Field News

For Journalists of Color, Tracking by Race During COVID is About EQUITY

By Field News

Alex Garcia, Three Story Media


By Lolly Bowean
Program Officer, Media & Storytelling

Many residents were just starting to feel the fatigue of mandatory quarantines and self-distancing to prevent the rapid spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus when Charles Blow of the New York Times, Michael Harriot of The Root, Elliot Ramos and Maria Ines Zamudio of WBEZ took to social media to demand data correlated based on race.

It wasn’t an attempt to divide, Harriot explained in a Twitter thread last week. But rather it was an effort to call attention to the most vulnerable communities that have less access to health care while suffering from many underlying conditions. Harriot pointed out that African Americans are often dismissed by health care professionals and are most likely to be on the front line working in low-wage positions at grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants and other places deemed essential.

“People keep wondering why we want to inject race into a global pandemic,” Harriot explained. “Seriously, Coronavirus is racist. Not only does it seem to target black areas, but the CDC’s list of factors that may exacerbate COVID-19 all disproportionately affect blacks.”

These journalists were simply doing their jobs—asking the tough questions and publicly shaming institutions for not responding to information requests. Yet, buried in their push for statistics was the validation that African American, Latinx, Asian, Arab, Native American (ALAANA) journalists and journalism organizations are needed now more than ever.

Throughout the region, small ALAANA owned and focused news organizations are filling the information gaps and using their limited resources to spread the news to their communities.

Here in Chicago, The Crusader began chronicling the death toll and publishing obituaries for African American residents who died because of the virus.

In their emailed newsletters, The Chicago Defender and Bronzecomm have been publishing lists of resources: where lower-income residents can access free food, how they can sign up for rental assistance and where they can find protective face masks and gloves.

On top of their full-time reporting jobs, Maria Ines Zamudio of WBEZ and Laura N. Rodriguez Presa of the Chicago Tribune started a Spanish-language podcast to translate the message for non-English speaking audiences. That effort, Zamudio said, came in part because she had to call her mother every morning and translate the COVID related news for her.

“This is for your mom, your tia and la vecina chismosa,” she wrote on her Twitter feed, which means your uncle or aunt and gossipy neighbor.

On the national stage, it has been ALAANA journalists using their platforms to call even more attention to the disparities and call out the inequities and racism attached to the response.

Take the columnist Charles Blow, who has criticized the federal government for politicizing the crisis by first racializing it as a “Chinese virus,” and later failing to acknowledge how it impacts the black community.

“I’m particularly frustrated by the lack of data,” he said in a recent Twitter Live conversation that he hosted to discuss the virus’ impact on minority communities. “I do not understand the lack of race-specific data being made available. It should be there.

“Tell people who is most affected and it saves lives,” he said.

The work of these ALAANA journalists means that organizers can advocate for resources and community servants can focus on the people most in need.

As one of the only black journalists in the White House press corps in the 1950s, Ethel Payne said doing her job often meant asking the questions no one else would, and putting race and disparity at the center of the conversation. Payne, who wrote for the Defender, would use her questions to force even the mainstream media to pay attention to issues that plagued black America, she said.

“The white press was so busy asking questions on other issues that the blacks and their problems were completely ignored,” Payne said, according to Eye on the Struggle, a best-selling biography that chronicles her life. “I would think carefully about what kinds of questions I would ask …”

By asking questions about race relative to COVID, today’s journalists of color are doing just what Payne did decades ago—putting the focus right where it belongs. And making a conversation that was isolated to one community a national priority.




Lolly Bowean is the Media & Storytelling Program Officer. The goals of the Field Foundation’s Media & Storytelling program, a partnership with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Democracy Fund, are to: create more just and inclusive narratives about Chicago that foster policy change; amplify the voices and impact of African, Latinx, Asian, Arab and Native American journalists, media makers and storytellers in the local media landscape; and support more reporting and storytelling by traditional and alternative journalism platforms about the root causes of the city’s inequities. Learn more about our program here.

Our next deadline for submission is May 15.

The Field Foundation is proud to partner with the McCormick Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Driehaus, Polk Bros. and the Chicago Community Trust to support ALAANA journalists and small media organizations working to gather information related to the COVID-19 crisis. Apply for emergency funds here.

BE READY: Census 2020 Count Me In IL

By Field News

A few years ago, I invited a former student of mine to talk with a group about preparing for the world of work after graduation. Her presentation was smart, thoughtful and funny. Someone in the class then asked her what was the best advice she had ever received. Her answer was, “be ready to be ready.” Her father, an immigrant from China, had repeated these words over and over to his daughter when she was young, and it stuck.

Years later—this mantra, “be ready to be ready” sticks with me. It’s something I say (and think) all the time. It can be when my kids have a test coming up or a pop quiz feels eminent or when I learn of new issues from our grantees and think of all the ways we at Field can help. When ideas flow in our program meetings and my hand starts to sketch out the solutions in bright graphic designs. Even now, as every day brings a new challenge and we must rebalance our lives in new ways, we all live in a constant state of being ready to be ready.

Being ready today involves a mix of tending to the firehose of what is considered immediate needs and making sure to not sleep on what is critical long-term equity work and strategy. Getting our national infrastructure ready for the next decade falls into this latter category and why so many of us are urging folks to complete the U.S. 2020 Census.

Consider this: the U.S. 2020 Census affects funding for schools, roads and hospitals, firefighters, and resources for people who need it most. It helps elect community leaders on school boards and city councils.

We receive more than $20 billion of the $675 billion in federal funding through U.S. Census data annually. This funding is critical—especially for marginalized communities—be they urban or rural.

At Field, we are proud of our involvement in the IL Count Me In 2020 initiative at Forefront where dozens of foundations came together over the past year to generate more than $1.75 million in needed resources to nonprofit partners throughout the state—especially those working with hard to count communities to help get every person in Illinois counted.

We are also proud of so many in the nonprofit sector, many of our grantees, all of the community-based organizations who have spent the past year readying to get a sound count out despite rhetoric and mixed messaging. In this moment, competition for our attention is at an all-time high as the newsfeeds, tweets, emails and opinions crowd us all. There are so many questions to consider in this moment: Should you wear a mask? Do you wear gloves? Can I see my friends or co-workers? And, how can all the planning to execute a sound Census work in this quarantined world?

The moment calls for us to react quickly while preparing for an incredible new day on the horizon.

Illinois stands to lose out on tremendous resources and state representation in Washington. The Census isn’t just a document declaring who we are, it demands we are heard and given the power and resources we deserve. We must be ready to be ready, right now—from our homes—by going online, by calling the Census Bureau, or by filling out your paper form when it arrives in the mail.

If history has provided any insight for us, it is this—we will come through this and when we do, we can be better for it.

To learn more, please visit

To complete the 2020 Census,


Mark Murray
Vice President, Programs and Administration, Field Foundation
Co-Chair, IL Count Me In 2020

Welcome Our New Media & Storytelling Program Officer, Lolly Bowean!

By Field News

We are so excited to share with you that beginning April 1, 2020, award-winning journalist, Lolly Bowean, will become the Field Foundation’s new Media & Storytelling Program Officer.

Lolly Bowean was a general assignment reporter at the Chicago Tribune for more than 15 years with a focus on urban affairs, youth culture, housing, Chicago communities and government relations. She wrote primarily about Chicago’s unique African American community and the development of the Obama Presidential Center.

During her tenure, she covered the death of Nelson Mandela, violence in troubled neighborhoods, and the 2008 election and inauguration of President Barack Obama. Most recently, she wrote about the election of Chicago’s first African American woman mayor, Lori Lightfoot. In addition, she’s covered Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the last gathering of the original Tuskegee Airmen.

Before joining the Chicago Tribune, Bowean covered suburban crime, government and environmental issues for the Times-Picayune in NewOrleans.

She has been published in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, Lenny Letter and Longreads. She has served as a contributing instructor for the Poynter Institute and lectured at the Art Institute of Chicago. She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and is the former program officer for the Chicago Headline Club. She was a 2017 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and is a Studs Terkel Award winner. In 2019 she became the first African American awarded the Gene Burd Urban Journalism Award. She is a Pulitzer prize-nominated writer who lives on the South Side of Chicago.




The goals of the Field Foundation’s Media & Storytelling program are to create more just and inclusive narratives about Chicago that foster policy change; amplify the voices and impact of African, Latinx, Asian, Arab and Native American journalists, media makers and storytellers in the local media landscape; and support more reporting and storytelling by traditional and alternative journalism platforms about the root causes of the city’s inequities.

To learn more about this program area, visit

Launching Nation’s First Innovation-Focused Philanthropy Center in Chicago – March 2020

By Field News, Uncategorized



Emerald-Jane Hunter
(312) 291-1099


FBRK Impact House Will Serve and Support Family Foundations, Grant Makers and Impact Investors Committed to Social Change

NOVEMBER 13, 2019 – CHICAGO, IL – Israel Idonije, entrepreneur, humanitarian and former NFL player, broke ground on the ​FBRK Impact House​ at 200 W. Madison Street in Chicago. Set to open in March 2020, the 45,000 square-foot space will be the city’s first innovation-focused philanthropy center dedicated to serving and supporting grant makers, family foundations and impact investors.

Local foundations, media and Chicagoans attended the groundbreaking event, which revealed design plans, reinforced the need for the facility and further discussed the vision for the new space. The event featured remarks from Idonije, as well as Candace Moore, Chief Equity Officer for the City of Chicago and Angelique Power, President, The Field Foundation.

FBRK Impact House, founded by Israel Idonije is the result of a shared vision between FBRK, The Field Foundation, Woods Fund, United States Artists and Forefront, with the core desire to unify Chicago’s Impact Community, break down silos, encourage collaboration and provide greater access to opportunities.

FBRK Impact House will serve as a membership-based work club with a thoughtfully designed ecosystem to provide a balance of private offices, work space, meeting and conference rooms where impact organizations can work together, collaborate and operate with greater efficiency.

“Chicago is filled with wonderful people who are committed to making our city better,” said Idonije. “FBRK Impact House will offer an inviting, transparent environment to foster relationships among organizations — a framework in which the philanthropic community will thrive.”

According to the most recent Giving in Illinois report, there are more than 5,200 grant-making institutions in the state, managing more than $39 billion in assets. Together, these organizations have reached a giving record of $4.6 billion in 2016 – collectively nearly tripling the amount of giving since 2006.

Despite this, challenges for grant-making institutions often include working in isolation, having laborious application and review practices and being intimidating to approach. FBRK Impact House will provide a creative and safe space for these organizations to meet, ideate and collaborate. The FBRK Impact House will be the first space of its kind in the country.

“Our vision is to create an open, loving community where it is easy to interact with philanthropy,” commented Angelique Power, president of The Field Foundation, an anchor tenant of FBRK Impact House. “We’ve created different spaces in the facility to connect – a restaurant, conference rooms, podcast rooms, as well as are offering Forefront programming. We are providing various opportunities to exchange ideas, learn from and with each other and to share backend costs.”

FBRK Impact House will occupy three floors of the 200 W. Madison building owned by Multi-Employer Property Trust (MEPT) advised by BentallGreenOak. It will include a public worklounge and restaurant on the street-level first floor, with membership access to the offices, lounges and amenities on the second and third floors.

FBRK Impact House is partnered with Leopardo for construction, BOX Studio for architecture and design, The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group, as well as tenant advisors Larry Serota, Cece Conway and Holly Bailey of Transwestern.

With a commitment to working together more transparently and collaboratively to bring more benefit to Chicago and beyond, FBRK Impact House will open its doors in March 2020 with many prestigious organizations in its inaugural community. In addition to the anchor tenants, FBRK Impact House will be the new home for A Better Chicago, Chicago Public Library Foundation, Children First Fund, Pillars Fund and Knight Family Foundation. Grant makers, family foundations and impact investors will also be able to join the FBRK Impact House community and take advantage of the numerous amenities and opportunities through an annual Access Membership.

To learn more about FBRK Impact House and Access Membership, please visit:​.

About FBRK Impact House​: FBRK Impact House is Chicago’s first innovation-focused philanthropy center dedicated to serving and supporting grant makers, family foundations and impact investors. FBRK Impact House is a division of FBRK, LLC, based in Chicago, IL. For more information visit ​​.


Click here to visit our FBRK Impact House page.

Fall 2019 Grantees

By Field News, Grantees, Uncategorized

Field Foundation Board Members and Life Directors met on September 19 and approved our latest round of grantees. These organizations represent our grantmaking model of Community Empowerment through Justice, Art, Media & Storytelling and Leadership Investment. Our Justice portfolio focuses on systemic intervention work led by ALAANA (African Latinx Asian Arab and Native American) organizers working in communities across Chicago. Note the work this round we are honored to support in affordable housing, immigration, and cannabis legalization. The Art portfolio focuses on space-making and capacity-building, with continued emphasis on the intersections within Art and Justice. The inaugural Media & Storytelling portfolio supports ALAANA leadership and outlets that are taking multifaceted approaches to disrupting inequities within the media map. And our Leadership Investment portfolio doubles down on supporting the visionaries across our city working in our program areas of Justice, Art and Media & Storytelling. We are proud of our Fall 2019 grantees and are inspired by their bold vision and work.

Justice portfolio


Art portfolio


Media & Storytelling portfolio


Leadership Investment portfolio


Field Foundation Announces Its First Leaders For A New Chicago Award Recipients

By Field News

PHONE: 773.704.7246



CHICAGO — The Field Foundation today announced the 14 recipients of its inaugural Leaders for a New Chicago award, supported by a $2.1 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to expand the definition of leadership in Chicago.

“In Chicago we have no shortage of brilliant minds working every day to change lives and reshape our city,” said Angelique Power, president, the Field Foundation. “We are so honored to be in partnership with the MacArthur Foundation as we hand over a megaphone, share resources, and then sit back and watch as these incredible people continue to soar, bringing our city to more just and beautiful places than we could’ve ever imagined.”

Although more than 60 percent of Chicago residents are from African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and Native American (ALAANA) communities, the city’s civic leadership does not reflect these demographics or the influence of other individuals and communities whose voices are often not heard.

The Leaders for a New Chicago award recognizes a range of established and emerging leaders who work across boundaries to build a Chicago that is responsive and equitable to all.


Monica Cosby, a leader of the participatory defense work at Westside Justice Center and one of the leading advocates for incarcerated women and the fight for post-incarceration rights in Chicago.

Luis Gutiérrez, founder of Latinos Progresando, which helps Latino immigrants navigate the complexities of the U.S. immigration system and is the largest, Latinx-led immigration legal clinic in the state.

Darryl Holliday, co-founder and News Lab director at City Bureau, a civic newsroom based on Chicago’s South Side that has created a community-centered model for accountability journalism.

• Aymar Jean Christian, a scholar, producer, and writer/director, started Open Television in 2015 as a platform for intersectional media programming by Chicago-based artists.

• Tonika Lewis Johnson, a visual artist/photographer from Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, who explores urban segregation and documents the nuance and richness of the black community.

• Page May, advocate, community organizer and co-founder of Assata’s Daughters, which creates a space where Black youth can learn political education from Black women and gender non-conforming people.

• Heather Miller (Wyandotte Nation), executive director of the American Indian Center, also serves as a Chicago-based advocate for the American Indian community through an art-centered focus.

• Emmanuel Pratt, co-founder and executive director of the Sweet Water Foundation, which practices Regenerative Neighborhood Development to transform vacant spaces and abandoned buildings in the Englewood and Washington Park neighborhoods on Chicago’s South Side.

• Viveka Ray-Mazumder, manager of youth organizing and the KINETIC program at Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago, works to mobilize, coordinate, and encourage civic engagement and grassroots organizing among Asian American and immigrant youth in Chicago.

• Analia Rodriguez, a lifelong advocate for immigrant, labor, and women’s rights and executive director of Latino Union of Chicago. Rodriguez develops the leadership capacity of low-wage, immigrant workers so they can lead the fight themselves.

• Sarah Ross, co-founder and co-director of Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project, which works at the intersection of art and justice, collaborating with incarcerated artists and writers to exhibit their work and engage in dialogue.

• Imelda Salazar, a longtime champion for justice in Southwest Chicago, first as a fully engaged community resident, then as a leader and now as an organizer with the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP).

• Carlos Tortolero, a former Chicago Public Schools educator, is the founder and president of the National Museum of Mexican Art, a platform for driving civic dialogue through art exhibitions in Chicago’s Pilsen community.

• J. Gibran Villalobos, Partnership and Engagement Liaison with the Museum of Contemporary Art, who develops relationships with community-based organizations and artists through outreach and community engagement to amplify ALAANA voices in the arts.

“The city is eager for broader perspectives and new ways of telling our collective story,” said MacArthur President Julia Stasch. “These awards will ensure more voices contribute to the decisions that shape our city. MacArthur is proud to partner with Field to increase access for innovative and effective individuals and organizations that reflect the city’s diversity. This is an opportunity for philanthropy to begin to reimagine how we recognize the leadership and power that exists in communities.”

Based on the Field Foundation’s innovative grantmaking model of Community Empowerment through Justice, Art, Media & Storytelling and Leadership Investment, no-strings attached awards of $25,000 go to each of the 14 leaders, and an additional $25,000 goes to the general operating funds of their affiliated organizations.

As Chicago redefines itself, the Leaders for a New Chicago award will advance equity and access to opportunity. It will foster conditions that recognize and promote individuals who bring a broad diversity of backgrounds and experiences to civic debate about the city’s future.

The awardees are leaders who impact the civic and cultural life of our city. Whether they are well known or on the rise, the awardees all work to achieve a vision of a more equitable and just Chicago.

About the Field Foundation
Founded in 1940 by Marshall Field III, the Field Foundation is a private, independent foundation that has been dedicated to the promise of Chicago for more than 80 years. The Field Foundation aims its grantmaking toward the goal of Community Empowerment through Justice, Art, Media & Storytelling and Leadership Investment. With racial equity at the center of its giving, it directs dollars to critical organizations working to address systemic issues in Chicago and aims to directly benefit some of our city’s most divested communities. Learn more at Field Foundation.

About the MacArthur Foundation
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. MacArthur is placing a few big bets that truly significant progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges, including over-incarceration, global climate change, nuclear risk and corruption in Nigeria. In addition to the MacArthur Fellows Program, the Foundation continues its historic commitments to the role of journalism in a responsible and responsive democracy, as well as the strength and vitality of our headquarters city, Chicago. MacArthur has invested $1.4 billion in over 1,500 organizations and individuals across the Chicago region, more than any other place around the world. The Foundation’s Chicago Commitment is focused on strengthening organizations, contributing to civic partnerships, investing in vital communities, advancing influential and diverse leaders and cultivating creative expression and art.


For full 2019 Leaders bios, visit Meet the 2019 Leaders or click here:

Meet the 2019 Leaders

Spring 2019 Grantees

By Field News, Grantees

Announcing our spring 2019 grantees. Field Foundation board members and life directors met on May 29 and approved our latest round of grantees. These organizations represent our Art and Justice portfolios in our grantmaking model of Community Empowerment through Justice, Art, Media & Storytelling and Leadership Investment. This portfolio consists of organizations who are not only doing transformative work on the south and west sides of our city, but also on a citywide level. They are influencing creative ecosystems, economies, policy agendas, and conversations around equity that significantly impact their communities. We are confident that our 2019 Spring grantees will elevate Chicago’s landscape through alliances that create investment opportunities in heat map communities. We are proud to support and partner with these amazing organizations!



Leaders and Media & Storytelling: Two New Initiatives

By Field News





CHICAGO  — The Field Foundation is launching two new programs, supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to help make Chicago more racially equitable. These initiatives will award $5 million in grants for areas, organizations and individuals often left out of philanthropic giving. They will nurture new sources of civic and media leadership for Chicago’s future.

As Chicago redefines itself, Leaders for a New Chicago will advance equity and access to opportunity, and foster conditions that recognize and promote people who bring a broad diversity of background and experience to leadership positions. Leaders for a New Chicago is now accepting nominationsThe Media & Storytelling program, with additional support from the Democracy Fund, will open for applications April 15, 2019. Both programs will further boost the Field Foundation’s innovative grantmaking model of Community Empowerment through Justice, Art, and Leadership Investment.




For full Press Release click here:


For full Leaders for a New Chicago info click here:


For full description of Media & Storytelling program click here:


Winter 2019 Grantees

By Field News, Grantees

Announcing our winter 2019 grantees. Field Foundation board members and life directors met on January 23rd and approved our latest round of grantees. These organizations represent our grantmaking model of Community Empowerment through Justice, Art, and Leadership Investment. This portfolio consists of organizations who are taking us into new and exciting territories. Many are recently conceived organizations with innovative and creative projects working towards fighting racial injustices, creating opportunities for immigrant and refugee communities, and envisioning a new Chicagoland. Our 2019 Winter grantees are deeply committed to developing community leaders and stronger alliances for advocacy work, and with our support (and hopefully yours too), we are confident they will continue to push boundaries to transform Chicago.

Fall 2018 Grantees

By Field News, Grantees

Join us in welcoming our new grantees. Field Foundation Board Members and Life Directors met on September 21st and approved our latest round of grantees. These organizations represent our grantmaking model of Community Empowerment through Justice, Art, and Leadership Investment and align with our priorities of funding organizations that are working on root causes of issues, exploring creative enterprise, redefining narrative and storytelling and leading Chicago to new places. We are so honored and proud to support this group of organizations!