Chicago Public Education Fund: Grants for Chicago

OVERVIEW: The Chicago Public Education Fund exclusively supports education in Chicago public schools, with an emphasis on teacher and principal professional training and development.  

FUNDING AREAS: Public education, K-12 education, teacher and principal training

IP TAKE: This is a great funder for Chicago public schools and educators to get involved with. Pitch a new idea for teacher and principal improvement to get noticed.

PROFILE: In March 2000, a group of civic and corporate leaders met and developed a city-based philanthropic venture fund called the Chicago Public Education Fund – one of the first of its kind in the nation. With entrepreneurial principles at the heart of its philanthropic mission, the group is solely focused on public education in Chicago. Janet Knupp, a former special education teacher, was the founding president and CEO for the first 10 years. Heather Anichini, a former Chicago public school teacher, took over for Knupp when she resigned in 2011. The funder partners with Chicago Public Schools, the City of Chicago, the local philanthropic community, and school leaders to “build and sustain a culture of strong leadership.” Grantmaking areas of interest are public education, K-12 education, and teacher and principal training.

The fund has had a few key programs, starting with the Summer Design Program and the Discover Series. The fund is perhaps best known for its Chicago Principals Fellowship, which was a unique 12-month program that serveed 20 to 25 principals each year. This fellowship was a collaborative effort between CPEF, Northwestern University and the Crown Family Philanthropies. Northwestern’s Center for Nonprofit Management at Kellogg and the School for Education and Social Policy provide executive leadership training, coaching, and conference opportunities in exchange for a three-year minimum commitment to Chicago public schools. Today, its primary program is designed to provide responsive support for principals in Chicago’s public schools.

Fund commitments for each program tend to be between $100,000 and $1 million per year. Learn more about where the Chicago Public Education Fund’s money has been put to use by reviewing the Investments History page and the Investment Portfolio. Funding is restricted to the city of Chicago.

This funder does not accept unsolicited grant applications from nonprofits. Direct inquiries to the staff at Keep up with recent events and press releases by checking the Media Center page or signing up for the fund’s newsletter.


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