Open Call for Ideas

Open Call release: January 2020
LOI deadline: Ongoing
Full application deadline: Ongoing, by invitation only
Funding decision: Ongoing
Announcement: Ongoing

The Open Call: A New Approach to Sourcing Innovation

A good idea can come from anywhere at any time. But ideas need to be heard in order to affect change. While philanthropy is generally more strategic than government and quicker to invest than private capital, responsiveness and accessibility are ongoing challenges for most foundations. An open call for ideas changes that by creating a virtual “open door” through which the Trust can hear new ideas, respond more quickly to time-sensitive opportunities and listen to new voices. The Open Call is an efficient vehicle to equitably source innovation and an important tool to achieving the Trust’s vision for the region.

To learn more about the ideas we’re funding, please click here.

Neighborhood Investment and the Open Call

The Trust defines neighborhood investment as strategic investments made by, for and with the community for the purpose of attracting and deploying socially driven financial capital. Neighborhood investment aims to improve local and regional economies where conventional market activity does not fully meet community needs. Learn more about the Catalyzing Neighborhood Investment strategy.

The Chicago region has a robust and continually evolving community investment ecosystem. Thousands of stakeholders from across the city, region and state collaborate every day to bring financial capital to under-invested communities using planning, catalytic assets, finance and policy interventions. The Neighborhood Investment Open Call is looking for ideas within and across these interventions.

Ideas submitted through the Open Call are not full proposals with traditional requirements for organization financials, staff demographics, performance metrics and the like. Rather, they are brief and carefully constructed concepts submitted through a user-friendly letter of inquiry process. These concepts should define what the impact of the idea will be on constituents and communities to build community wealth. Organizations with ideas that align competitively with the requirements of the Open Call may be invited to submit a full proposal. An invitation to submit a full proposal does not guarantee funding.

Open Call ideas may incorporate one or more Neighborhood Investment interventions:

  • The creation and implementation of place-based and issue-area plans and initiatives that advance neighborhood investment goals. Submit an idea
  • The creative use of community assets that serve as catalysts for neighborhood investment. Submit an idea
  • Finance and development tools that facilitate neighborhood investment and ownership. Submit an idea
  • Neighborhood investment policy solutions. Submit an idea

Helpful Reading

Quick Links

Frequently Asked Questions about the Open Call for Ideas

Submitting a proposal by invitation

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About the Catalyzing Neighborhood Investment strategy

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