Chicago Community Trust: Grants for Chicago

OVERVIEW: The Chicago Community Trust funds a very broad range of focus areas and limits its giving to the city of Chicago and the surrounding northeastern Illinois counties.

FUNDING AREAS: Arts and culture, community vitality, economic development, education, health, housing, sustainable communities

IP TAKE: The CCT is the go-to foundation for many nonprofits around Chicago because of its broad approach to grantmaking. This is a good funder for responsive grants and general operating support.

PROFILE: Founded in 1915, The Chicago Community Trust was one of the first community foundations in the country. This foundation aims to “lead and inspire philanthropic efforts that measurably improve the quality of life and the prosperity of our region.” Its strategic plan involves “inspiring philanthropy, engaging residents and leading change on the biggest issues facing our region.” Grantmaking areas of interest include arts and culture, community vitality, economic development, education, health, housing, and sustainable communities.

CCT is a foundation that keeps its objectives broad and funds many different types of causes to respond to changing local needs. In the past, CCT has provided funding for education, workforce, economic development, housing, hunger, poverty, health, arts and culture, strengthening the non-profit sector, and sustainable development. It has also regularly considered proposals from public safety and justice organizations and human relations resources. CCT provides general operating support (known as GO Grants) and responsive grants, with RFPs shared on its website as they are made available. There are also special initiatives listed here for the various independent grantmaking efforts and giving circles housed here.

CCT grants tend to range from $5,000 to $50,000. A list of recent grants can be found on CCT's Grant Overview page. The foundation's funding is primarily limited to Chicago, Cook County, and the five adjacent counties of northeastern Illinois. CCT does not provide funding for scholarships, individuals, religious purposes, disease research, events, or debt reduction.

The foundation often accepts unsolicited grant requests. CCT updates its website regularly, so pay attention to which requests for proposals will be accepted for each grant cycle. The application process is completed entirely online, and nonprofits can contact the grants office with application questions at or 312-616-8000.


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