Chicago Community Trust

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The Chicago Community Trust
FounderNorman Wait Harris and Albert Wadsworth Harris[1][2]
TypeCommunity Foundation
Area served
Key people
  • Helene D. Gayle
  • (President and CEO)
  • Jason Baxendale
  • (Vice President, Development and Donor Services)
  • Jessica Strausbaugh
  • (Chief Financial Officer)
  • Tom Irvine
  • (Chief Information Officer)
  • Daniel Ash
  • (Chief Marketing Officer)
Endowment$2.6 billion (2016)[4]

The Chicago Community Trust (The Trust), headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, is a community foundation made to (according to their website) "give local residents an opportunity to support their community in perpetuity".[6]


The Chicago Community Trust was founded in 1915 by bankers Norman Wait Harris and Albert Wadsworth Harris, and was initially presented to the board of Harris Trust & Savings Bank. The Trust's first donation was $200,000.[2] Norman died the following year,[7] with his son Albert taking over the Trust.

An early history of the Trust was written by Frank D. Loomis, an early leader of the Trust. It covers the Trust and its development during 1915–1962.[8] However, this account does not criticize the Trust or the motives of any of its trustees.[9]

Loomis later wrote a more detailed piece on the development of community foundations, after his retirement from the Trust. In this piece, Loomis mentioned how he thinks banks shouldn't be handling non-profit organizations as it points to their greedier motives, and raised the question: "A bank is a corporation organized for profit; should it also manage and control a charitable institution organized not-for-profit?"[9]

The Chicago Community Trust is also the second oldest and one of the largest community foundations in the United States.[2][6]


Grant types[edit]

The Chicago Community Trust offers a variety of grants such as:[10][11]

  • GO Grants: Launched in 2015, these grants are awarded to local partnered nonprofit organizations that target that issues associated with the daily quality of life of all the residents.
  • Inspiring Philanthropy Grants: Newly launched in 2016, this grant program awards grants ranging from $2,500 to $25,000 in order to inspire philanthropy among the community.
  • Innovation Fund Grants: Another newly launched program in 2016, this grant program seeks to grants funds to foster innovation that can impact the entire community.

Partnerships and initiatives[edit]

The Trust offers grants through partnerships, such as:

The Trust also offers grants through its own initiatives such as:

Grant eligibility[edit]

The Trust awards grants to nonprofit organizations that can provide evidence of tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that are not classified as private foundations. All grants also have individual criteria.[10]

Grants are only awarded to organizations that benefit those livings in the Chicago region,[10] and only awards grants in the following counties:[27]



Some of the Community Sponsors of the Trust include:[28]


Some of the Supporting Sponsors of the Trust include:[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "History". The Chicago Community Trust. Retrieved 2016-09-11.
  2. ^ a b c d "Albert Wadsworth Harris and Kemah Farm" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-09-13.
  3. ^ a b "Our Staff". Chicago Community Trust. Retrieved 2016-09-11.
  4. ^ "MacArthur, Chicago Community Trust create low-interest loan program for nonprofits". Crains. Retrieved 2016-09-13.
  5. ^ "Chicago Community Trust". Retrieved 2016-09-11.
  6. ^ a b "About Us > History |". Retrieved 2016-09-12.
  7. ^ "Norman Waite Harris". geni_family_tree. Retrieved 2016-09-14.
  8. ^ Loomis, Frank Denman (1962-01-01). The Chicago Community Trust: A History of Its Development 1915-62. Chicago Community Trust.
  9. ^ a b Hardy, Mark (May 2012). "Defining Community Need Through the Lens of the Elite: A History of the Indianapolis Foundation and Its Funding of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, 1893-1984" (PDF). Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  10. ^ a b c "Grant Overview, The Chicago Community Trust". The Chicago Community Trust. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
  11. ^ Anne Meis Knupfer (2006). The Chicago Black Renaissance and Women's Activism. University of Illinois Press. pp. 40–1. ISBN 978-0-252-07293-2.
  12. ^ "Grant Applications". Arts Work Fund. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  13. ^ UGC, Chicago Tribune. "McHenry County Community Foundation Becomes an Affiliate of The Chicago Community Trust". Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  14. ^ Tribune, Chicago. "Millions pledged to fight Chicago violence have yet to be disbursed". Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  15. ^ "Hive Chicago Fund for Connected Learning - Hive Chicago". Hive Chicago. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  16. ^ "Springboard Foundation Grant Process |". Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  17. ^ "The Community Foundation of Will County - An Affiliate of The Chicago Community trust". Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  18. ^ " | Growing Philanthropy, Building Community". Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  19. ^ "Helping black communities help themselves". tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  20. ^ "Young Leaders Fund, an initiative of The Chicago Community Trust | Facebook". Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  21. ^ "The Chicago Community Trust's Identity-Focus Funds - Chicago | Grants | Fundraising - Inside Philanthropy". Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  22. ^ "The LGBT Community Fund Request for Proposals Community Grants - Gay Lesbian Bi Trans News Archive". Windy City Times. 2016-09-01. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  23. ^ "Nuestro Futuro reception". SPLASH. 2012-12-07. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  24. ^ Center, Foundation. "Searle Funds at Chicago Community Trust Launches Local Food Initiative". Philanthropy News Digest (PND). Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  25. ^ "Community Foundation Initiative | Center for Muslim Philanthropy". Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  26. ^ "Chicago Community Trust: Asian Giving Circle". Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  27. ^ "Strategic Plan Q&A" (PDF). The Chicago Community Trust. 25 January 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  28. ^ a b "The Chicago Community Trust". The Chicago Community Trust. Retrieved 2016-09-12.