Paul M. Angell Family Foundation: Chicago Grants

OVERVIEW: This funder focuses most grantmaking on preserving the world’s oceans, but also on performing arts and social causes in the Chicago area. There are two annual grant cycles, and online letters of inquiry are accepted.

FUNDING AREAS: Conservation, performing arts, social causes

IP TAKE: Chicago groups have the best chance with Angell’s “social causes” grants. Pitch a cause related to early childhood education, teenage pregnancy prevention, school completion for at-risk youth, workforce preparedness, or African-American male achievement.

PROFILE: Established in 2011 to honor Paul M. Angell, this family foundation aims to advance society through the performing arts, conservation of the world’s oceans, and alleviation of poverty. Angell was born in Michigan in the late 19th century and grew up in Iowa. After serving in the Navy during World War I, he joined his father in the construction business and founded a firm to make ice cream cake rolls, a novelty food item at that time. The firm was called Newly Wed Foods, Inc., and it expanded to 10 countries and 25 manufacturing facilities. Angell passed away in 1984.

Today, the Angell Family Foundation focuses grantmaking primarily on protecting the world’s oceans and marine species. These grants typically go toward ocean research, conservation, and restoration efforts worldwide. However, the Angell’s other two funding areas have a more local focus.

Funding for social causes mostly goes toward addressing the causes of poverty and equity in urban areas, especially programs that feature early intervention and prevention strategies. The Chicago area is the geographical focus of social cause grantmaking, and specific interest areas are early childhood education, teenage pregnancy prevention, school completion for at-risk youth, workforce preparedness, and African-American male achievement.

Angell’s performing arts grantmaking also has a Chicago focus, and grants typically go to classical music and theater groups. Other geographic areas considered for performing arts funding include the Mid-Atlantic Region (Washington, D.C. to Wilmington, Delaware) and the Cleveland area.

This funder provides general operating support, program/project support, and education grants to support lectures, demonstrations, workshops, guided tours, exhibitions, and distribution of materials to further an organization’s mission. As a general rule, the foundation does not support religious organizations, fundraisers, or debt reduction. Multi-year grants are considered on a case-by-case basis.

In just a few short years, this foundation has grown significantly and awarded over $10 million in grants in a recent year. Past support has gone to groups related to arts & culture, community & economic development, the environment, natural history museums, and youth development. You can search for recent grants by program or grant cycle in the foundation’s online database.

Fortunately for grantseekers, the Paul M. Angell Foundation accepts unsolicited grant inquiries from nonprofits. You can create an account online and complete a letter of inquiry application for one of the three priority areas. There are two grant cycles each year, as LOIs open up in mid-October for the spring cycle and in mid-March for the fall cycle. Check out the Grant Writing Tips page for some of the funder’s direct advice.

General inquiries can be directed to 773-628-6980 or The chief administrative officer, Kim Van Horn, is your best point of contact for any grant application questions, and her email is


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