To learn how to apply, please click on the steps below.

The website provides information about the Foundation’s history, mission, previous grants, and program areas. This information is helpful to understand when deciding whether or not to apply for funding.
If you believe that your organization and program fit within the focus of the Foundation’s mission and program areas, you must then decide if the agency meets the General Guidelines of the Foundation. Please review the General Guidelines carefully to determine eligibility.

Download the General Guidelines here.

*Additional criteria apply to capital grants. However, the application process is the same as program grants. Please read the capital grant criteria below if your agency is considering applying for a capital grant.

The Foundation asks that requests for support of large capital campaigns of major cultural institutions, institutions of higher education and hospitals be preceded by a formal conversation with Foundation staff so as to determine the project’s fit with the Foundation’s priorities.

The Foundation will consider requests for support of capital needs. Projects may include the purchase or renovation of facilities, repairs and maintenance of physical infrastructure, or (in rare cases) the purchase of building mechanicals i.e. plumbing. Preference will be given to organizations that consider environmentally friendly features. Requests for computer or media equipment will not be considered. Certain further restrictions and criteria apply, as described below.

Capital requests from these organizations for the repair, maintenance or replacement of physical infrastructure that is critical to efficient program operations are a higher priority.

As a general rule, the Foundation prefers to consider capital requests after at least 50 percent of the total project costs have already been committed from other sources. [Exceptions to this are rare and should be discussed with the Foundation's Executive Director prior to submitting a proposal.]

The Foundation will give preference to the capital needs of smaller, community-based agencies primarily in cases where a grant from the Field Foundation will have a significant impact on the agency's ability to secure additional resources to complete the project. Such projects will be given priority over multi-year, multi-million dollar capital campaigns.

Capital grants will rarely exceed $50,000.

The Foundation accepts grant inquires three times a year. Applicants should anticipate the application process to take approximately four months from the initial submission to the receipt of funding.

The deadlines for the submission of proposals are:

  • January 15
  • May 15
  • September 15

Regardless of day and date all proposals must be received by 5pm CST.

*If the deadline falls on a weekend, the next Monday becomes the deadline. In the rare case where the deadline falls on the weekend and the next Monday is a holiday, Tuesday becomes the deadline.

The Self-Certification Checklist is a required form that outlines everything that must be included in the grant proposal. This form not only helps agencies ensure that they are including all of the required information for grant applications, but it also helps Foundation staff during the review process. There are additional questions that must be answered on this form as well. The checklist will help you start assembling your grant proposal packet.
Once you have reviewed the program areas, general guidelines, and self-certification checklist and believe you are eligible to apply for funding, you can begin to assemble your proposal packet.

Proposals must include the following items:

  • The Self-Certification Checklist Form;
  • A cover letter summarizing why financial aid is requested and the amount of money sought;
  • A proposal narrative that includes a brief history and background of the organization and description of the program for which support is requested, including an explanation of what the grant is expected to accomplish, how the program will be carried out and by whom. Please identify the methods and procedures which will be used to evaluate its effectiveness. Include the program budget and how it will be financed in total, for the years(s) to which grant funding will apply. The proposal narrative should not exceed six pages;
  • An agency budget for the current fiscal year;
  • A project budget that indicates income and expenses;
  • A current audit (no more than 12 months old) and an audit for the previous fiscal year, showing three previous years of financials total;
  • A list of current project and agency funders;
  • A list of the board of directors and their professional affiliations; and,
  • A copy of the IRS 501c3 nonprofit designation letter.

**If the organization has a fiscal sponsor, include the Supplemental Fiscal Agent information provided with the Self-Certification checklist.

Proposals must be received via hard copy at the Field Foundation’s office by 5pm of the submission deadline:

200 S. Wacker Drive
Suite 3860
Chicago, IL 60606

The Foundation does not accept grant requests electronically.

Once the proposal has been received, the Foundation will send a postcard acknowledging the proposal submission. After the submission deadline passes, the Foundation’s internal review process begins.

A program officer reviews the proposal and determines whether or not the request fits within the Foundation’s general guidelines: If the request is deemed not a strong fit with the Foundation’s guidelines and priorities, a letter is sent immediately declining the proposed grant. If the request fits within the guidelines, the program staff begins a full evaluation.

The program officer may do a site visit, telephone interview, or invite the applicant into the Foundation office for an assessment.

If the proposal is approved for funding by the Board, a grant contract is sent to the grantee. Grant payments are normally made approximately one month following the board meeting.

Applicants should anticipate the application process to take approximately four months from the initial submission to the receipt of funding.

All organizations that have received a grant from the Field Foundation are required to submit a Final Report within 30 days of the grant’s one-year expiration. The Field Foundation uses this report to better understand organizations’ experiences and to inform its grantmaking at an aggregate level in various priority areas. The Foundation hopes to learn with you and from you, recognizing that projects often turn out differently than planned.