We encourage all applicants to read our funding guidelines thoroughly as changes to several program categories went into effect in 2018. Please feel free to 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 on 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.
The Board meets four times each year to review eligible requests. Applications in all Program Categories will be reviewed at each meeting. All applications must be submitted online and are due by 5:00 pm on the deadline date. The Fund will not review incomplete or late applications.
Please refer to our HOW TO APPLY to see the most current application deadlines.
COMMUNITY AND CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
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.
ARTS WITHIN NON-ARTS ORGANIZATIONS
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.
ENGAGING APPROACHES TO LEARNING
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. Examples include in-school programs that make learning more enjoyable and relevant to young people, after-school programs that explore academic subjects from a different angle or clubs that challenge students to think analytically or creatively, professional development for CPS teachers provided by an external STEM organization, a science summer program or an organization that promotes STEM careers to girls. The Fund gives special consideration to programs that are intentionally inclusive and accessible to children and youth of all abilities.
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
VIOLENCE AFFECTING YOUTH
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.
UTILIZATION OF HEALTH SERVICES BY CHILDREN AND YOUTH
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 LGBT 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: Pick 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.