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Albert Pick, Jr. Fund Staff meet to showcase the work of grantee Project Exploration with representatives from the Chicago Mayor's office, other funders, and an envoy from the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy, Director Dr. Alondra Nelson.


We encourage all applicants to read our funding guidelines thoroughly. Please contact staff should you have questions.

  • Chicago-Based Nonprofits: The Fund considers requests only from nonprofits with offices and separately budgeted programs operating within the City of Chicago. 

  • Project/Program Support and General Operating Funds: Most Fund grants are for project support; in limited instances general operating grants may be awarded to small or single purpose organizations. Grant awards are generally $15,000 or more. Multi-year grants may be awarded to organizations with which the Fund has a history of support.

  • Priority given to community-based organizations that have annual operating budgets below $2.5 million: However, we recognize that sometimes larger organizations have critical resources and infrastructure that better position them to have a more significant impact on an issue

  • Reporting Requirements: All grantees will be required to submit a final report. In some instances, a mid-year report may also be required. All reports must be submitted online and should discuss progress made in comparison to objectives set in the original request, barriers to accomplishing objectives and unexpected results (negative and positive). Reports must include budget/expenditure information. If a grantee is submitting a renewal grant application, the final report from the previous year should be attached the new proposal.

  • Programs considered for funding are restricted to fit within the focus areas described under each funding category in our guidelines. General operating requests will only be considered for smaller or single-purpose organizations whose programs align with a specific subcategory.  Before future renewal grants will be considered, an organization must fulfill requirements of prior grants, including submission of a grant acknowledgement letter and required reports.




Goal: to increase the participation of youth and adults in the civic processes that affect their lives and the well-being of their neighborhoods.

Grantmaking:  The Fund supports programs that educate community residents about civic processes and assist and support their engagement in promoting policies and government actions that respond to their own needs as well as the needs of their community. Examples are a community organization that engages parents in school reform/improvement, a youth program that gives youth a voice in neighborhood violence prevention and an agency that brings people together to advocate for improved services in their community.



Goal: to increase the number, quality and use of arts programming in non-arts organizations.

Grantmaking: The Fund's grants assist arts and non-arts organizations to initiate, replicate, improve or expand arts programming within non-arts organizations.  Applicants are required to explain how the proposed arts program would further the mission of the non-arts organization. Funding is not available for organizations that traditionally include the arts such as schools or after school programs.  The Fund does not support general programming for arts organizations unless there is an ongoing partnership with a non-arts organization and the work takes place at the non-arts organization. Examples are arts programs for children in foster care homes, art programs within environmental groups to promote conservation or art programs at an organization benefiting veterans. 



Goal:  to increase students' (K-12) desire for and teachers' ability to promote in-school, out-of-school and at-home learning by creating positive experiences for young people to relate to academic subjects, including STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), in ways that are engaging, challenging and fun and to provide professional development for educators. 

Grantmaking:  The Fund is interested in programs that respond to young people’s natural curiosity, provide opportunities for discovery and problem-solving, include hands-on projects, promote self-esteem and foster eager learners. Our preference is for programs that relate to academic subjects, including STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), but not necessarily standardized tests or Common Core, and include activities to engage parents and expose school teachers to positive teaching strategies. We also prioritize programs that target mostly minority populations or girls with STEM education and promotes careers in science and technology. The emphasis for the Fund is on making the process of learning more fun and exciting along with content mastery as well as increasing the capacity of educators to effectively teach academic subjects and encourage learning in engaging ways. Please note that individual schools are not eligible. 



Goal: to reduce violence that affects children and youth in and around schools and neighborhoods.

Grantmaking: While all services that engage young people (e.g. after school programs,  arts programs, counseling, etc.) can be thought of as helping reduce violence, the time frame for these to be effective is often long.  In addition, these services may not reach youth more likely to be victims or perpetrators. There is an urgent need for programs that will have an effect on violence over the short term.  The Pick Fund supports programs that target those most likely to be in violent situations, especially those youth who have dropped out of school, have had previous histories with the juvenile justice system or have been exposed to trauma. Examples of programs include alternatives to incarceration, social and mental health services, restorative justice and policy changes. The Fund gives special consideration to programs that use restorative justice.


Goal: to increase the use of the full range of health, dental, medical and mental health services by children and youth.

Grantmaking: The Fund supports programs that are youth-focused and youth-friendly. Programs should make youth more aware of the services that are available to them, offer specialized services to meet the needs of youth or work to change policies to increase the accessibility of health services for children and youth. Examples are LGBTIA+ friendly health services, peer education to alert teens of health issues and mobile clinics that reach youth where they are. Mental health programs are generally given priority.


Goal: to enable the Fund to have some flexibility to support special programs or projects outside of the established Focus areas.

Grantmaking: Funds are used for: special projects of the grantmaking community, a unique project that meets a pressing need or other projects/programs/organizations identified by the Directors. Unsolicited proposals are not accepted for this category.

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Updated 2023 Application Instructions

The Pick Fund is excited to announce the launch of a new Letter of Inquiry (LOI) application process! The LOI is designed to gather key information and data about a proposed funding request and take a relatively short amount of time to complete. Given our focus on support for smaller organizations with budget sizes under $2.5 million, we want to make applying for grant funding as streamlined as possible, and at the same time, provide a way for the Fund to hone in on groups that are in line with its grantmaking guidelines. 


For returning grantees: If you are an existing grantee partner submitting a request for renewal funding, you will be asked to submit a year-end or mid-year status report with your LOI application. If you previously submitted this in Foundant, then you should upload the pdf of the report as part of the LOI application process. All deadlines previously stated in 2022 grant award letters no longer apply and we ask that you submit a status report with the LOI regardless of when you were awarded your last grant.  For current grantees who will not be applying in 2023, you may submit your final report in Foundant or email it directly to Alexis at

The Pick Fund is moving to two grantmaking cycles a year, with each cycle devoted to reviewing grant applications in two of the four issue areas (see calendar below). For the 2023 year, the Fund’s grantmaking meetings will occur in the fall (September) and winter (December). In 2024 and moving forward, we anticipate grant meetings occurring in the summer (June) and winter (December). The grantmaking calendar for 2023 is below.

To access the application, click here to go to the Foundation Source online application platform. 

If you have any questions on the LOI application process, feel free to reach Grants & Operations Administrator Alexis Allegra at

2023 Grant Calendar

Week of April 24th                          Launch of LOI application process

May 22nd                                         LOI submissions due

June 21st                                         Summer Board Meeting – Board reviews and approves list of organizations to invite to                                                                submit full applications for funding

July 6th - July 15th                          Applicants notified by Foundation Source to submit full application or to inform them                                                                that they were not selected

August 7th                                       Full applications due for Culture/Education focus areas

August 7th – Sept 8th                     Applications reviewed, site visits conducted

September 20th                              Fall Board Meeting

October 15th                                   Full applications due for Civic Activism/Health & Human Services focus areas

October 15th – Dec 1st                  Applications reviewed, site visits conducted

December 13th                               Winter Board Meeting


Organization may only submit an application only once per calendar year. The Fund's policies also limit, restrict or prohibit support to:

  • Individuals

  • Nonprofits whose programs are not within the City of Chicago

  • Nonprofit organizations not exempt under section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code

  • Fraternal, veteran, labor, athletic or religious organizations serving a limited constituency

  • Professional groups with volunteer service programs

  • Individual elementary or secondary schools

  • Local chapters of state, regional or national organizations, except those with separately budgeted Chicago-based programs, which otherwise meet these Guidelines

  • Hospitals

  • Local chapters of single-disease agencies

  • Building programs, endowment funds or capital campaigns

  • Campaigns for the reduction or liquidation of debt

  • Student aid or scholarship programs

  • Political, lobbying, or voter registration programs, or those supporting the political candidacy of a particular individual

  • Travel - individual or group

  • Fundraising events or benefits including sponsorship, tickets or courtesy advertising

  • Organizations that may create a conflict with our goals, programs, officers, directors or employees

Law Student Scholarship Program Launches on May 1st!

The Albert Pick, Jr. Fund Law Student Scholarship Program was established in 2003 to assist a first-year or second-year law student who is a long-term resident of Chicago studying at one of four law schools in the Chicago area: · DePaul University College of Law · Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago Kent College of Law · Loyola University College of Law · University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) College of Law

One scholarship of $5,000 is offered each year to support full-time study for a student that demonstrates financial need with preference given to historically underrepresented students.


If you or someone you know would like to apply, please visit

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