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.

*Illustration originally commissioned by Marwen.


Illustration by Wisdom Baty

Definition: The Field Foundation seeks to recognize, honor, and support the deep bench of visionary leaders across Chicago by creating the “Field Leader” award. These awards are aimed at promoting visionaries across Chicago by building their social capital, skillsets, networks and exposure. By creating a Field Leader network, we aim to act as a connector, supporter, and investor in leaders who have the potential to transform Chicago. The Field Foundation will offer three opportunities for a “Field Leader” award.

  • Existing Justice and/or Art Grantees: The Field Foundation will identify leaders working at existing grantee organizations to apply for a Field Leader award. The application process is by invitation only and the selection process will happen annually. Award recipients will be granted $25,000 to use as they determine in the application process.
  • Leadership Development Organizations: Organizations focused on leadership development may apply to the Field Foundation for funding to cover the costs of nonprofit leaders working in the realms of Justice or Art to attend their leadership programs. The organization must apply on behalf of preselected program recipients allowing Field Foundation to weigh in on the final recipient. Individuals are not eligible to apply on their own behalf.
  • 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. Applicants may apply in late January for an fellowship during the following academic year (September through May). Read more information here.

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.