The Albert Pick Jr. Fund: Chicago Grants

OVERVIEW: This funder mostly supports small community neighborhood nonprofits that serve the City of Chicago in the areas of civic and community, culture, education, and health and human services.

FUNDING AREAS: Civic & community, culture, education, health & human services

IP TAKE: The majority of grants have been going to health and human service causes that affect children. This is a funder with a passion for juvenile justice and youth mental health. Ask for a grant in the $15,000 to $25,000 range.

PROFILE: The Albert Pick Jr. Fund was established by Corinne and Albert Pick, Jr. in Illinois in 1947 as a general purpose foundation.

This foundation considers grant requests only from nonprofits that have programs in Chicago and operate in the city. However, there are a few occasional exceptions to this rule. In 2012, the Fund reduced the number of grants in each category in order to focus its approach more narrowly. In the spring of 2015, the foundation made additional changes to its guidelines and reporting process.

The Fund’s civic and community grantmaking goals are to reduce foreclosures and their negative consequences on neighborhoods and residents. In this category, the Fund also aims to increase the participation of youth and adults in the civic process. Within the realm of culture grantmaking, the Fund awards capacity-building grants to arts organizations to strengthen the Chicago arts sector and boost arts programs in non-arts organizations.

The foundation’s education grantmaking is largely focused on STEM studies in pre-K through 12th grade classrooms. It also awards grants for hands-on projects that provide opportunities for discovery and problem-solving, promote self-esteem, and foster eager learners. Albert Pick Jr. Fund health grants are focused on reducing violence that affects youth, with special consideration given to programs that use restorative justice. Mental health is also a big part of this funder’s current health strategy, especially for children and youth.  

The Fund mostly offers program support, but occasionally gives general operating support as well to small, single-purpose organizations. Multi-year grants are not uncommon with this funder for periods of three to five years. In general, grants are usually at least $15,000 each, and neighborhoods and economically disadvantaged people are the main targets. The maximum grant amount is $100,000, and small neighborhood organizations most often catch the Fund’s attention. Of note, this foundation does not typically fund hospitals, single-disease agencies, individual schools, or any programs that are not within the City of Chicago.

You can view a list of past grants in each funding category on the foundation website.

The fund is led by a board of directors and has a professional staff to review and evaluate applications. The board meets four times per year to review grant requests and reviews applications in all program categories at each meeting. Quarterly deadlines typically fall in January, March, June and September.

No preliminary letters of inquiry are required with this funder, so just skip straight to the application, which can be downloaded online. The process went totally online as of August 2016. Applications are due in January, March, June, and September.

Applications, as well as inquiries, should be sent to the foundation’s grants manager, Betty Jo Joy. All complete applications are acknowledged in writing, and site visits and interviews are conducted as necessary. The foundation’s executive director, Iris Krieg, and senior program officer, Lauren Krieg, also serve as the staff of the Chicago-based Leo S. Guthman Fund.

General questions about Albert Pick Jr. Fund grantmaking should be directed to Betty Jo Joy at For questions related to health and human services or civic and community grants, contact Iris Krieg at For culture and education grants, contact Lauren Krieg at


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