Hamill Family Foundation: Grants for Chicago

OVERVIEW: The Hamill Family Foundation's Chicago grantmaking strongly centers on supporting environmental organizations. Other areas of interest include arts and culture, education, and human services.

FUNDING AREAS: Environment and animals, arts and culture, education, human services, health

IP TAKE: The foundation keeps a low-profile and does not appear to accept unsolicited proposals. Networking will be key for getting on this Chicago family's radar. 

PROFILE: Established in 1963, the Hamill Family Foundation is the philanthropic vehicle of Segall Bryant and Hamill cofounder Jonathan C. Hamill and his sisters, Elizabeth, and Nancy. The late Corwith "Corky" Hamill was once president of the Chicago Zoological Society and Joan Smith Hamill was a driving force in the creation of the Illinois Prairie Path. Hamill, Elizabeth and Nancy have continued in their parents' footsteps. Hamill sits on the board of Openlands and is a trustee emeritus of the Illinois chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Elizabeth is a founding board member at Barrington Area Conservation Trust, a land conservation and preservation organization in Barrington, Illinois. Overall, grantmaking areas of interest are environment and animals, arts and culture, education, human services, and health.

The Hamills via their foundation have strongly supported Chicago Zoological Society, home to the Hamill Family Wild Encounters. Other grantees include Openlands, a Chicago organization that supports "community gardening, biking and paddling trails, farmland protection, and many other conservation initiatives"; Environmental Law and Policy Center; and The Conservation Foundation. The Hamills have also supported Chicago area arts and culture outfits like Field Museum of Natural History. In education, Northwestern University (Hamill's alma mater), Elgin Academy, and Strategic Learning Initiatives, which schools to "dramatically improve classroom practice and district results," have been among the foundation's grantees. The foundation's Chicago grantmaking also supports health and human services in the region. Grantees have included Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center, ACLU of Illinois, and Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. 

Foundation grants tend to range from $1,000 to $50,000. Many individual grants are under $25,000. Grantseekers should review the funder’s recent tax forms to learn more about past grantees. In a recently reported tax year, the foundation gave away around $5.6 million. Although grants are made nationwide, Chicago is still a key area for the funder’s giving.

It does not appear that this foundation accepts unsolicited grant proposals, and it does not have a website to guide grantseekers. Based in Chicago, the foundation’s phone number is 312-676-0300.


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