Program Areas


Illustrations by Wisdom Baty. *Second image originally commissioned by Marwen


Illustration by Wisdom Baty

Definition: The Field Foundation seeks to level the playing field across Chicago by using Field Foundation dollars to address the root causes of inequity, be it in community environment, health, housing or other issue areas. Rather than funding direct service, we will fund organizations working to address problems at a systemic and policy level.


  • Community organizing
  • Alliance network building and coalition support
  • Local policy/advocacy work being done by communities for communities
  • Communication-based issue reform

Goals: Build the capacity of organizations working in advocacy, justice and system change so that they can increase the visibility of critical issues and impact the root causes of those issues, with an eventual goal of creating effective systems of change and improving community conditions.


Illustration by Wisdom Baty

Definition: The Field Foundation seeks to create an art-centric city where each community has a robust investment in creativity and local cultural activities and artists.  We want to focus our dollars on supporting creative spaces inside chronically divested communities to spark cultural identity, creative expression and cultural connections. Preference will be given to community-based organizations who are deeply entrenched in community work. “Art” will remain an open and evolving term allowing us to learn through our funding of creative enterprises.


  • Community-based art organizations within the heat map
  • Nonprofit organizations supporting artists from and/or working within our heat maps
  • Community defined forms of art, creative expression, and creative production happening within nonprofit spaces

Goals: Expand creative production in divested areas of Chicago by investing in a range of art forms in specific neighborhoods and advancing the capacity of emerging artists in Chicago. This support will create safe “third spaces” for creative production, foster community bonds, and increase access to cultural experiences within Chicago communities. The eventual goal is supporting community identity through the arts while advancing hubs of creativity and innovation in divested neighborhoods of Chicago.

Art Frequently Asked Questions

*Illustration originally commissioned by Marwen.


Illustration by Wisdom Baty

Definition: The Field Foundation seeks to change how news production and storytelling reflect Chicago and create a more equitable, connected and inclusive local media ecosystem in which the stories of all Chicagoans are told accurately, fairly, authoritatively and contextually. To that end, the foundation will fund African, Latinx, Asian, Arab and Native American (ALAANA) media, journalists and storytellers to support narratives by, for and about ALAANA communities.


  • Partnerships and collaborations
  • Content creation
  • Capacity building
  • Training and leadership investment
  • Rapid response funding

Goals: Create more just and inclusive narratives about Chicago that foster policy change; amplify the voices and impact of ALAANA journalists, media 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.

*Media – The Field Foundation defines journalism as “the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information.” (Source: American Press Institute)

*Storytelling – The Field Foundation defines storytelling as the act of creating fact-based stories across mediums (from podcasts to documentaries) that offer perspectives that can change hearts, minds and potentially policy around pressing issues.

What We Fund

Requirements for For-Profit Organizations

Media & Storytelling Frequently Asked Questions

Media & Storytelling grant examples

Media & Storytelling White Paper

The Field Foundation’s Media & Storytelling program is informed by recommendations from African, Latinx, Asian, Arab and Native American journalists, media makers and storytellers who participated in a series of salons and individual meetings organized by Field in the summer and fall of 2018. Read the report.


Illustration by Wisdom Baty

Definition: The Field Foundation seeks to recognize, honor, and support the deep bench of visionary leaders across Chicago. The following opportunities are aimed at promoting visionaries across Chicago by building their social capital, skillsets, networks and exposure. By creating a network, we aim to act as a connector, supporter, and investor in leaders who have the potential to transform Chicago. The Field Foundation offers two opportunities in Leadership Investment.

  1. Leaders for a New Chicago: The Leaders for a New Chicago Awards is an award, created in partnership with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, for past accomplishments that 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 to between 10 and 15 awardees per year. This award recognizes leaders from existing grantee organizations (within the past three years) of the Field Foundation along with current grantees from the MacArthur Foundation’s Chicago Commitment and Chicago-based Journalism & Media programs. 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 can be found in the nomination portal.
  2. Field Foundation Graduate Fellowship: Graduate students pursuing a Master’s Degree at a Chicago university may apply for a ten-month academic year fellowship. The program is a supervised field placement at the Foundation offering field work and philanthropic experience. Past fellows have applied through their school to gain credit towards their degree. Fellows learn all aspects of the Field Foundation grantmaking process by reviewing grant proposals, conducting site visits, and formulating grant recommendations, and provide written documentation for the Foundation’s staff and Board of Directors. Fellows also work on special projects. The application process is currently closed for this year. Future applicants may apply in February 2021 for a fellowship during the following academic year (September 2021 through May 2022).

Goals: Increase individual leadership capacity by supporting leaders and their organizations. Strengthen connections between rising and existing leaders across communities by growing leaders’ networks and social capital. Utilize a risk learning strategy to discover what successful leaders need by giving leaders the room and capital to discover their most productive self; with an eventual goal of racially diversifying and thereby strengthening civic leadership in Chicago.

Field Foundation is currently putting its Leadership Advancement Organization grant program on hold. Organizations that are working in leadership advancement are encouraged to contact Hilesh Patel, Leadership Investment program officer with any questions.