A collaboration between the Field Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation

The Leaders for a New Chicago Awards (“Leaders”) is an award 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 (“Awardees”).

This new award will recognize leaders from within existing grantee organizations (within the past two years) of the Field Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation’s Chicago Commitment or Jack Fuller Legacy Initiative. 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 to nominate a peer/colleague.  Awardees will be selected in May 2019.  All nominations must be submitted by March 1, 2019.

We have chosen an Award Selection Committee to catalyst this process in 2019, striving for a cohort of award recipients whose past work and achievements demonstrated a transformative impact on Justice, Art, or Civic Journalism in Chicago. Starting in 2020, the Award Selection Committee will consist of members from the previous year’s award cohort.

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.

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: Application section on this site.

Frequently Asked Questions for Nomination

The submission portal for 2019 nominations is now closed.


Photo credit: Nolis Anderson. Model: Autumn Merritt.