Red Bird Hollow Foundation: Chicago Grants

OVERVIEW: The Red Bird Hollow Foundation is the philanthropic vehicle of Lake Forest couple John and Paula Lillard, and family. The foundation's grantmaking has supported Chicago area education organizations, conservative groups, and more. 

FUNDING AREAS: Education & Youth, Arts & Culture, Human Services & Health, Environment, Religious

IP TAKE: The foundation keeps a low profile and does not appear to accept unsolicited proposals. Nonprofits in the Lake Forest area may have a leg up. 

PROFILE: John S. Lillard is a retired real estate investment executive. His wife, Paula Polk Lillard, is an education professional who cofounded Forest Bluff School, a Montessori school in Forest Bluff, Illinois. The couple and family move their philanthropy though the Red Bird Hollow Foundation, which supports select nonprofits in the Chicago area, particularly in Lake Forest. In terms of education, the Lillards have supported places like Lake Forest College, Ounce of Prevention Fund, and Teach for America. A significant grantee of late has been Harris School of Public Policy at University of Chicago. 

The Lillards, via their foundation, also support arts outfits in Chicago like Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lake Forest Symphony, Lake Forest Historical Society, and Chicago Botanic Garden. On the health and human services front, grantees have included Gorton Community Center, and Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, where John Lillard serves on the executive committee. The hospital has received strong support of late.  

A component of this family's giving also focuses on the environment in Chicagoland. Grantees have included Lake Forest Open Lands Association, Wetlands Initiative, and National Parks Conservation Association. The Lillards have also given grants to St. Andrews Episcopal Church and Church of Holy Spirit. 

In a recent year, the Red Bird Hollow Foundation gave away around $2.6 million. Many grants are under $10,000.


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The Red Bird Hollow Foundation does not provide a clear avenue for getting in touch with the Lillards but below is an address

Red Bird Hollow Foundation
1340 N. Waukegan Rd.
Lake Forest, IL  60045