The Directors of the Field Foundation of Illinois have adopted the following guidelines for the making of grants:

The Foundation awards grants only to institutions and agencies operating in the fields of urban and community affairs, culture, education, community welfare, health, and environment, primarily serving the people of the Chicago and suburban Cook County with a particular focus on socioeconomically disadvantaged populations.

To assist the Directors in making grant decisions, certain criteria are followed: the need for the program, the institution's or agency's ability to meet this need effectively, including proper control of expenses, and the use of volunteers when applicable.

The Foundation is interested in supporting both new as well as established organizations. Preference will be given to funding innovative approaches for addressing problem areas. Established organizations (more than five years old) may receive funding, but only for new projects/programs that demonstrate innovative approaches to problems.

As a general rule, general operating funds will not be provided for established organizations. For the most part, project or operating support beyond a period of three years will not be considered.

No grants will be made to support:

  • Endowments;
  • Organizations with Interim Executive Directors;
  • Individuals (requests for stipends should be discussed with Field Foundation staff);
  • Medical research or national health agency appeals;
  • Propaganda organizations or committees whose efforts are aimed at influencing legislation;
  • Printed materials, video or computer equipment;
  • Fund-raising events or advertising;
  • Appeals for religious purposes;
  • Other granting agencies or foundations for ultimate distribution to agencies or programs of its own choosing;
  • Custodian afterschool programs or tutoring;
  • Organizations with a limited Chicago presence;
  • Most disease specific programs, research or activities.

As the guidelines clearly indicate, the Field Foundation pursues a mission that is quite broad, and as might be expected, the Foundation is intensely solicited by a broad range and increasing volume of institutions and agencies in the Chicago area. Because the Foundation's resources are limited, it is compelled to apply the following further restrictions on its grantmaking:

As a general rule:

  • Grant requests for the replacement of lost government support for any reason are deemed a low priority;
  • Grant requests from separate entities of the same institution/organization/agency or affiliated entities will be treated as having been submitted by a single entity, except that a university's medical unit will be treated as an entity separate from the university;
  • An entity will be eligible to receive no more than one (1) grant from the Foundation during a fiscal year of the Foundation; and
  • Support for conferences, seminars, or meetings are very limited and should be discussed with Field Foundation staff before submitting a proposal.

To assist organizations in preparing for a full proposal, the Field Foundation strongly encourages applicants to use its Self-Certification Checklist. For examples of the Foundation's funding, please review the 2015-2016 Biennial Report or the Example Grants section of the website.

Printable Version of General Guidelines (PDF)