The Power of We

Annual Report 2017

The power to reach. The power to dream. The power to build, uplift and create. The power to move the immovable, to align our reality to the best of our ideals. That is the power of we.

We know that change doesn’t happen in silos. From our beginning, The Chicago Community Trust has understood that more voices, more minds, more hearts are better than one. It is our collective actions, ideas and generosity that propels us forward together. We find strength in our differences, common ground in our unparalleled love for our region. We take courage knowing that any challenge we face, we face as one. We draw power from our shared purpose, power that renews and emboldens us on our journey — the world-changing power of we.


— Helene Gayle, President and CEO



We invite you to read and download the complete 2017 Annual Report, or explore the year’s highlights below.

Every donor has a story.

Every day, families, organizations, businesses and individuals just like you are working to tackle the region’s most pressing needs. We thank you all for your dedication to a stronger, healthier, more vibrant community.

View our 2017 list of contributors

One donor’s story: Deana Haggag

“I know that exposure to the arts has made me a better person—sharper, more thoughtful,” Deana Haggag says. “I don’t know how to imagine civilized society without artists. I don’t know how to get people to care about issues that don’t directly affect them, unless you get them to feel it.” The president and chief executive officer of United States Artists, Haggag works with the Trust to award fellowships that support the American artists who challenge, delight and inspire us. Hear her story

A woman wearing glasses seated on a couch, speaking with her head turned to the side

The Chicago CEO Who’s Investing in America’s Artists

One donor’s story: Frederick H. Waddell

“It’s those positive Midwestern values,” Rick Waddell says. “You roll up your shirtsleeves, you get in, get your hands dirty, work hard and get things done.” As CEO and now chairman of the board, Waddell helped make Northern Trust Corp. a key partner to the Trust in tackling our region’s most critical community needs. Hear his story

Seated in an office chair, a man speaks and gestures with his hands

Northern Trust’s Chairman on Leadership & Philanthropy, Chicago Style

Every grant provides the fuel for change.

Our grants are not just checks, not just points on a map. They are lifelines, connecting individual men, women, children, families striving for a better life with the tireless, innovative nonprofit leaders who change lives and transform communities.

View our 2017 list of competitive grants

Change in action: i.c.stars

“The vision had always been to teach technology skills while also developing community leaders,” says Sandee Kastrul, co-founder of i.c. stars. This technology-based workforce development and leadership program paves the way to employment for highly talented people who lack career opportunities because of their socioeconomic background. Hear their story

Brandies Meva'a and colleagues meeting in a conference room

A Jobs Program Creating Tech 'Stars'—and Community Leaders

Change in action: Swap Circle for Teachers

“A lot of people don’t realize how much effort, time and money goes into buying resources for the classroom—and to have a successful school year you need those resources. Sometimes they’re hard to come by because we don’t have budgets that allow us to get those resources.” The Acting Up awards help individuals bring bright ideas to life—like a program to equip local teachers with urgently needed classroom supplies. Hear the story

A table stacked with paint, as people read the labels and pick up the cans

Swap Circle Helps Teachers Stock Up for the School Year

Financial Highlights

The Chicago Community Trust’s mission to improve the quality of life and prosperity of our region is achieved through the generosity of our donors. As of September 30, 2017, the Trust’s consolidated assets totaled more than $2.8 billion. In addition, during the fiscal year, the Trust received new gifts totaling $383 million and made combined grant commitments totaling $323.8 million.

View our complete financial statements for more detail.

Dr. Helene Gayle seated on stage, speaking and gesturing with her hands

The First Six Months: Listening, Learning and Leading

“Our goal is to inspire and empower people and communities to work together, effecting positive change at the local level in whatever way makes sense to them. So let’s keep talking—and doing.”