Gorter Family Foundation

OVERVIEW: The Gorter Family Foundation primarily directs its efforts to the needs of Lake County, Illinois in the Greater Chicago area, with an eye towards education and youth.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, youth, human services

IP TAKE: The Gorter Family Foundation sticks to a narrow geographic area but is an accessible funder for local grantseekers.

PROFILE: Established in 1978, the Gorter Family Foundation is the foundation of Goldman Sachs veteran James Gorter and his wife, Audrey. Born in 1929 in Baltimore, James P. Gorter went on to work for several decades at Goldman Sachs. The foundation was initially reactive and responded to requests from local charities until 2006. After that, the funder decided to take a more proactive approach to its giving, and after conducting research, it decided to direct its efforts to the needs in Lake County, Illinois with an eye towards education. It is also committed to “persuading other donors to focus a portion of their charitable giving on the very great needs in Lake County.” Grantmaking areas of interest are education, youth, and human services.

The foundation engages in several initiatives, including North Chicago Community Partners (NCCP), for which the foundation provided seed capital funds. NCCP works in conjunction with some 50 organizations to provide "after school enrichment activities, lunchtime tutoring and mentoring programs, family engagement and education opportunities, Saturday programs." One of the foundation's big priorities is to provide comprehensive support to Lake County organizations to better enable them to grow and meet their strategic goals. This is often accomplished through a venture philanthropy model, often providing a multi-year grant.

Foundation grants tend to range from $25,000 to $100,000. View a list of past grantees on the funder’s grant info page. The funder’s geographic focus is North Chicago and the northern suburbs of the city.

Grantseekers should makes sure their project aligns with the GFF mission and then submit a letter of inquiry including financial information, to Cheri Richardson at cheri@gorterfamilyfoundation.org. LOI’s are accepted through February 1st for grants awarded in June and through August 1st for grants awarded in December. Direct general questions to the staff at 847-615-1216 or info@gorterfamilyfoundation.org.

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