The Pre-Development Fund was created primarily to support commercial real estate development projects, businesses with brick-and-mortar needs, and neighborhood scale land use projects that will stimulate economic activity in disinvested communities.
Grant Amount: Up to $100,000 (average grant is $75,000)
Project Scope: Submit at any time (link below)
Full Application: Invite only, dependent on Project Scope review
Award Announcement: Approximately eight weeks after Full Application review
Award Disbursement: Full amount, in a single payment
Grant Term: 12 months from time of approval; Pre-Development Fund grants must be spent within one year (grant extensions must be approved by Trust staff)
Grant Type: Project-based
The Chicago Community Trust is committed to the goal of closing the racial and ethnic wealth gap. Catalyzing Neighborhood Investment is one of the strategies helping to achieve this goal. The strategy focuses on the ecosystem that conditions how investment happens in underinvested majority Black and Latinx communities.
The Pre-Development Fund was created primarily to support commercial real estate development projects, businesses with brick-and-mortar needs, and neighborhood scale land use projects that will stimulate economic activity in disinvested communities. Examples include retail and office uses, transit-oriented and mixed-use developments (which can include housing), and the adaptive reuse of obsolete buildings and infrastructure into community amenities. Businesses with brick-and-mortar needs must incorporate community-focused elements through design or programming to qualify for a grant from the Pre-Development Fund.
Before You Begin
The Pre-Development Fund is for projects at the pre-development stage. Activities that fall in the planning stage (too premature) or construction stage (too advanced) will not be eligible. See “qualified expenses” section for insight into the type of services covered under pre-development.
Site acquisition is strongly preferred but the Pre-Development Fund will accept other forms of site control. Applicants will need to demonstrate a high-level plan for site acquisition and development. The primary purpose of the Pre-Development Fund is to help actionable projects gain traction.
The Pre-Development Fund will not make grants to projects that are exclusively social services, supportive housing, charter schools, workforce development facilities and other critical needs uses. The Pre-Development was created to support enterprise-focused projects that historically have not had access to philanthropic funding.
- Architect and engineer services (planning, conceptual design, schematic design and/or structural testing)
- Other consultants (e.g., development consultants)
- Environmental expenses (e.g., Phases I/II, Hazardous Materials Survey, Remediation Plans)
- Legal expense (e.g, zoning, finance, acquisition)
- Market study to confirm the real estate use
- Application fees (e.g., loan applications)
- Site development project manager (third-party cost only)
- Third-party community engagement and planning (feedback and input directly related to project site)
- Fiscal sponsor fees
2022 Project Scope
Completing a project scope is the first step in the application process for the Pre-Development Fund and can take a little as 10 minutes. You will receive a copy of your submission and retain the ability to access and edit your project scope up to the deadline.
- Project Scope Deadline 1: Feb. 25th
- Project Scope Deadline 2: April 29th
- Project Scope Deadline 3: Jun. 24th
- Project Scope Deadline 4: Aug. 26th
- Project Scope Deadline 5: Oct. 14th
2023 Project Scope
- Project Scope Deadline 1: Jan. 25th
All applicants will receive notification that their project scope was received the Monday following each deadline. Roughly a week following the deadline applicants will be notified whether their project is invited to a full application.
For More Information
Please reference our resources below:
- FAQs: General Questions
- FAQs: For-Profit Developers
- FAQs: Nonprofit Community Developers
- Download: Fiscal Sponsor Cheat Sheet
Watch and listen to testimonials:
How to Apply
The Trust awards grants to organizations whose work is consistent with our mission and our current priorities. Learn about the application process and eligibility.How to Apply
What We Fund
Our grants are not just checks, not just points on a map. Our grants are lifelines, connecting individual donors with people and families striving for a better life.What We Fund