Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust: Grants for Greater Chicago

OVERVIEW: The Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust supports arts, culture, humanities, education, health, and human services in Chicago and Cook County in Illinois.

FUNDING AREAS: Arts, culture, humanities, education, health, human services

IP TAKE: This funder offers sizable grants to Chicago-based groups in a wide variety of fields and is accessible to local groups throughout the year.

PROFILE: Established in 1992, the Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust is a private foundation that practices value-based grantmaking to local public charities. The funder’s self-proclaimed values include: promoting thrift, humility, industry self-sacrifice, and self-sufficiency; relieving human suffering, developing dignity and self-esteem, encouraging vigorous athletic activity, and developing regional solutions to Chicago’s challenges. This foundation is managed by Bank of America’s Illinois office. Grantmaking supports arts, culture, humanities, education, health, and human services.

This funder mostly supports organizations that offer programs to underserved youth and who are from under-resourced communities. Promoting a sense of dignity, self-esteem, and measurable goals and outcomes are important to this funder. The trust does not provide capital project or campaign support. Past local support has gone to Girls in the Game, DePaul University, Reading in Motion, and the CARA Program.

Foundation grants are often between $50,000 and $500,000, although some grants have exceeded $1 million as well. Learn more about this funder’s local giving on the foundation’s grantee page of its website and in its recent tax records. Grantmaking is focused on the city of Chicago and other communities in Cook County, Illinois. A majority of grants are for one-year periods, but the funder sometimes considers multi-year support.

This foundation accepts unsolicited letters of inquiry from nonprofits, and the application process is a two-step process. Letters of inquiry should be no more than three pages and not include any other materials. The funder has a rolling letter of inquiry process and accepts them throughout the year. Applicants will usually be notified with a funding decision within three to four months after submission of a letter of inquiry. Submit letters of inquiry by mail or personal delivery, not electronically, to U.S. Trust/Bank of America, the trustee for this foundation. Direct general questions to the staff at 312-828-8166 or Srilatha.Lakkaraju@ustrust.com.

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