Michael Reese Health Trust: Chicago Grants

OVERVIEW: This funder supports health-focused nonprofits in the Chicago metro area who serve low-income families, children and youth, people with disabilities, the elderly, immigrants, refugees, and the uninsured. 

FUNDING AREAS: Access to healthcare, disease prevention, healthcare advocacy, poverty, children and youth, people with disabilities, the elderly, immigrants, refugees, the uninsured

IP TAKE: Responsive grants are a Chicago health nonprofit’s best bet, so craft your letter of inquiry around increasing access to healthcare, disease prevention, or advocacy for vulnerable Chicagoans.

PROFILE: The Michael Reese Health Trust was established from the sale of the Michael Reese Hospital to a for-profit corporation in the 1990s. Its goal is to improve the health of vulnerable populations in the Chicago metro area.

This funder supports Chicago-area groups working with vulnerable populations, such as people living in poverty, children and youth, people with disabilities, the elderly, immigrants, refugees, and the uninsured. The Trust has a Jewish heritage and gives special priority to programs that serve Jewish communities within these populations. The entire Chicago metro area is considered for grants, but groups that operate in the city of Chicago are given preference. Check out the agency map to see where the most Trust grants have been going lately.

It has a responsive grant program that accepts applications for support of projects, programs and general operations. These are mostly one-year grants that go towards increased access to health and social services, innovation in health care delivery, disease prevention, education for health care providers, policy analysis, and advocacy to improve health care systems for those in greatest need.

This funder also has a proactive grant program through which it works with public and private partners to develop healthcare delivery models and develop more comprehensive and coordinated services. The foundation staff often uses the responsive grant program to inform its work in this proactive grant program. No applications are accepted for proactive grants. The Trust also convenes forums and meetings to connect advocates, policymakers, and practitioners involved in Chicago causes.

You can see a list of recent grants awarded on the funder’s grants list. At the end of a recent financial period, the foundation reported $146,215,303 in total assets. It awarded over $8.2 million in grants that during that period.

Fortunately for local grantseekers, the Trust does accept unsolicited letters of inquiry for its responsive grant program, for which you may be invited to submit a full proposal. These grants make up the majority of funding each year and typically range between $25,000 and $60,000.

The Trust also awards a few core grants each year, which are larger, multi-year grants up to $300,000, split evenly across three years. These are the types of things that the Trust wants to see core grant requests for: quality of services, planning for and supporting staff, volunteers and activities fundamental to the organization’s health-related mission, mission-related infrastructure needs, and sustainability of the agency and its health services. You must have a staff member’s approval to request one of these grants, so reach out to Senior Program Officer Jennifer Rosenkranz at 312-726-1008 or jrosenkranz@healthtrust.net to discuss your idea.

This funder awards grants two times per year, and the letter of inquiry deadlines are June 15 and December 15. You can expect to hear back from the Trust within six weeks. Follow the foundation's activities on its news and updates section.

For general information, contact Wendy Palmer at wpalmer@healthtrust.net. For information about the responsive grant program, contact Jennifer Rosenkranz at jrosenkranz@healthtrust.net, and for information about the proactive grant program, contact Gayla Brockman at gbrockman@healthtrust.net.

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