VNA Foundation: Grants for Chicago

OVERVIEW: 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.

FUNDING AREAS: Home-based medical care, community healthcare, nursing care, dental care, underserved patients, access to care

IP TAKE: The VNA Foundation likes to make applying for a grant very straightforward for grantseekers and is open to considering unsolicited grant inquiries.

PROFILE: Established in 1980, the VNA Foundation focuses exclusively in the Chicago metropolitan area and is passionate about supporting nonprofit organizations that offer home-based and community-based healthcare to the region’s medically underserved. Originally known as the Visiting Nurse Association of Chicago, it was founded as an organization that employed its own nurses and other health professionals to provide health care to the underprivileged. However, the VNA Foundation no longer provides direct nursing services. Direct services ended in 1995, and the group transformed into a private foundation in 1998. Today, the funder aims to “support home- and community-based health services for the medically underserved in the Chicago metropolitan area.” Grantmaking areas of interest are home-based medical care, community healthcare, nursing care, dental care, underserved patients, and access to care.

Virtually all VNA grants have measurable outcomes, although the amounts, target populations, and purposes of grants vary widely. Organizations that have received large grants include the Illinois Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, and Thresholds, an organization that assists low-income women veterans struggling with PTSD, mental illness and sexual trauma. Other top local grantees include the PCC Community Wellness Center, Loyola University Chicago's Nurse Managed School Based Health Center, and the Illinois Association of Free and Charitable Clinics. The foundation’s special initiatives are a smartphone app for youth experiencing homelessness, supporting Illinois free and charitable clinics, the Anne M. Davis Mobile Health Award, and the Women Veterans Health Project.

Many foundation grants range between $15,000 and $80,000 in size. View a list of past grantees and amounts on the funder’s grants search page. The Chicago area counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, Will, and McHenry are of particular interest to the VNA Foundation. The foundation understands that health needs are often critical and urgent, so it distributes grants at least four times annually. VNA’s staff and board also realize that some nonprofit outcomes are easier to measure than others. Examples of measurable outcomes that the foundation looks for include decreased rates of emergency room visits, decreased rates of hemoglobin levels in diabetic patients, and increases in the number of children receiving counseling after trauma.

The VNA Foundation is open to unsolicited inquires and proposal ideas, and letters of intent are submitted online through a grants management system. Grantseekers can find a list of quarterly deadlines for letters of intent and proposals on the foundation website. Multi-year grants are rare, but not out of the question. Direct general inquiries to the staff at 312-214-1521 or via email at


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