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Message From The Executive Director, November 2023

Greetings Grantee partners, Foundation colleagues and Friends of The Albert Pick, Jr. Fund,
I hope this note reaches you in good health and spirits and that you had an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday of gratitude with loved ones. As alluded to in our opening message, we have been busy at the Pick Fund over the last few months, particularly in the areas of board governance and grantmaking. We are proud to announce our three new directors that joined the Pick Fund board in September: Verónica Cortez of the Erikson Institute, Ahmadou Dramé of the Illinois Justice Project and Anna Miran Lee of United Way Metro Chicago. They bring a wealth of lived expertise and experience along with fresh perspectives that will serve the Fund well as we continue to work to center racial equity and social justice in all that we do. We are also excited to announce two new colleagues who will serve on our Investments, Finance and Audit (IF&A) Committee: Laura Glick, Chief Investment Officer of the Spencer Foundation and Elva Gonzales, Chief Financial Officer of the Healthy Communities Foundation. Laura and Elva’s expertise will serve as a welcome complement to that of our Board Treasurer Clare Golla who has helped steer the Fund’s efforts to diversify our investment managers and deepen our commitment to socially responsible investing. A warm welcome to Verónica, Ahmadou, Anna, Laura and Elva! Scroll down to learn more about our new board and committee members.
With respect to our grantmaking, most notably, at the fall board meeting we awarded 24 grants totaling $355,000 to organizations in our Culture and Education portfolios, all of whom are existing grantee partners. While we are honored to support the work of these organizations, we also made a very difficult decision to provide the organizations in our Culture portfolio with terminal grants as we have decided to wind down individual grants in the Culture portfolio. Grants in our Culture portfolio have been made to foster use of the arts within non-arts organizations, and we still see immense value in this work. We will continue to have a presence in the Arts and Culture sector primarily through our support of the Arts Work Fund (AWF), and we are hopeful that many of the groups in our Culture portfolio will receive future support via AWF or other foundation initiatives such as the MacArthur / Field Foundation’s “A Road Together ART” (ART) grants. We recognize this decision comes at a time when the funding landscape in the Arts sector is shifting as highlighted in the report released last month by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE). Some nonprofits, particularly those that are BIPOC-led and have struggled historically to receive adequate funding, are benefiting from the funding landscape shift. However, there are other well-established organizations that are adversely feeling the impact of these sectoral shifts. To the extent possible, the Pick Fund will help advise our Culture grantee partners through this transition by making introductions to foundation colleagues and providing letters of recommendation per their request. Scroll down to see the list of our Fall 2023 Culture and Education grantee partners.
As we continue to reimagine our grantmaking in order to have greater impact in the sector, given the Pick Fund’s limited resources, we are moving toward providing larger grants to a smaller number of organizations. We are also trying to determine how we can make room in our portfolio to support new and emerging organizations with small budget sizes that could greatly benefit from our early support. In addition, because we prioritize support for smaller nonprofits with budget sizes under $2.5 million, there are long time and/or existing grantee partners whose budgets have “outgrown” the Pick Fund’s criteria. There are also others who remain under the $2.5 million budget threshold but have grown and evolved over time to attract more robust funding resources. Consequently, in the spirit of making room for new and emerging organizations, we are in the midst of examining our portfolio to determine how best to sunset support for some of our more seasoned / long time grantee partners. While the process is not perfect and evolving, we are striving to be responsible and respectful in how we approach this shift in our grantmaking. We will announce the grant awards for our Winter 2023 grantee partners in the Civic Activism and Health & Human Services portfolios before the end of December.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t end this message without expressing my profound appreciation and gratitude for the dedication and steadfast work of our grantee partners and philanthropy colleagues that embody tenacity, resilience, courage and grace day in and day out in their unwavering commitment to furthering social justice – both at home and abroad. Your efforts are not taken for granted and the Pick Fund will continue to offer philanthropic support that helps to mitigate and address the complexity of challenges we face in today’s world and our beloved Chicago.
Warmly and In Solidarity,
Heather D. Parish
Executive Director, The Albert Pick, Jr. Fund

Scholarship Awardee Announced!
November 2023

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 a Chicago area law school: DePaul University College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago Kent College of Law, Loyola University College of Law and 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. This year the scholarship has been awarded to Breana Enyeart, a first-year law student at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Click below to read more about Breana's impressive accomplishments. 


Breana Enyeart is currently a 1L at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, with an interest in criminal defense and civil rights law. She received a B.S. in Legal Studies with honors from Ball State University in 2021. Over the past two years, she has worked in Chicago as a legal assistant at a criminal defense firm, The Bronzeville Law Group, and as an after-school program coordinator at a non-profit community service organization, The Institute of Positive Education (IPE). Alongside her role at IPE, she recently started working as a civic engagement instructor, educating students on ways to get involved in their communities and leading community service projects. Besides her professional goals, she enjoys fitness and trying new restaurants in Chicago. Breana is excited to gain new skills and experiences during her time at Loyola!  

Message From The Executive Director, August 2023

Dear Grantee partners, Foundation colleagues and Friends of The Albert Pick, Jr. Fund,


Summer in Chicago is like no other! It’s one of our city’s best kept secrets and visitors are always amazed when they learn about and experience all there is to do and enjoy – much of it offered for free and accessible to everyone! However, we also know that summertime in Chicago, like in other cities across the country, often comes with increased gun violence, senseless deaths and concerns for public safety. Joy and sorrow represent a complex duality that, unfortunately, too many of us have learned to live with, and one that philanthropy, by definition, is well-positioned to address.


It is why this year’s theme for Black Philanthropy Month – Love in Action – resonates with my heart and soul. It reflects the true broader definition of philanthropy: love for humankind. You don’t have to be financially wealthy to be a philanthropist. You just have to embody love for and service to humanity. While we can point to countless examples within ethnic, cultural and faith communities that practice philanthropy daily, within our nonprofit and foundation community I have seen Love in Action on full display through: 

  • The Chicago Fund for Safe and Peaceful Communities, which provides rapid-response grants to community organizations that offer activities in the summer and early fall to foster neighborhood safety and community building. Many of these organizations were already doing the work for years and for free in the true spirit of philanthropy, and since 2016 the Fund – which represents over 50 foundations and private funders - helps to compensate them for their tireless efforts.

  • The 160+ funders and philanthropic organizations from around the country that signed onto a solidarity statement in early July strongly condemning the US Supreme Court’s decision to ban race-based affirmative action in higher education admissions policies. The implications for our social justice work in the nonprofit and philanthropic sector cannot be underestimated. However, the SCOTUS decision has actually strengthened the resolve and commitment of philanthropists along with countless social justice warriors who are engaged in and supporting long-term work. The Pick Fund’s commitment to centering racial equity and social justice in its philanthropy stands firm.

  • The resiliency and responsiveness of stakeholders at the State, County, City and neighborhood levels that are working on both / and solutions to address the housing and social service needs of migrants / new arrivals as well as unhoused indigenous residents, who are predominantly Black, from under resourced communities in Chicago and throughout Illinois. Some of these key stakeholders presented at two funder briefings held during July and August about the racial solidarity work they have been engaged in. The Home Away from Home Center started by Concord Missionary Baptist Church in Woodlawn, and the Excellerator Fund started by Latinos Progresando (a Pick Fund grantee) and the Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation are just two of several examples lifted up during these briefings that spoke to the racial solidarity work in our city that is deserving of much greater attention and support.

  • #Give828, an annual initiative launched six years ago by the Young, Black and Giving Back Institute (YBGB) to promote support for Black-led and Black-benefitting grassroots organizations nationally, and serve as a culminating effort for Black Philanthropy Month. Its name pays tribute to the transformational moments in history that occurred on August 28: in 1945, it was the day that Jackie Robinson agreed to serve as the catalyst for integration of American Baseball; in 1955, it was the tragic day that 14-year old Chicagoan Emmett Till was murdered in Mississippi; in 1963, it was the day Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous I Have a Dream speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom; in 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the predominantly Black city of New Orleans; and in 2008, it was the day that Barack Obama accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States. I encourage everyone to give if you can during the final hours of the campaign, but if you don’t see this newsletter until later, a donation anytime this week or beyond will always be welcomed by these organizations. If you need suggestions for who to support, I encourage you to learn more about the Chicago Racial Justice Pooled Fund, which provides support for Black-led organizing groups and ally-led groups that are working to address anti-Blackness in their communities. The Pick Fund has been a proud supporter of this effort from its inception.


Again, anyone and everyone has the capacity to be a philanthropist – what can you do to model Love in Action in your life?


Finally, before the summer officially ends, we wanted to reach out and provide some important updates with respect to our grantmaking. We are in the midst of reviewing applications submitted in the Culture and Education focus areas as we prepare for our Fall board meeting in September. We sincerely appreciate the work of the 150 organizations who submitted Letters of Inquiry (LOI), resulting in far more requests than the Pick Fund is capable of supporting. We are truly grateful for your steadfast efforts to improve the quality of life for all Chicagoans and look forward to staying abreast of your progress.

Warmly and In Solidarity,

Heather D. Parish

Executive Director, The Albert Pick, Jr. Fund

2023 Grantmaking Update

For the first time, The Albert Pick, Jr. Fund has utilized a Letter of Inquiry process in order to quickly assess whether there is a match between the foundation and potential grantees, alleviating some of the burden of submitting an entire application. In an effort to streamline applications, simplify processes and hopefully create less burden on grantee applicants, we launched the LOI submission process in May. We were overwhelmed by the response and number of applicants (150!). It was an honor to review the Letters of Inquiry, all submitted by worthy organizations doing critical work in and for the communities of Chicago. Ultimately, the Fund’s Board of Directors had to make some difficult decisions in order to narrow the pool down to 59 organizations who have been asked to submit applications. The 2023 awards will prioritize existing Albert Pick, Jr. Fund grantees, though we hope to make room for new grantees in the near future.
Award decisions will be made at the Fall Board Meeting for Arts and Education grants and at the Winter Board Meeting for Civic Activism and Health and Human Services grants.

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