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. Only paid subscribers can access these resources. (Subscribe here.)
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.
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' Chicago grantmaking strongly focuses on arts and culture, particularly supporting theater and opera.
The philanthropic vehicle of real estate billionaire Neil Bluhm is mainly focused in Chicago, supporting education, arts and culture, and Jewish causes.
Brach focuses its grantmaking within the Chicago metro area. Areas of interest are animal welfare, the environment, education, and homelessness.
The Brinson Foundation funds a variety of education and scientific research causes throughout the city of Chicago and around the globe.
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.
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.
The Chicago Community Trust is the largest Chicagoland grantmaker. Funding supports arts and culture, community vitality, education, economy, health and housing.
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.
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.
This funder exclusively supports education in Chicago Public Schools, with an emphasis on teacher and principal professional training and development.
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 awards grants for Cook and Lake Counties to organizations working in community services, education, Jewish causes and medical research.
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.
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.
The Coleman Foundation primarily supports Chicago-area nonprofits working to improve cancer care, independence initiatives for people with developmental disabilities, and entrepreneurship education.
The Comer Family Foundation supports education, healthcare, environment, and culture organizations. Chicago is the geographic focus of grantmaking.
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.
This is the funding entity of Chicago’s Perry Mandera and his trucking business, Custom Companies. Top funding interests are children and youth, youth sports, and veterans.
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.
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.
This funder supports cancer care, health, arts and culture, and children and youth, primarily in Chicago and its suburbs. Grant requests are accepted by invitation only.
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.
This private family funder supports community welfare, culture, education, environment, health, and urban and community affairs in the Chicago metro area.
This is the foundation of a couple whose wealth comes from Goldman Sachs, and whose giving focuses on education, healthcare, youth organizations, and more.
The Fasseas Foundation, affiliated with PAWS, supports animals and health, among other areas.
The foundation's Chicago grantmaking includes support of community organizations, education, and health and human services. The family is especially interested in Jewish causes.
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.
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’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.
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.
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.
Chicago grantmaking primarily supports environmental organizations. Other areas of interest include arts and culture, education, and human services.
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.
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.
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.
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 favors organizations in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. Funding is largely focused on racial equality and economic mobility in the Great Lakes region.
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.
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.
Much of this funder's giving is in Chicago. Areas of interest are health & human services, Jewish causes, education, environment, and animals.
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.
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.
Although MacArthur does make national and international grants, it makes arts and culture grants specifically in Chicago.
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.
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 is a big Chicagoland grantmaker and has four major grant programs including communities, education, democracy, and veterans.
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.
Lurie supports causes related to hunger, health care, animal welfare, arts and conservation organizations.
This foundation keeps a low profile and supports arts and culture, art education, and the environment in the Chicago area.
This funder's grantmaking heavily involves Chicago arts and culture organizations. The Nichols couple also supports education, among other interests.
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 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.
The philanthropic vehicle of Crate and Barrel founders steadily and strongly support Northwestern. Other interests include civic, health and Jewish causes.
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 is all about Chicago in its grantmaking. More specifically, the foundation awards grants in education, housing and homelessness.
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.
The foundation of a wealthy Lake Forest couple has supported Chicago area education organizations, conservation groups, and more.
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.
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.
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.
The couple's Chicago grantmaking involves strong support of arts and culture, with other sums going to education and religious causes.
The philanthropic vehicle of a financier focuses its Chicagoland giving on education, health, human services and more.
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'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 funds arts programs including exhibits, research projects, scholarly dissemination, and art education. Grants go to schools, cultural organizations, universities, and museums.
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 awards grants to Chicago organizations working toward the economic development of low-income neighborhoods, as well as the economic security of Chicago residents.
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's primary grantmaking focus remains in the Chicagoland area. The foundation awards grants annually toward arts, education, healthcare, museums, youth development and cancer research.