A collaboration between
the Field Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation


The Leaders for a New Chicago Award enters its second year in 2020.  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 between 10 and 15 awardees per year.

In 2019, we were extremely proud to announce 14 Leaders as our inaugural awardees. Collectively these 14 individuals represent Chicago, from every corner of the city, many South and West Side communities and each of the Foundation’s four program areas. You can read more about them here.

This award recognizes leaders from within existing grantee organizations (within the past three 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 current 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 to nominate a peer/colleague.  Awardees will be announced in mid-June 2020.  All nominations must be submitted by March 2, 2020.

We have chosen an Award Selection Committee to catalyst this process in 2020, striving for a cohort of award recipients whose past work and achievements demonstrated a transformative impact on Justice, Art, or Civic Journalism in Chicago.

In 2020, eight Leaders from the 2019 cohort of awardees will now voluntarily serve on the Award Selection Committee that will recommend the next recipients of the Leaders for a New Chicago Awards. The Award Selection Committee shall review nominations submitted for the Leaders for a New Chicago award prior to the specified deadline and select award recipients. The Award Selection Committee is also responsible for ensuring that award recipients adhere to award requirements and will use a rubric to guide the process.

Selection Committee PDF

We primarily fund work being done to serve the people of Chicago with a focus on communities commonly divested in. Unlike our grantmaking cycle which accepts letters of inquiry (LOI) three times a year in advance of our Board of Director meetings, this nomination process results in an award, presented once a 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.


The submission portal for 2020 nominations opens on February 4.


Photo credit: Nolis Anderson. Model: Autumn Merritt.