The Duchossois Family Foundation: Grants for Greater Chicago

OVERVIEW: The Duchossois Family Foundation supports cancer care, health, arts and culture, and children and youth, primarily in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.

FUNDING AREAS: Cancer care, hunger, health, arts and culture, children and youth

IP TAKE: DFF is a family-run affair, and grantees tend to have close connections with the Duchossois family and foundation board.

PROFILE: Founded in 1984, the Duchossois Family Foundation is based in Chicago and is run by first- and second-generation family members. Family member R. Bruce Duchossois passed away in 2014, enabling the foundation to increase its endowment and take a more active role in philanthropy. The foundation “strives to empower individuals to enhance their quality of life through wellness and education.” DFF is interested in wellness and education and provides support to programs that give people the opportunity to reach their potential and contribute to the community.

Duchossois provides a range of community grants in areas the family values. Local grants have gone to the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Greater Chicago Food Depository and WTTW Chicago Public Media. Other grants have gone to Adler Planetarium, Junior Achievement of Chicago, the Barrington Area Community Foundation, and the United Way of DuPage. Cancer research is a big part of this foundation’s mission due to family history with the disease. For example, a $50 million donation went to University of Chicago Medicine to match a separate $50 million donation that Craig and Janet Duchossois made. The Duchossois Family Institute at the University of Chicago Medicine opened in October 2017 to focus on immune system disorders, bodily bacteria, and how genetics can be used to reduce disease. Family matriarch Beverly Thrall Duchossois received cancer care at this hospital in the late 1970s. DFF has consistently supported the institution.

Foundation grant amounts vary by program area. Review a list of past grantees on the funder’s website. In a recent year, the foundation granted over $3.3 million. That year, it also awarded over $1.1 million in gifts to match personal giving of the family and board members. Many grants focus on Chicago and its suburbs, although an occasional grant has a national focus.

Grantseekers should know that DFF accepts grant requests by invitation only. Direct general questions to Mary Ann Roeser, the executive director, at 312-586-2010 or


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