Trott Family Foundation: Chicago Grants

OVERVIEW:  The Trott Family Foundation is the philanthropic vehicle of Chicago area couple Byron and Tina Trott, who focus their Chicagoland philanthropy on education, the arts, health, youth, and community. 

FUNDING AREAS: Education, youth, health, arts and culture, Chicago community 

IP TAKE:  The Trott Family Foundation keeps a low profile and does not accept unsolicited proposals. 

PROFILE: Established in 1996, the Trott Family Foundation is a private family foundation in Illinois. Byron Trott graduated with a bachelor's in economics from University of Chicago's Booth School of Business and an MBA from UChicago in 1982. He worked at Goldman Sachs for many years before founding BDT Capital Partners in 2009. Byron and his wife, Tina, live in the Chicago area and move their philanthropy through the Trott Family Foundation. Grantmaking areas of interest include education, youth, health, arts and culture, and Chicago community.

This foundation does not have a website to guide grantseekers. However, the couple is strongly supportive of Byron's alma mater, University of Chicago. For example, the Trotts gave a $10 million gift to University of Chicago to help support and expand the UChicago Careers in Business Program, which was renamed the Trott Business Program. Trott helped launch the program last decade and the family has steadily supported his school through the years. Other Chicago area education grantees include Music Institute of Chicago, JAC Education Foundation, North Shore Country Day School, Northwestern University, and Young Women's Leadership Charter School of Chicago. The family's grantmaking through the foundation also supports select Chicagoland health outfits like Lurie Children’s Hospital Foundation, Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation, and Northwestern Medical Foundation. In arts and culture, the Trotts have supported local organizations like Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago Botanical Gardens, Chicago Zoological Society, Joffrey Ballet, and Steppenwolf Theatre Company. The Trotts have also supported the Chicago Foundation for Women and Michigan Avenue Streetscape Association. 

Foundation grants often range from $2,500 to $100,000. Review the foundation’s recent tax records to learn more about past grantees. Foundation giving does not appear to be exclusively restricted to the Chicago area, but this is where much of the couple’s giving takes place.

The foundation keeps a low profile and does not accept unsolicited proposals. Byron and Tina serve as the sole trustees of their charity and steer the charity on a part-time basis. The foundation’s phone number is 312-609-1100.

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