Wieboldt Foundation

OVERVIEW: The Wieboldt Foundation awards grants to organizations working to end homelessness and community issues in the Chicago metropolitan area.

FUNDING AREAS: Homelessness and urban and community development in low-income neighborhoods

IP TAKE: Wieboldt grants are not necessarily huge, but nonprofits also will not be facing national or international competition for them.

PROFILE: Established in 1921, the Wieboldt Foundation is the foundation of William A. and Anna K. Wieboldt. Before William Wieboldt became a successful businessman in Chicago, he grew up in Germany, fatherless and given a chance to work in his uncle's general store. At the age of 26 and with $2,600 in the bank, Wieboldt and his new bride, Anna, started their own small store on Chicago's northwest side. At its peak in 1910, Wieboldt's original department store employed at least 700 people, expanded to 15 Chicago-area locations, and brought in $3 million in sales annually. Today, the foundation is “committed to preserving the founders’ charge, now translated into a concentration on activities that empower local neighborhood residents.” Grantmaking areas of interest are homelessness and urban and community development in low-income neighborhoods.

This foundation works to empower residents of low-income neighborhoods and give them a voice in decisions that affect their lives. The foundation does not typically support capital development direct social services, or research studies. Instead, it supports the creation of new local institutions, training local leadership, and collaboration among nonprofits. Past support has gone to Action Now Institute, ONE Northside, Waukegan to College, and Southside Organized for Unity & Liberation. Wieboldt also funds program-related investments through loans, loan guarantees, or equity investments to help community groups with financing. Wieboldt offers program related investments up to $40,000 and up to a five-year period.

Grants tend to be between $15,000 and $35,000. View a list of past grantees on the funder’s website. Grantmaking is limited to the Chicago metropolitan area. Annual Wieboldt giving rarely exceeds $1 million, but all of those funds remain in the city and surrounding suburbs.

The foundation does consider requests for support from organizations that are not current grantees. It is necessary to call Executive Director Regina McGraw or Associate Director Carmen Prieto for these requests. In the past, application deadlines have been in February for review in April, in April for review in June, in June for review in August, and in August for review in October. Grantseekers should direct questions to the staff at 312-786-9377, reginam@wieboldt.org, or carmenp@wieboldt.org.

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