At The Chicago Community Trust, we are more than just grantmakers—we are changemakers. We work hand in hand with our community to learn, to educate, and connect. When our neighbors do better, we all do better. Together, we show what is possible when we act as one for the good of all.
Together, we are building a stronger Chicago region—for all of us.
For over a century, Chicago-area residents who believe in our region’s potential for greatness have found a partner and ally in The Chicago Community Trust. The Trust is an enduring platform for change, a place where people come together to shape and pursue visions for our region’s future that none of us could realize alone.
The work we do in partnership with our community partners, dedicated donors, and civic leaders is bigger than any one person, one institution, or one grant. Together, we pool our collective talents and resources to put equity and opportunity in reach for every resident of our region.
Our Community in Action
Check back often as we continue to spotlight the ways in which we collaborate with and listen to our community to support initiatives working to effect lasting change.
How We Learn
Connecting Capital and Community (3C)
Launched in 2021, as part of a national initiative, 3C is a three-year partnership led by the Trust that connects a unique network of developers, nonprofits, and community members. The team is using 3C funding to develop and test innovate housing solutions with the goal of identifying scalable models that can be used in other communities.
Advancing Equity in Homeownership Series
An idea exchange bringing together grant recipients, donors, policy makers, researchers, and residents to dive deeper into topics connecting the wealth gap. The three-part series focuses on exploring systemic issues, understanding current obstacles that Black and Latine homeowners face, and uplifting potential solutions.
The Trust sponsors our own original research to better inform our grant making process and assist our partner organizations. We also work with nationally recognized research organizations, such as the RAND Corporation, to produce comprehensive evaluations to quantify the impact of our grantmaking on the Chicago region.
A Podcast by The Chicago Community Trust
#TrustTalks highlights issues facing the region and is a resource for stakeholders invested in closing the racial and ethnic wealth gap.Browse All Episodes
How We Convene & Collaborate
Our “Donor Dialogues” series is a platform for donors, civic leaders, and experts to join solutions-focused conversations that explore our community’s most pressing issues, and the role of philanthropy in effecting change.
The 1915 Society
In 2023, the Trust held a luncheon for members of the 1915 Society to learn more about the Trust’s work and partnerships to address the most pressing issues facing our communities. The 1915 Society honors our donors who have made the Trust part of their legacy and aspire to create a strong future for our region through thoughtful philanthropy.
The Trust hosts seven Affinity Funds—groups of donors united by a shared heritage, identity, or common interest. Recently, the African American Legacy fund celebrated 20 years of being present for the Chicago community and assisting local organizations.
The Latest Highlights
Learn how our partners, donors, and grant recipients are making an impact and strengthening communities.
From the Archives
“From the Archives” explores highlights from The Chicago Community Trust’s archives showcasing unique moments and milestones from its 100+ year history in the Chicago region. Stay tuned throughout the year for more stories.
In the meantime, learn more about George E. Johnson, Sr.—a successful Chicago businessman who became the Trust’s first Black Executive Committee member.
Disrupting Segregation: Bridging Gaps Through Neighborhood Tours
“Disrupting Segregation” is a bus tour that takes participants through two contrasting Chicago neighborhoods to observe and understand the differences and disparities between them. It is a partnership between Folded Map Project, the City of Chicago’s Office of Equity and Racial Justice (OERJ), and Sherman “Dilla” Thomas, Chicago’s TikTok historian and founder of Chicago Mahogany Tours. Folded Map Project, OERJ, and Chicago Mahogany Tours have all received Trust funding.
Unity Fund: A Look at Impact in 2023
The Chicago Community Trust’s Unity Fund is a testament to the community spirit of the Chicago region and the power of collective giving. Since its founding in 2008 at the height of the Great Recession, the fund has made more than $19 million in grants to hundreds of nonprofits that provide Chicagoans with emergency food, clothing, legal aid, homelessness services, and more. In fiscal year 2023, Unity Fund granted $1 million to 20 organizations with a focus on preventing and ending homelessness for particularly vulnerable groups including youth, survivors of gender-based violence, and people staying in shelters and other temporary living arrangements. The grants also supported organizations providing access to mental and behavioral health services, food and nutrition, workforce development, and other services.
Building a Network of Diverse Developers
The Chicago Community Trust’s Catalyzing Neighborhood Investment team has been leveraging grant programs and initiatives to build a more robust network of diverse developers in the Chicago region. The Pre-Development Fund, a grant program which covers early-stage costs for commercial real estate projects intended to revitalize disinvested communities, has provided $5.8 million in grants to 52 projects, with 98 percent led by developers of color. Additionally, We Rise Together: For an Equitable and Just Recovery, a five-year initiative aimed at spurring economic recovery from communities hit hardest by the pandemic, has provided $38 million in grants to 30 anchor neighborhood projects – all led by developers of color.
LGBTQ Community Fund Grants Support Housing, Health, and Mental Health in 2023
The LGBTQ Community Fund, an affinity fund of The Chicago Community Trust, unites donors to support Chicago’s LGBTQ community. Since its founding in 2010, the Fund has provided close to $3 million in grant support to over 50 organizations. Housing, health, and mental health topped the list of concerns highlighted by survey respondents. The LGBTQ Community Fund awarded its 2023 grants totaling $400,500.