Skender Foundation: Grants for Chicago

OVERVIEW: The Skender Foundation is the philanthropic extension of the Skender company in Chicago and gives locally for education and wellness.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, wellness, poverty

IP TAKE: Since launching its endowment fund grant program, Skender grantmaking has been on the rise and become more collaborative with other emerging local groups.

PROFILE: Founded in 2012, the Skender Foundation is a public foundation that supports Chicagoland and the San Francisco Bay Area. This is the philanthropic extension of the Skender company, which is headquartered in Chicago and specializes in construction, manufacturing, and design. The foundation aims to “provide access to resources and relationships that help people make good life decisions through greater education and wellness.” Grantmaking areas of interest are poverty alleviation, education, and wellness.

The Foundation broadly funds education and wellness investing in organizations that share in its desire to help people make good decisions for their own lives. The Skender Foundation provides grants to dozens of organizations each year throughout the Chicagoland area. It has also partnered with other local foundations to support poverty alleviation efforts. In 2018, the foundation launched an endowment fund grant program to make multi-year commitments to nonprofits.

Skender Foundation grants typically range from $5,000 to $20,000. Past grantees include the Chicago Artists Coalition, City of Hope, and the Erie Family Health Center. The foundation does not provide an online database to review past grants. Grantmaking is limited to the Chicagoland area.

Grantseekers should know that the Skender Foundation makes grants on an invitation-only basis. The Skender Foundation has a subcommittee called the Builder’s Board that is comprised of young professionals who are passionate about helping others. Builder’s Board members attend meetings, attend annual events, engage in fundraising, and seek out donors and sponsors. One foundation event is the Summer Eclipse, which is a gala to raise awareness and funds for education and wellness. The other annual event is Harvesting Hope, which takes place in the fall and aims to engage philanthropy in young professionals. Grantseekers can contact the foundation by calling the staff at 312-781-0265 or completing the foundation’s online contact form.


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