Chicago Community Trust: Chicago Grants

OVERVIEW: The Chicago Community Trust (CCT) funds an incredibly broad range of focus areas, but the trust limits its giving to the city of Chicago and the surrounding northeastern Illinois counties.

IP TAKE: The CCT is the go-to foundation for lots of nonprofits around Chicago because of its broad approach to grantmaking. You'll have to come up with a clever and creative program that the foundation hasn't seen over and over again to catch its attention and move through the process, which is really simple if you're computer savvy.

PROFILE: Founded in 1915, The Chicago Community Trust was one of the first community foundations in the city. Early leader Frank D. Loomis spearheaded the philanthropic movement through foundations like his, and he was instrumental in developing many of the huge nonprofits that still exist today. In a recent year, for example,the foundation had over $2.2 billion in total assets. It made over $168.1 million in grant committments that year. Giving has been slightly up from previous years that ahve seen more like $160 million in and $150 million.

The foundation's funding is pretty much limited to Chicago, Cook County, and the five adjacent counties of northeastern Illinois. The CCT is one of those foundations that keeps its objectives broad and funds almost any kind of cause it likes. The CCT provides funding for education, workforce, economic development, housing, hunger, poverty, health, arts and culture, strengthening the non-profit sector, and sustainable development. It also regularly considers proposals from public safety and justice organizations and human relations resources. The CCT doesn't discriminate and openly accepts requests for and from all ages, races, and degrees of disability.

One large CCT local grants was the $1.2 million to the University of Illinois at Chicago Learning Sciences Reserach Institute. Other local giving awards have included $190,000 to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, $150,000 to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, and $125,700 to the Northwest Side Housing Center. A list of more recent grants can be found on CCT's Grant Overview page.

CCT does not provide funding for scholarships, individuals, religious purposes, disease research, events, or debt reduction. To apply for a grant, be sure to review the detailed instructions on the Grant Overview page.

The CCT updates its website regularly, so pay attention to which requests for proposals will be accepted for each grant cycle. Specific to education, the foundation's priorities for each cycle vary with emerging needs and ongoing efforts. At this time, the educational focus is on trasforming teacher preparation and strengthening teaching in high needs districts. The application process is completed entirely online, and you can contact the grants office with application questions at grants@cct.org or 312-616-8000.

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