A collaboration between
the Field Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation


The Leaders for a New Chicago Award enters its fifth year in 2023.  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 to 10 leaders per year.

Over the past four years, we have recognized 45 Leaders for a New Chicago awardees. Meet them here: 2022 cohort; 2021 cohort; 2020 cohort; and 2019 cohort. Collectively, these individuals 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 directors, 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 2023, organizations that received an Expedited Grant “X Grant” in the past three years from the MacArthur Foundation’s Chicago Commitment and Chicago-based Journalism & Media grantees are 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 awardees’ contributions to Chicago, to learn from them, and to incorporate insights about their experiences to better understand and support future Leaders.

The program seeks to build a more inclusive Chicago by tapping communities outside of the city’s current power structure. These grants will go to established or emerging Chicago leaders for past accomplishments. Award recipients also will receive ongoing optional network programming and professional development opportunities.



Please access the nomination portal to nominate yourself or a peer/colleague. All nominations must be submitted by March 1, 2023. Awardees will be announced in June 2023.  

An Award Selection Committee will catalyze this process, using a rubric to review nominations and recommend the next recipients of the Leaders for a New Chicago Awards. A link to the Selection Committee will be available in the coming weeks.

We primarily fund work being done to serve the people of Chicago with a focus on communities that have experienced disinvestment. Unlike Field’s grantmaking cycle, which accepts letters of inquiry (LOIs) three times each year in advance of our Board of Directors meetings, this nomination process results in an award presented annually. For more information on how to nominate, please use the Frequently Asked Questions button below.

Nominate a Leader
Frequently Asked Questions: Nomination Process

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


Photo credit: Nolis Anderson. Model: Autumn Merritt.