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Banker Norman Wait Harris shared a great idea with a group of other similarly minded individuals — and in 1915 the Trust was born.

The father of the Harris Trust and Savings Bank was also a father of The Chicago Community Trust.

Intrigued by the concept of community trusts, the new type of foundation beginning to establish itself at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, he discussed the idea of founding one for Chicago with his eldest son Albert W. Harris.

Together they studied the creation of the recently established Cleveland Foundation, and assembled a team of supporters.

On May 12, 1915, the Board of Directors of the Harris Bank voted The Chicago Community Trust into being.

Norman Wait Harris did not live long enough to see the fruits of his vision. He died in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin in 1916, leaving the idea in the hands of his eldest son.