Request for Proposals: Changemakers Network

RFP release: December 2019
Application deadline: January 2020
Site visits: Mid-January 2020, as needed
Funding announcement: Early March 2020

The Chicago Community Trust is providing funding to strengthen community-led efforts in Chicago, by improving the capacity of organizations and network leaders to solve the broad problems facing our region.

Note: This RFP from winter 2019/2020 is now closed. Proposals are being reviewed and grant recipients will be notified in March 2020. To view all current grant opportunities, and sign up for alerts of future grant opportunities, please sign up for our online grant system, GrantCentral.


Trust strategy supported by this RFP: Building Collective Power

A graphic showing the elements of the Trust strategic plan as a pyramid. From bottom: Connecting Philanthropy to Impact, Addressing Critical Needs, Building Collective Power, Catalyzing Neighborhood Investment, Growing Household Wealth - all pointing to the goal of A Thriving, Equitable and Connected Region

About this funding opportunity

This capacity-building program is anchored in the belief that everyday Chicagoans can and should directly shape and influence the issues, policies and systems that affect their lives. We aim to cultivate opportunities for historically underrepresented community organizers to learn from each other, share best practices, strengthen community voice and co-create the movement-building strategies needed to make long-term change possible.

This pilot initiative will bring together some of the Chicago region’s innovative community organizers to identify and co-create learning activities that include individual and organizational growth components focused on place-based strategies. This open request for proposals will allow organizations to participate in this peer learning cohort and to support their ongoing community organizing efforts.


Goals and outcomes

Through this co-designed community of practice, participating organizations can expect to gain the following:

  1. Practitioner support: Build the systems knowledge, leadership skills and capacity of community organizers to help them become more effective agents of change within their communities and across the region.
  2. Organizational support: Strengthen institutional capacity and growth around key organizational development needs connected to community organizing work.
  3. Network support: Build a regional network of innovators and organizers from across communities working collaboratively to shift power between people, government and other institutions to build long-term positive change.


Grant criteria

This pilot funding opportunity is designed to support capacity building. We invited proposals that met all of the following criteria:

  • Organizations and community organizing leaders who reflect, serve and amplify the voices of community members from across Chicago, with an emphasis on communities that are historically underrepresented in civic discourse;
  • Organizations led by and/or predominantly staffed by individuals representing communities most affected by structural racism, discrimination or disinvestment;
  • Organizations and community organizing leaders with proven success in building strong, collaborative relationships;
  • Organizations and community organizing leaders who elevate the voices and priorities of their communities through power of residents, foster a sense of collective purpose and embrace the value of co-creating; and
  • Organizations that commit to sending two participants to each convening and to be involved, as a leader and a learner, in the community of practice.


Grant Amounts

The Chicago Community Trust will make 10 to 12 awards of up to $200,000 over two years.


More information:

See the complete RFP

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