How Does the Harry S. Black & Allon Fuller Fund Make Grants in Chicago?

People with disabilities is one focus on this Chicago funder. Alex Kachkov/shutterstock

People with disabilities is one focus on this Chicago funder. Alex Kachkov/shutterstock

Health and human services are among the most steadily funded causes within the city of Chicago, and there are many funders that prioritize these issues. The basic needs and wellness of Chicago residents are the focus of local community foundations, corporate givers, individual donors and family funds. One such fund is the Harry S. Black & Allon Fuller Fund, which has a history of giving that dates back to 1930.

Since many local nonprofits may not have heard of this grantmaker, here are a few things to know about the Harry S. Black & Allon Fuller Fund.

A Colorful Backstory

Harry S. Black lived an interesting life beyond his career as the developer of some of New York City’s most iconic properties, such as One Times Square and the Plaza Hotel. His lifestyle often made headlines in the early 20th century, as he was known for lavish purchases, marital issues and liquor bootlegging. Allon Mae Fuller was Black’s first wife and the daughter of prominent builder George A. Fuller. Their marriage ended in divorce, and Black later remarried, but the philanthropic foundation he created still bears the name of his first bride for the “relief of unfortunate men, women and children, either sick or physically disabled.” Black died by suicide at the age of 66.

The Foundation Supports Health Organizations

The fund spreads its support around fairly broadly to local health groups in Chicago each year. Access to healthcare is a priority, as well as health education, health advocacy, and health policy analysis. However, the fund does not support academic medical research or mental health services. Overall, the fund prefers to give to groups that offer programs that serve low-income Chicagoans.

It Prioritizes Physical Disability Programs

The Harry S. Black & Allon Fuller Fund is much more specific and targeted in its approach to human services. People with disabilities are the funder’s top priority, and it often awards grants that support access to programs for these individuals. Other funding goes toward workforce development, disability policy analysis, advocacy and quality of life programs for physically disabled people.

There’s a Dual Focus on Chicago and New York

Chicago nonprofits should be aware that there is another major city competing for Harry S. Black & Allon Fuller Fund resources. The funder supports groups in each of its grant cycles that serve Chicago and New York City, and that operate in those geographic regions. In both cities, the fund’s grants are typically only for one-year periods.

Unsolicited Requests Are Welcome Annually

This fund is managed by Bank of America and has an online application system that’s accessible to Chicago grantseekers. Pitch a request for either program/project support or general operating support, because the fund does not typically consider requests for capital projects, research or endowment campaigns. The annual application deadline is June 30, and the fund’s trustees make grant decisions by October 31.

Learn more about this Chicago-focused foundation in IP’s full profiles of the Harry S. Black & Allon Fuller Fund.