The city of Chicago accounts for a large chunk of Illinois’ population. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that a vast majority of the state’s philanthropic activity takes place within the city limits. Funders are engaged in a huge range of grantmaking, with money flowing for the arts, education, human services, health, parks, youth, and more. We're tracking what funders in Chicago are doing and what we're learning is captured in this guide. All the profiles of funders and program officers in the guide are updated regularly.

FUNDERS

ALPHAWOOD FOUNDATION

Alphawood funds causes for advocacy, architecture and preservation, the arts and arts education, promotion and protection of the rights of LGBT citizens and people living with HIV/AIDS, and other human and civil rights.

PAUL M. ANGELL FAMILY FOUNDATION

This funder focuses most grantmaking on preserving the world’s oceans, but also on performing arts and social causes in the Chicago area. There are two annual grant cycles.

BASKES FAMILY FOUNDATION

Baskes' Chicago grantmaking strongly focuses on arts and culture, particularly supporting theater and opera.

BLUHM FAMILY CHARITABLE FOUNDATION

The philanthropic vehicle of real estate billionaire Neil Bluhm is mainly focused in Chicagosupporting education, arts and culture, and Jewish causes.

HELEN V. BRACH FOUNDATION

Brach focuses its grantmaking within the Chicago metro area. Areas of interest are animal welfare, the environment, education, and homelessness. 

BRINSON FOUNDATION

The Brinson Foundation funds a variety of education and scientific research causes throughout the city of Chicago and around the globe.

CANNING FOUNDATION

The philanthropic vehicle of financier John Canning and his wife Rita, the Canning Foundation supports a range of causes, which includes the arts, education, health, and animals.

ELIZABETH F. CHENEY FOUNDATION

The Cheney Foundation supports musical and theater arts, dance, museums, public television, and radio media in the Chicago area. Both well-established and small arts organizations are considered for grants.

CHICAGO COMMUNITY TRUST

The Chicago Community Trust is the largest Chicagoland grantmaker. Funding supports arts and culture, community vitality, education, economy, health and housing.

CHICAGO FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION

CFE has a handful of grantmaking programs, workshops, and fellowships designed to make Chicago Public School teachers more effective in the classroom. Grant programs are open to unsolicited applications.

CHICAGO FOUNDATION FOR WOMEN

This funder supports economic opportunity, access to healthcare, and domestic violence causes that directly impact women and girls in the Chicago metropolitan area. Most support comes in the form of direct services.

CHICAGO PUBLIC EDUCATION FUND

This funder exclusively supports education in Chicago Public Schools, with an emphasis on teacher and principal professional training and development.  

CHRISTOPHER FAMILY FOUNDATION

This funder supports initiatives that strengthen Christian faith, educate and encourage health and family well-being, and inspire creativity. Much giving takes place in the Chicago area.

CIRCLE OF SERVICE FOUNDATION

Circle of Service awards grants for Cook and Lake Counties to organizations working in community services, education, Jewish causes and medical research. 

CME GROUP FOUNDATION

This funder supports all levels of education in Illinois, but mostly in Chicago. It has a particular interest in math and computer technology education for children.

CODE FAMILY FOUNDATION

The philanthropic vehicle of Chicago area financier Andrew Code and family focuses primarily on faith-based organizations. Funding interests include religious, youth, human services, health and education causes.

COLEMAN FOUNDATION

The Coleman Foundation primarily supports Chicago-area nonprofits working to improve cancer care, independence initiatives for people with developmental disabilities, and entrepreneurship education. 

COMER FAMILY FOUNDATION

The Comer Family Foundation supports education, healthcare, environment, and culture organizations. Chicago is the geographic focus of grantmaking.

CROWN FAMILY PHILANTHROPIES

Cook County is the primary benefactor of Crown’s annual grantmaking. Crown awards grants in arts, civic affairs, education, environment, Jewish causes and human services. 

GAYLORD AND DOROTHY DONNELLEY FOUNDATION

The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation awards grants to land conservation and artistic vitality programs in the Chicagoland area and in the Low-country of South Carolina. The board considers grant applications twice a year.

CHRISTOPHER L. AND M. SUSAN GUST FOUNDATION

The Gust Foundation’s Chicago grantmaking predominately funds inclusive education opportunities for students. 

RICHARD H. DRIEHAUS FOUNDATION

This is Chicago investment advisor Richard H. Driehaus' family foundation. Grants often go to historic preservation, arts, and economic development organizations in the Chicago area.

ROGER AND CHAZ EBERT FOUNDATION

This funder mainly supports film in Chicago, but also awards grants to arts and human services causes across the city. It does not have a website or appear to accept unsolicited applications.

FIELD FOUNDATION OF ILLINOIS

This private family funder supports community welfare, culture, education, environment, health, and urban and community affairs in the Chicago metro area.

FOGLIA FAMILY FOUNDATION

This is the foundation of a couple whose wealth comes from Goldman Sachs, and whose giving focuses on education, healthcare, youth organizations, and more.

PETER AND PAULA FASSEAS FOUNDATION

The Fasseas Foundation, affiliated with PAWS, supports animals and health, among other areas.

ABEL AND JUDY FRIEDMAN CHARITABLE FOUNDATION

The foundation's Chicago grantmaking includes support of community organizations, education, and health and human services. The family is especially interested in Jewish causes.

LLOYD A. FRY FOUNDATION

The Fry Foundation’s grants are almost exclusively awarded to Chicago organizations. Fry awards grants to arts education, public education, employment and training for low-income individuals and health programs. 

GORTER FAMILY FOUNDATION

Primarily directs its efforts to the needs of in Lake County, Illinois in the Greater Chicago area, with an eye towards education and youth.

GRAND VICTORIA FOUNDATION

Grand Victoria’s grantmaking includes K-12 education, economic development, family economic security and natural resource preservation. Priority is given first to Chicago and Elgin, then to the state of Illinois. 

GRANT HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION

The Grant Healthcare Foundation was established from the proceeds of the sale of Chicago’s Grant Hospital, which performed the city’s first legal abortion. This is a pro-choice and substance abuse treatment funder. 

LEO S. GUTHMAN FUND

This funder awards grants in the fields of urban gardening/agriculture, the arts, and youth leadership development. Some funds are allocated for summer youth employment and early childhood education.

HAMILL FAMILY FOUNDATION

Chicago grantmaking primarily supports environmental organizations. Other areas of interest include arts and culture, education, and human services.

IMPACT 100 CHICAGO

This funder supports nonprofits in the areas of culture, education, family, health, and sustainability. There are separate chapters for the city and suburbs, and a big goal is empowerment of women through philanthropy.

IRVING HARRIS FOUNDATION

The Harris Family Foundation has around 15 funding interests, including arts, botanical gardens, human services, education and medical care and research. The foundation awards grants mostly in Chicago.

ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS FOUNDATION

ITW provides grants and pledges in the areas it operates. Science education is a priority for this funder. Other interests are health, environment, and community involvement.

JEWISH WOMEN'S FOUNDATION OF METROPOLITAN CHICAGO

Supports programs for Jewish women and girls. Most giving is in Chicago, but some grants go to Israel and other countries. Interests include economic security, legal reform, education, leadership, health and well-being.

JOYCE FOUNDATION

Joyce favors organizations in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. Funding goes towards education, employment, environment, culture, democracy, and gun violence prevention.

GERALD A. AND KAREN A. KOLSCHOWSKY FOUNDATION

The Kolschowskys are steady backers of the Lutheran church. The family is strongly interested in fighting hunger and poverty not only in the Chicago area, but also at a global level.

LEFKOFSKY FAMILY FOUNDATION

This is the foundation of Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky and his wife Liz. Interests include health care, medical research, arts and culture, and education.

EUGENE AND JANET LERNER FAMILY FOUNDATION

Much of this funder's giving is in Chicago. Areas of interest are health & human services,  Jewish causes, education, environment, and animals.

LEWIS-SEBRING FAMILY FOUNDATION

Retired Merrill Lynch investment banking big shot Charles Ashby Lewis and his wife established this foundation. Grantmaking stays in Chicago and Evanston, and education and youth services are high priorities. 

REVA & DAVID LOGAN FOUNDATION

This funder supports local, national, and international causes for social justice, scholarship, arts, and investigative journalism. Many grants are awarded in the late founders’ home city of Chicago.

MACARTHUR FOUNDATION

Although MacArthur does make national and international grants, it makes arts and culture grants specifically in Chicago. 

MANSUETO FOUNDATION

This is the philanthropic vehicle of Morningstar CEO Joseph Mansueto and his wife Rika. While the couple funds education, arts, and culture, giving thus far is limited. But they have signed the Giving Pledge. 

WILLIAM G. MCGOWAN CHARITABLE FUND

Although McGowan is a national funder, a good number of grants are regularly awarded in the Chicago area. Priorities include education, vulnerable communities, and healthcare and medical research.

MCCORMICK FOUNDATION

McCormick is a big Chicagoland grantmaker and has four major grant programs including communities, education, democracy, and veterans.

C. LOUIS MEYER FAMILY FOUNDATION

The C. Louis Meyer Family Foundation is a small funder that gives in the Chicago area and North and South Carolina. Funding areas include poverty relief, education, health, religion, community affairs, arts, and youth.

ANN AND ROBERT H. LURIE FOUNDATION

Lurie supports causes related to hunger, health care, animal welfare, arts and conservation organizations. 

THE NEGAUNEE FOUNDATION

This foundation keeps a low profile and supports arts and culture, art education, and the environment in the Chicago area.

JOHN D. AND ALEXANDRA C. NICHOLS FAMILY FOUNDATION

This funder's grantmaking heavily involves Chicago arts and culture organizations. The Nichols couple also supports education, among other interests.

ALBERT PICK JR. FUND

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.

PRITZKER TRAUBERT FAMILY FOUNDATION

Pritzker Traubert focuses its grantmaking in the Chicago metro area. The foundation awards grants in the arts, public health, and education, with an emphasis on fighting childhood obesity. 

SEGAL FAMILY FOUNDATION

The philanthropic vehicle of Crate and Barrel founders steadily and strongly support Northwestern. Other interests include civic, health and Jewish causes.

TROTT FAMILY FOUNDATION

This foundation of a Chicago couple focuses on education, the arts, and more. Byron Trott is a strong supporter of his alma mater University of Chicago. 

POLK BROTHERS FOUNDATION

Polk Brothers is all about Chicago in its grantmaking. More specifically, the foundation awards grants in education, housing and homelessness. 

RAUNER FAMILY FOUNDATION

Bruce Rauner made his money in private equity and then became governor of Illinois. Rauner and wife Diana are active in education reform, health and human services, policy, and Jewish causes.

RED BIRD HOLLOW FOUNDATION

The foundation of a wealthy Lake Forest couple has supported Chicago area education organizations, conservation groups, and more. 

MICHAEL REESE HEALTH TRUST

This funder supports health-focused nonprofits in the Chicago metro area who serve low-income families, children & youth, people with disabilities, the elderly, immigrants, refugees, and the uninsured.

J. CHRISTOPHER ANNE N. REYES FOUNDATION

This foundation of a billionaire and his wife makes many of its grants in the Chicago area. Priorities include health, arts and culture, and education.

PATRICK G. AND SHIRLEY W. RYAN FOUNDATION

Areas of grantmaking interest include arts, healthcare, hospice care, K-12 and higher education, and Catholic agencies and services. The foundation award grants Illinois-wide.

BARBARA AND BARRE SEID FOUNDATION

The couple's Chicago grantmaking involves strong support of arts and culture, with other sums going to education and religious causes.

BRIAN AND JULIE SIMMONS FOUNDATION

The philanthropic vehicle of a financier focuses its Chicagoland giving on education, health, human services and more.

W. CLEMENT AND JESSIE V. STONE FOUNDATION

The Chicago-based Stone Foundation supports education, youth, and early childhood nonprofits in Chicago, as well as the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. 

TAPROOT FOUNDATION

Taproot's in-kind service grants present a unique opportunity to work with top consulting professionals in the field on a pro bono basis. Taproot works in several major metropolitan centers, and Chicago is one of them.

TERRA FOUNDATION FOR AMERICAN ART

Terra funds arts programs including exhibits, research projects, scholarly dissemination, and art education. Grants go to schools, cultural organizations, universities, and museums.

VNA FOUNDATION

The VNA Foundation is focused on underserved populations in Chicago and awards grants for home health care services, community and school based services, primary care, chronic disease management, and health promotion. 

WIEBOLDT FOUNDATION

Wieboldt awards grants to Chicago organizations working toward the economic development of low-income neighborhoods, as well as the economic security of Chicago residents. 

WOODS CHARITABLE FUND

The Woods Fund of Chicago is the Chicago-exclusive branch of the Woods Charitable Fund. Almost all grants are awarded to public policy, anti-racism, and community development organizations in the Chicago area. 

ZELL FAMILY FOUNDATION

Zell's primary grantmaking focus remains in the Chicagoland area. The foundation awards grants annually toward arts, education, healthcare, museums, youth development and cancer research.