A collaboration between
the Field Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation


The Leaders for a New Chicago Award celebrates its fourth year in 2022.  The award recognizes past accomplishments and promotes and advances a range of leaders whose influence will inform decision making across the city of Chicago. This unique, no-strings-attached $50,000 award ($25,000 for the individual and, if eligible, $25,000 for their affiliated not-for-profit corporation) will be awarded 10 awardees per year. Meet the Leaders for a New Chicago:

Collectively these 45 individuals represent represent a broad array of Chicago residents and include a diversity of age, ethnicity, gender identity, religion, and sexual orientation. Coming from different geographic backgrounds and income levels, the awardees are artists, advocates, co-founders, educators, executive direectors, organizers, social change agents, storytellers and members of collectives or shared leadership models.

This award recognizes leaders from within existing grantee organizations (within the past two years) of the Field Foundation. Current grantees in the MacArthur Foundation’s Chicago Commitment and Chicago-based Journalism & Media grantees are also eligible. In addition to being a grantee of either Field or MacArthur, Awardees must be working in the fields of Justice, Art, or Media & Storytelling. More details regarding eligibility can be found in the Nomination FAQ below.

Awardees may use their awards as they see fit, including to support work, reflection or professional development expenses. Field and MacArthur foundations intend these awards to acknowledge past accomplishments and to invest in the promise of individuals to change and shape a new Chicago. Our goal is not to shape the awardees with philanthropic dollars, but to recognize these leaders for their contributions to Chicago, to learn from them, and to incorporate insights about their experiences to better understand and support future leaders. Award recipients will receive ongoing optional network programming and professional development opportunities.

The program seeks to build a more inclusive Chicago by tapping communities outside of the city’s current power structure. In 2022, an Award Selection Committee catalyzed this process, reviewing nominations and recommending the next recipients of the Leaders for a New Chicago Awards.

Selection Committee PDF

We primarily fund work being done to serve the people of Chicago with a focus on communities commonly divested in. Unlike Field’s grantmaking cycle which accepts letters of inquiry (LOI) three times a year in advance of our Board of Directors meetings, this nomination process results in an award presented once each year. For more information on how to nominate, please review the Frequently Asked Questions for Nominations.

Frequently Asked Questions for Nomination

Please review the Field Foundation and MacArthur grantee list to see if your organization is eligible.


Photo credit: Nolis Anderson. Model: Autumn Merritt.