Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation: Grants for Chicago

OVERVIEW:  The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation’s grantmaking prioritizes the arts and cultural institutions, but also supports health and policy work.

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

FUNDING AREAS: Arts and culture, education and youth, policy, health

PROFILE: Founded in 1986, the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation was established by Chicago private equity veteran Carl Thoma and his wife Marilynn. The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation’s grantmaking includes arts and cultural institutions.

Carl and Marilynn Thoma are avid art collectors and a few years ago established the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation (Thoma Foundation) to distinguish their initiatives in, and support of, visual art. The Thoma Foundation collection includes over 1,000 works of art across four different fields.

The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation meanwhile, has focused on contributions that have a “wide ranging yet personal impact.” Much of this work has taken place in Chicago and grantees have included Chicago Humanities Festival, Art Institute of Chicago (Marilynn sits on the board), Lyric Opera of Chicago, Illinois Policy Institute, and Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (now the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab).

In a recent fiscal year, grants ranged from $125 to $1,000,000. Review the funder's recent tax records to learn more about past grantees.

The foundation does not appear to accept unsolicited grant requests. The funder's phone number is 312-254-3361.


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