Red Bird Hollow Foundation: Grants for Greater Chicago

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

FUNDING AREAS: Education and youth, arts and culture, human services, health, environment, religious causes

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

PROFILE: Established in 1991, the Red Bird Hollow Foundation is the private family foundation of John and Paula Lillard in Illinois. John S. Lillard is a retired real estate investment executive. His wife, Paula Polk Lillard, is an education professional who co-founded 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. Grantmaking funds education and youth, arts and culture, human services, health, environment, and religious causes.

The foundation does not have a website to guide grantseekers. In terms of education, the Lillards have supported Lake Forest College, Ounce of Prevention Fund, and Teach for America. A significant grantee is the Harris School of Public Policy at University of Chicago. The Lillards, via their foundation, also support arts groups in Chicago including 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. 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. 

Most foundation grants are under $10,000. In a recent year, the Red Bird Hollow Foundation gave away around $2.6 million. Review the funder’s recent tax records to learn more about recent giving. Grantmaking does not appear to be limited exclusively to the Chicago area, but this is where the foundation gives many of its grants.

The foundation does not appear to accept unsolicited grant applications from nonprofits. The funder is based in Lake Forest, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, and its phone number to get in touch is 847-999-2130.


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