Hamill Family Foundation: Grants for Animals and Wildlife

OVERVIEW: The Hamill Family Foundation's support of animal and wildlife organizations involving local and regional Chicagoland organizations, as well as national and international outfits. The foundation's largest sums tend to go to Chicago-area organizations.

IP TAKE: The foundation keeps a low-profile and does not appear to accept unsolicited proposals. Networking will be key for getting on this Chicago family's radar. 

PROFILE: The Hamill Family Foundation is the philanthropic vehicle of Segall Bryant & Hamill cofounder Jonathan C. Hamill and his sisters, Elizabeth, and Nancy. The family's parents loom large in the foundation's grantmaking, particularly its support of animal and wildlife organizations. The late Corwith "Corky" Hamill was once president of the Chicago Zoological Society, and Joan Smith Hamill was an accomplished horsewoman involved with the United States Equestrian Team.

Hamill, Elizabeth, and Nancy have continued in their parents' footsteps. Hamill sits on the board of Openlands and is a trustee emeritus of the Illinois chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Elizabeth is a founding board member at Barrington Area Conservation Trust, a land conservation and preservation organization in Barrington, Illinois. Nancy, meanwhile, helped start the Equine Land Conservation Resource, which works with landowners to protect rural lands for horseback riding. 

The family, via their Hamill Family Foundation, has strongly supported Chicago Zoological Society, home to the Hamill Family Wild Encounters. Another big winner is United States Equestrian Team Foundation, home to The Joan and Corwith Hamill Rotunda. The Hamill family's commitment to equestrian sport began in the 1950s, when Joan helped with the transition of the USET from the U.S. Army to civilians.

Another past grantee is The International Crane Foundation, which works worldwide to conserve cranes and the ecosystems, watersheds, and flyways on which they depend. (The Hamill Foundation has supported the organization's China Program), WWF - Eastern Himalayan Program, Naples Botanical Garden, Morton Arboretum, International Snow Leopard Trust, Equine Land Conservation Resource, Center for Plant Conservation, and African Wildlife Foundation. 

In a recently reported tax year, the foundation gave away around $5.6 million. Many individual grants are under $25,000. Apart from animals and the environment, the foundation's grantmaking also involves supporting education and human services. Because the Hamill Family Foundation keeps such a low-profile, an exact description of what the family looks for in its animal and wildlife grantees is hard to come by. 


  • Jonathan Hamill, Director, President & Chairman
  • Elizabeth C. Bramsen,  Director & Vice President
  • Nancy C.H. Winter, Director & Vice President


The Hamill Family Foundation does not provide a clear avenue for getting in touch with the family but below is contact information:

Hamill Family Foundation

200 W. Madison St., Ste. 3400
Chicago, IL 60606