Eugene & Janet Lerner Family Foundation: Chicago Grants

OVERVIEW: The Eugene & Janet Lerner Family Foundation focuses much of its grantmaking in Chicago. The family has interests in health and human services, Jewish causes, and more. 

FUNDING AREAS: Health & Human Services,  Jewish Causes, Education, Environment & Animals

IP TAKE: The foundation keeps a low-profile and does not appear to accept unsolicited proposals. Networking is key for getting this funder's attention.

PROFILE: A graduate of University of Wisconsin and University of Chicago, finance veteran Eugene Lerner established the Eugene & Janet Lerner Family Foundation with his late with Janet. Lerner is in his late 80s and is still active in business as well as philanthropy. Janet, meanwhile, was an educator and pioneer in the field of learning disabilities. Janet passed away in 2015 and it's unclear what affect (if any) this is having on the foundation's grantmaking priorities going forward.

The foundation keeps a low-profile with a minimal web presence. Lerner is based in the Chicago area, and the foundation's grantmaking heavily features Chicago organizations. Grants rarely exceed $100,000 and many are between $1,000 and $10,000. In the most recently reported fiscal year, a little under $925,000 went out of the door.

The Lerner Foundation's grantmaking supports health and human services organizations in the Chicago area. Grantees have included Misericordia, home to over 600 children and adults with developmental and physical disabilities; Shore Community Services; and Blue Cap, an "organization that is dedicated to serving infants, children and adults with developmental disabilities."

Another area of interest is the Jewish community in Chicago. The family via the foundation has given support to outfits like Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago and Temple Beth Israel. In terms of education, the Lerner family has supported Lerner's alma mater University Of Chicago, as well as Northwestern University, among others. Lerner taught at Northwestern for a time and is a professor emeritus of finance. Grantees have also included tv station WTTW, radio station WBEZ, and Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra. 

A component of this family's philanthropy also involves supporting sailing outfits, as well as outfits that work for animals and the environment. 


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The Eugene & Janet Lerner Family Foundation  does not provide a clear avenue for getting in touch, but below is an address:

Eugene & Janet Lerner Family Foundation
1831 Mission Hills Rd., Ste. 510
Northbrook, IL 60062