A collaboration between
the Field Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation


The Leaders for a New Chicago Award enters its fourth year in 2022.  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 awardees per year.

In 2019, we were extremely proud to announce 14 Leaders as our inaugural awardees. In 2020, we announced 11 Leaders as our second year awardees. In 2021, we announced 10 Leaders as our third-year awardees. Collectively these 35 individuals represent represent a broad array of Chicago residents and include a diversity of religion, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age and expertise, and those from different geographies and income levels. Some are organizers, some are co-founders, some are executive directors and some, importantly, are part of collective 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 2021, organizations that received an Expedited Grant “X Grant” in the past two 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 to nominate a peer/colleague.  Awardees will be announced in mid-June 2022.  All nominations must be submitted by March 1, 2022.

We have chosen an Award Selection Committee to catalyst this process in 2022, 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 2022, Leaders from the 2021 cohort of awardees will 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 2022 nominations is open as of February 1 and will close at midnight on March 1.


Photo credit: Nolis Anderson. Model: Autumn Merritt.