The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation makes grants in the following program areas: Arts Learning, Education, Employment, and Health. Please review the descriptions of our program areas before submitting a letter of inquiry or proposal.
We make grants only to tax-exempt organizations and rarely fund organizations outside Chicago. We give priority to proposals for specific projects rather than for general operating support. In our review of proposals, we look for strong program design, clear expected outcomes, and procedures for assessing and evaluating programs
Recently, the Fry Foundation transitioned to a new online grants system, SmartSimple.
To submit a proposal or letter of inquiry please use our online portal with the following steps:
An organization must provide a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) to confirm they are a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.
Account Log In Portal — Use this link to log in to the system.
For first-time users of the SmartSimple System, who have submitted an application to the Fry Foundation before, click “Forgot Password” to check if an account has been enabled.
Enter the email address used for the prior application and click “Submit”. Wait 10 minutes to check for an email with a Subject Line “Lloyd A. Fry Foundation Password Reset Request”.
If you have NOT received the Password Reset Email, return to the portal link and click “Register” to create an account.
To begin either a proposal or letter of inquiry application click “Program Areas” to start a new application.
If you have started an application, click “Applications” to return to a saved proposal or letter of inquiry and continue the submission process.
If applicants are unable to access the online grants system, proposals and letters of inquiry may be submitted by email to or by postal service to the address below, however, the process may take longer.
Ms. Unmi Song
Lloyd A. Fry Foundation
120 S. LaSalle Street, Suite 1950
Chicago, IL 60603-3419
Letters of Inquiry Procedures
If you are seeking support for the first time or if you are a returning grantee seeking support for a new project, we highly recommend that you send us a letter of inquiry before you submit a full proposal. While a letter of inquiry is not required prior to submission of a proposal, it will allow us to give you preliminary feedback concerning your request and its potential fit within our funding priorities. Letters of inquiry should include a brief description of the proposed project, a project budget, and other projected sources of support. Typically, a letter of two to three pages is sufficient to help us understand your program.
Unlike formal proposals, there are no deadlines for submitting letters of inquiry. Please allow our program officers 30 days to respond to your request. If you do not receive a response within that time, please contact the Foundation at 312-580-0310 to confirm that your letter was received by us.
For new and renewal requests, full proposals should contain the following elements:
1. Organization's Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Please note that the Foundation makes grants only to tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations. The Foundation rarely funds 509(a)(3) supporting organizations; exceptions sometimes are made for publicly supported charities.
IMPORTANT: If you are unable to provide an EIN during the registration process, you will be unable to begin the online process.
2. Brief history of the organization
Narrative should include a general statement of the organization’s primary functions and goals.
3. Description of the project to be funded
Please include the following:
• A statement of the need to be addressed and the population to be served
• A description of how the planned project will address the identified need
• Clearly stated goals and objectives
• Plans for assessing performance and monitoring progress toward program goals. Please identify at least three indicators or measures that you will track and analyze in order to: understand the effectiveness of services provided; identify program strengths or challenges; or document potential long-term impact. A discussion of progress on these indicators during the grant period (and over time, if receiving more than one grant from the Foundation) should be included in grant reports. For further information, please review the Outcomes and Assessments section on our website which can be found under the How To Apply tab.
• A timeline for project activities
4. Demographics of population served by the project to be funded
5. Organization's most recent audited financial report
6. Operating budget for the organization
Include income and expense projections that pertain to the fiscal year in which the project will take place. Include the percentage of organization income received through earned income, government sources, individual gifts, corporate and foundation grants, and other sources
7. List of current and projected organization funders
Include a list of funders and amounts for the organization for the fiscal year in which the project will take place.
8. Project income and expense budget
Include budget for the project during the duration of the grant period. The Foundation covers reasonable and appropriate administrative expenses. These should be explained in an accompanying budget narrative. For examples of administrative expense line items, please review the Allocating Program and Overhead Expenses article on our website which can be found in our Resources section under Real Costs.
9. List of current and projected project funders
Include a list of funders and amounts for the project for the fiscal year in which the project will take place.
10. List of organization’s professional staff and résumés of key project personnel
Proposals for organizational capacity-building activities that involve outside consultants should include a copy of the consultants' résumés and a list of clients.
11. Organization's employment hiring policy
12. List of board members and their affiliations
13. Racial and gender demographics of board and senior staff
Diversity and inclusion are among the core values of the Foundation. The racial diversity of your board and senior staff is something we monitor closely. A lack of diversity may affect your prospects for funding. Additional demographics, such as sexual orientation or disabilities, also are welcome.
14. Full narrative and financial report on the previous grant (For returning grantees only)
Final reports must be approved by the Foundation before a new request is considered. For organizations submitting a proposal to be reviewed one year from their last grant, the final reports will cover a ten-month period rather than a full twelve months in order to meet the proposal deadline. We ask that final reports and proposals be submitted separately. For more information on this subject, please review the After Grants Approval section on our website which can be found under the How to Apply tab.
Once you have submitted your application online, you will receive an acknowledgment email with a PDF copy of your application for your records.
For further clarification of the Fry Foundation's grantmaking priorities, please refer to the Grantmaking Programs Areas section on the preceding page.
Submission Dates and Board Meetings
The Board of Directors meets quarterly to consider requests for grants. These meetings are held in February, May, August, and November.
In each of those meetings, the Foundation will review proposals in three of the four program areas on a rotating basis; one program each cycle will not review proposals. Please see the chart below for proposal deadline dates and a schedule of proposal review cycles by program.
We must receive your proposal by 5 p.m. on the deadline date in order to review it at the corresponding board meeting. In the event that a deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, requests may be submitted by 5 p.m. on the following business day.