Harris Family Foundation: Grants for Chicago

OVERVIEW: The Harris Family Foundation’s grantmaking includes support of health and arts organizations.

IP TAKE: The foundation keeps a low public profile, which limits information available on its grantmaking priorities and activities.

FUNDING AREAS: Health, Arts and Culture, Jewish Causes, Education and Youth

PROFILE:  Founded in 1958, the Harris Family Foundation is currently steered by King Harris and family. King Harris’ father Neison and uncle Irving started Toni Home Permanent Co. during World War II and sold it for $20 million to Gillette in 1947. Later, they create what became Pittway Corp., a maker of fire and burglar alarm, which sold for $2.2 billion to Honeywell International in 2000.  Harris joined Pittway in 1971 and became CEO in 1987. He now chairs Harris Holdings Inc., a private investment firm. Harris and his wife Caryn are benefactors of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Harris also has been involved with the Commercial Club of Chicago's Metropolis 2020 regional planning effort. Caryn is a trustee of Art Institute and Field Museum and Harris has served on the Museum of Contemporary Art’s board for years, and is currently a vice chair. The Harris Family Foundation’s grantmaking includes support of health and arts organizations.

In 2016, the Harris Family Foundation donated $10 million to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago for AbilityLab, the hospital's project that will integrate science and clinical care. In 2014, meanwhile, Harris gave $12.5 million to the UChicago Harris School of Public Policy. Other grantees have included Chicago Community Trust, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Illinois Math and Science Academy, Jewish Fund of Chicago, Teach for America Chicago, and WTTW.

In a recent fiscal year, the foundation gave away around $11.2 million. Grants ranged from $35 to $3,070,000 to Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago— now Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. Review the funder's recent tax records to learn more about past grantees. Grantmaking is largely focused on Chicago. 

The foundation may consider unsolicited grant letters of inquiry. The funder's phone number to get in touch is 312-831-4130.


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