The Negaunee Foundation: Grants for Greater Chicago

OVERVIEW: The Negaunee Foundation was created to support the arts and education in greater Chicagoland, as well as limited support for the environment. 

FUNDING AREAS: Arts and culture, art education, environment

IP TAKE: The foundation and its trustees keep a low profile; however, music is of special importance to this funder. 

PROFILE: Established in 1987 in Illinois, the Negaunee Foundation is the philanthropic vehicle of Richard W. Colburn and his wife, Robin. The Colburn family has been on Forbes' Richest American Families list. The late Richard D. Colburn steered Consolidated Electrical Distributors (CED) and was also a major financier and advocate of music and music education in Los Angeles. The family continues to run CED and Richard W. Colburn is also president of Henley Management Company in Illinois. Grantmaking areas of interest are arts and culture, art education, and the environment.

The foundation does not have a website to guide grantseekers. However, Richard has continued along in the footsteps of his father and strongly focuses on arts philanthropy through the Negaunee Foundation. The family, via its foundation, has given strong support to Chicago Lyric Opera and the Ravinia Festival, an outdoor music festival in Highland Park, Illinois. The family has also supported Steans Institute, Ravinia's summer conservatory. Other Chicago music grantees have included Chicago Youth Symphony, Baroque Band, Chicago Children’s Choir, the Chicago Classical Recording Foundation, and Orchestral Society of Illinois. The funder has also given significantly to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Field Museum, Joffrey Ballet, Steppenwolf Theatre, and Chicago Shakespeare Theater. In the Chicago area, the Negaunee Foundation's grantmaking has supported the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago High School for the Arts, Merit School of Music, and the Sherwood Conservatory of Music. Negaunee Foundation's grantmaking also includes providing funds for environmental organizations in Chicago like Nature Conservancy of Illinois, Openlands, and National Audubon Society (Audubon Chicago Region). 

Grants tend to be under $100,000 but a handful exceed that number. It appears that grantmaking is on the rise. Grantseekers should review the funder’s recent tax records to leaven more about local giving. Much of this grantmaking takes place in Chicago, but Los Angeles is another site of giving. In Chicagoland, music in particular is a high priority.

The foundation does not appear to accept unsolicited grant applications. The funder’s phone number to get in touch is 847-480-4690.


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