Grant Healthcare Foundation: Chicago Grants

OVERVIEW: The Grant Healthcare Foundation was established in 1996 from the proceeds of the sale of Chicago’s Grant Hospital, which performed the city’s first legal abortion in 1973. Not only does GHF support choice in reproductive care for women, but it is also a city leader in grantmaking for substance abuse treatment programs and programs that serve Chicago’s most vulnerable populations.

FUNDING AREAS: Healthcare for the homeless, wellness and prevention, hospice, care for the disabled, mental health and addiction, domestic violence, medical research, direct medical service

IP TAKE: Only health nonprofits in the Chicago metropolitan area are considered for GHF grants, and most grants are between $25,000 and $50,000. Your best bet it to pitch a proposal related to direct care for homeless Chicago residents, hospice care, or substance abuse treatment programs.  

PROFILE: Anyone familiar with Chicago history has probably heard of the Grant Hospital, which was originally known as the German Hospital of Chicago in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Grant Hospital also went down in the history books for performing the first legal abortion in Chicago immediately following the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973. So it should come as no surprise that the Grant Healthcare Foundation regularly supports pro-choice nonprofit organizations through its grantmaking programs.

After 111 years of delivering care to Chicago residents, Grant Hospital was sold to Columbia Healthcare Corporation in 1994. With the proceeds of the sale and income from investments, the Grant Healthcare Foundation (GHF) was formed in 1996 and has awarded over $26 million in grants since then. At the end of a past year, the foundation claimed over $17.9 in assets and $1.1 million in total giving.

Not only does GHF support choice in reproductive care for women, but it is also a city leader in grantmaking for substance abuse treatment programs and programs that serve Chicago’s most vulnerable populations. Between 1996 and 2013, a majority of GHF grants have been going to direct service programs, followed closely by medical research, mental health and addiction, and reproductive care programs. Specifically, in 2013, 34 percent of GHF grants went to clinics, hospitals, and school-based direct service programs. Approximately 16 percent of grants in a recent year were awarded to hospice care and patient support organizations, and 14 percent to reproductive care, sexual assault, and domestic violence nonprofits.

Some of GHF’s biggest grantees have been the University of Chicago’s Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes project, Sinai Health System, and Planned Parenthood of Illinois. Other recent grantees include the American Indian Health Service of Chicago, Center on Halsted, the Illinois College of Optometry, and Church of Our Savior Foot Clinic.

The good news for Chicago health nonprofits is that you’ll only be competing against your neighbors for grants. No organizations outside the Chicago metropolitan area are considered for GHF grants. As far as new grantees go, GHF is most interested in connecting with health nonprofits that provide direct services to lots of Chicago residents, increase access for vulnerable populations, develop models that can be adapted by other similar organizations, and already receive support from the community.

To apply for a GHF grant, you’ll need to complete a letter of inquriy, and current deadlines can be found on the Application Process page.. If you’re invited to submit a full application, those are due the first week of September. Foundation grantmaking is managed exclusively by Executive Director Kate O’Connor, and you’ll submit your initial inquiry to her at koconnor@granthealthcare.org.

Before taking the reins at GHF, O’Connor served as the COO and CEO of the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois for 17 years. O’Connell also serves on the Board of Directors of Chicago-based Weiss Memorial Hospital. She’s only been with GHF since early 2014, replacing Joan Ridell upon her retirement. Ridell served as the first and only Executive Director of the foundation for 17 years.

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