THE FIELD FOUNDATION makes grants in two ways. The main form of grantmaking is through its traditional Program Grants that are accepted three times a year. The Foundation also accepts small grant proposals through the Special Considerations Fund which are accepted year-round.

Field Foundation Funding Eligibility

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 over 80 years. The Field Foundation aims its grantmaking toward the goal of Community Empowerment through funding nonprofits working in Justice, Art, Media & Storytelling and Leadership Investment.

Vision: The Field Foundation seeks to invest in organizations working to address systemic issues in divested communities. At the center of the Field Foundation’s work is the idea of community empowerment. We want to clarify that we do not claim to “empower” the “powerless,” rather we see many of Chicago’s community-based organizations as immense sources of power that need support. We envision these “local power grids” as organizations, networks, alliances and seek to learn more about them for potential investment of our limited dollars.  Community empowerment is also our personal north star. A way of asking the sector to hold us accountable for our work, and to ensure that our dollars are spent on powering specific communities.



The Field Foundation is interested in investing 60% of its portfolio in a range of community-based organizations with an emphasis on ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and Native American) organizations throughout the Chicagoland area. ALAANA organizations can be classified in the following way: By, for, and about serving ALAANA individuals, cultures, and communities. To assess whether your organization fits into this definition, please consider the following:

  • BY: Your leadership and board are directed, managed, and/or led by majority ALAANA individuals.
  • FOR: Your organization primarily works to improve social conditions for ALAANA cultures, communities, and individuals.
  • ABOUT: Your organization’s mission references your commitment to serving ALAANA communities.

While the Field Foundation will continue to fund a range of nonprofits, we will be race explicit in our work, and focus on understanding how funding with a racial equity lens can improve outcomes for Chicagoans.


To understand how need and race align throughout the city of Chicago, the Field Foundation created a series of maps. The maps outline a geographic study area where less than 10% of the residents are from Caucasian backgrounds, and analyze quality of life indicators such as educational outcomes, access to health insurance, commute times, violence rates, and access to arts and culture in those areas. By overlaying race with these quality of life indicators, the Field Foundation found that there is an incredible divestment of resources leading to a nexus of poverty and trauma that align with communities of color in Chicago. Using these findings in collaboration with our racial priorities, we have created the following geographic funding preferences:

  1. Study Area – (A) Organizations located and working in these communities
  2. Surrounding areas – (B) Organizations located and working in communities surrounding the heatmap area
  3. Surrounding suburbs – (C) Organizations located and working in the surrounding suburbs within Justice, Art and Leadership Investment
  4. Citywide Efforts and Powerhouses – (D) Organizations located outside of the heatmap but working in ways that share resources, power and funding to benefit those within the heatmap and throughout the city

Program Areas