Polk Bros. Foundation Grant

From Polk Bros. Foundation

Polk Bros. Foundation is a private independent foundation dedicated to building and strengthening Chicago's families and communities, especially those most affected by poverty and inequity. The Foundation focuses its work at the intersection of Chicago's most pressing issues to address the complex roots and devastating effects of poverty, challenge inequity, and ensure that all Chicagoans have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Type of Support


Polk Bros. Foundation’s primary focus is support for efforts that address poverty’s complex roots and devastating effects, and which benefit populations of need in disinvested Chicago communities. Very few awards are made to organizations located outside the city of Chicago. Grants are made for both new and ongoing initiatives in six program categories: strong communities, strong families, education, health, arts access and learning, and enhanced capacity. In all areas, proposals should address increased access to services, systems-level change and improvement in the quality of life for area residents.

Initiatives funded within each program categories are as follows:

  • Strong Communities: workforce development, housing, community and economic development, legal services, safe communities
  • Strong Families: youth and family support, including positive youth development, resilient families, and family violence prevention and remediation
  • Education: school improvement and student academic success
  • Health: school-based services and community-based health services
  • Arts Access & Learning: school-based programs and community-based programs
  • Enhanced Capacity: strengthening sectors for efforts that focus on technical assistance, systems integration, collaboration, or advocacy to create resources, improve policies, and facilitate an effective environment

Grant Amounts:

  • Up to $25,000 (organizational budget of $75,000-$500,000) or $25,000+ (organizational budget greater than $500,000)
  • Up to 5 consecutive grants through the small grants program (organizational budget of $75,000-$500,000)


Organization's Location
Program Location
IL (Chicago)
Organization Type
Fiscally-sponsored organizations
Organization Budget And Years
Organization's annual budget is at least 75k
Organization has existed for at least 1 year
  • The Foundation generally does not fund more than 8 percent of an organization's operating budget.
  • Please note that if an interim executive director is in place, we may defer consideration of the organization’s proposal until a permanent replacement has been hired.
  • The Polk Bros. Foundation prefers to fund organizations that work with schools, not the schools themselves.


Organizations that devote a substantial portion of their activities to attempting to influence legislation or to participating in campaigns on behalf of candidates for public office
Religious institutions seeking support for programs whose participants are restricted by religious affiliation or whose services promote a particular creed
Purchase of fundraising dinner or raffle tickets or advertising in dinner/gala programs
Medical, scientific or academic research
Tax-generating entities (including municipalities, school districts or individual schools) for services within their normal responsibilities
Generally, Polk Bros. Foundation does not make grants to fund the production of documentaries about Chicago, media campaigns, or research
not specified


You may submit applications every year.
Step 1: Pre-proposal
Application deadlines
Jul 1
Oct 1
Step 2: Full proposal (invite only)
Required Attachments
501(c)(3) Letter
Form 990
Board List
Organizational Budget
Project Budget
Contact info
(312) 527-4684
20 West Kinzie Street, Suite 1110, Chicago, IL 60654-5815