How to Apply


Funding Eligibility

The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation makes grants in the following program areas: Arts Learning, Education, Employment, and Health.

The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation supports organizations with the strength and commitment to address persistent problems of urban Chicago resulting from poverty, violence, ignorance, and despair. We seek to build the capacity of individuals and the systems that serve them. Our vision is a Chicago that offers education, prosperity and hope for all.

The Foundation focuses on programs that improve conditions for low-income, underserved communities in Chicago, and we are especially interested in efforts that will foster learning and innovation.

We award grants in four program areas: Arts Learning, Education, Employment, and Health. Please refer to the Program Areas section for a description of funding priorities in each program area. Across all four program areas, we give priority to:

  • Programs with a demonstrated record of high-quality, effective services
  • Efforts to improve the quality and effectiveness of programs and services (these might include program design, evaluation or staff development efforts, among others)
  • The development of innovative approaches that will contribute valuable examples, information, and knowledge to others working in the field
  • The Foundation also considers policy advocacy efforts that help ensure low-income communities and individuals in Chicago are treated fairly and have access to the services they need and deserve.

The Foundation is interested in investing in organizations and ideas that demonstrate exceptional potential for making a difference in one or more of the Foundation's four grantmaking areas. These projects show promise of developing new information or program innovations useful to other organizations, institutions, and policymakers. And these projects demonstrate potential to help advance the field of practice. In these cases, the Foundation will consider grants which represent larger or longer-term commitments than is otherwise typical.

In all reviews of applications, we look for strong program designs with clear expected outcomes and specific procedures for assessing and evaluating progress. Please review the descriptions of our program areas before submitting a letter of inquiry or proposal. Learn more about how to apply.

We make grants only to tax-exempt organizations and rarely fund organizations outside Chicago. We give priority to applications for specific projects rather than for general operating support.

What the Foundation Does Not Fund

In general, the Foundation does not make grants to individuals, governmental entities, or 509(a)(3) supporting organizations, although exceptions sometimes are made for publicly supported charities. We also do not provide funding for: general operating expenses for new grantees, capital projects, endowments, fundraising events, political activities, medical research, or religious purposes.

We rarely fund unsolicited applications from organizations based outside Chicago. When exceptions are made, we look for organizations with strong local board leaders who are responsible for establishing program priorities and policies in Chicago. In addition, organizations must agree that funds awarded for Chicago-based programs remain in Chicago and are not included in calculations of funds exchanged between local and national offices.

NEXT: Overview >