundation giving does not appear to be exclusively restricted to the Chicago area, but this is where much of the couple’s giving takes place.

The foundation has a minimal web presence, but it appears to possibly accept applications per recent tax records. Yet given the low-profile nature of the couple's charity, it is tough to say exactly what this couple look for in their Chicago grantees. The foundation’s phone number is 312-876-18480.


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