Grant Overview

Our grants are not just checks, not just points on a map.

Our grants are lifelines, connecting individual donors with individual men, women, children, families striving for a better life. These connections stretch across history, so that a visionary donor of yesterday is providing food, shelter or health care for a Chicagoan today.

What We Fund

The Trust’s discretionary grants will fund projects and efforts that align with the priorities in our new strategic plan. These grant opportunities may take the form of vehicles like requests for LOI to solicit new ideas and innovation.

In addition, the Trust remains committed to being responsive to unexpected community needs and opportunities. Our focus on addressing critical needs for families throughout the Chicago region will involve responsive grants to local nonprofit organizations. As these grant opportunities arise, requests for proposals (RFPs) will be created and shared here.

Every funding investment the Trust makes—from capacity building for small neighborhood organizations, to larger-scale project-based opportunities—will be measured by its impact towards the goal of a thriving, equitable and connected Chicago region where people of all races, places and identities have the opportunity to reach their potential.

Opportunities Currently Available

There are 2 funding opportunities currently open:

Our Great Rivers is accepting letters of inquiry through January 6, 2020 for community-led projects that support productive riverways in our region, with a primary geographic focus on Chicago’s majority Black and Latinx riverfront communities and adjacent suburbs. Learn more

The LGBT Community Fund is accepting proposals through January 10, 2020 for community-led projects addressing identified needs within the region’s LGBTQ+ communities. Learn more

 

More grant opportunities will be developed in the months ahead and shared with you here. If you are a Chicago-area nonprofit, the best way to stay informed is to create an account in GrantCentral, where you can receive notifications as any future grant opportunities relevant to your work become available.

Eligibility

The Trust awards grants to organizations whose work is consistent with our mission and our current priorities.

  • Eligibility Requirements

    The Trust funds nonprofit agencies with evidence of tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that are not classified as private foundations. The Trust also accepts applications from agencies that have a nonprofit fiscal sponsor.

    Each grant opportunity will have its own additional criteria for funding.

    As a community foundation, the Trust’s grants are awarded to programs that benefit residents of the Chicago region. There may on occasion be a specific initiative that awards a grant to a project which extends beyond our region, but these are rare and strategic exceptions.

    The Trust does not provide funding to projects or organizations outside the United States.

  • Statement on Diversity and Inclusion

    The mission of The Chicago Community Trust is to improve the lives of the people in metropolitan Chicago. We believe that the diversity of our community is a fundamental strength of our region. Our mission is best fulfilled when we embrace diversity as a value and a practice.

    We maintain that achieving diversity requires an enduring commitment to inclusion that must find full expression in our organizational culture, values, norms and behaviors.

    Throughout our work, we will support diversity in all of its forms, encompassing but not limited to age, disability status, economic circumstance, ethnicity, gender, race, religion and sexual orientation.

    Leading by example we aspire to make diversity a core and abiding strength of the nonprofit sector.

    The Trust believes that the board and staff composition of grant recipients should reflect the diversity and demographics of the community being served, and include diversity among its leadership at the board and senior staff levels to ensure the diverse perspectives needed at these decision-making levels.

    Specifically, we require all grant applicants either to adopt the Trust’s Diversity Statement, above, or to have a similar policy adopted by their boards. In addition, the Trust asks that applicants provide demographic data on board and staff as well as clients/beneficiaries. Applicants are encouraged to provide a rationale or action plan to address lack of diversity in their organization. In aggregate form these data provide an important profile of minority inclusion in the nonprofit sector.

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Learn how to connect with funding that meets your needs.

Working in Partnership

The Trust strives to provide outstanding service to grant recipients, working in collaboration throughout the duration of their funding, and beyond.

  • Reporting and Renewal

    Grant recipients are required to complete final reports that reflect on their progress towards the outcomes targeted in the grant proposal. Through these reports, both the Trust staff and the organization are able to gather valuable feedback and knowledge that can inform future work. We do not share this information with any other organization or funder.

    For all grants originating in GrantCentral, reports can be completed right in GrantCentral.

    Nuestro Futuro grants: use this NF grant report template.

  • Publicizing Your Grant

    When news of your grant from The Chicago Community Trust is publicized, the benefits are widespread. Your organization receives attention and acclaim for the important work you do, which can spark the interest of other supporters. In addition, the recognition of the Trust and our donors can inspire more charitable giving in Chicago.

    If you’d like to publicize your grant from the Trust, please contact us for the right language to use to describe the grant. If you’d like to include the Trust’s logo, we can provide that too.

    When you contact us, we will ask for your grant ID number. Our grants come from many different funds, with different language used to acknowledge each grant based on its source, and your grant ID number will help us supply you with the right publicity tools.

    Once you’ve drafted a communication about the grant, it must be reviewed and approved by The Chicago Community Trust at least five business days before distribution.

    For all these publicity needs, please contact Elizabeth Weber at eweber@cct.org.

  • Help and Contact

    For questions about the Trust’s grant making, take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions.

    For assistance with your grant proposal, please contact grants@cct.org.

    If you need help while working in GrantCentral, you’ll find resources in the Help section at the upper right of the screen, as well as a Contact Us button on every page to get your questions answered.

  • About Donor Advised Grants

    The Trust serves many generous individuals, families and corporations who manage their charitable giving through donor advised funds. Grants from these funds are made at the donors’ recommendation, supporting their own philanthropic causes. There is no application process, and donor advised funds are not open to requests for funding.

Upon submission, all requests for funding, including proposals and any supporting materials, become the sole property of The Chicago Community Trust and will not be returned. The Chicago Community Trust reserves the right to reject any request for funding without explanation.