Chicago Racial Justice Pooled Fund 2020


Request for Proposals

(Download a full explanation of the fund here)


This social, economic and political moment is a direct result of the generational disinvestment in Black, indigenous, and brown communities. Acknowledging this, the Chicago Racial Justice Pooled Fund (the Fund) is a commitment from thirteen foundations to raise and move $3M to Chicago organizations building and sustaining movements for justice that center Black lives and address anti-Blackness. While $3M is not an equitable amount to address the violence that racial injustice has ravaged, this is the first step of many needed towards a more just Chicago.


The following guidelines were constructed based upon the feedback, suggestions, and advice from organizers and activists in Chicago. 


The Fund will provide grants to Black-led community organizing groups as well as allied community organizing groups addressing anti-Blackness.  In this context, community organizing means bringing people together who individually may lack power but collectively can build and wield power to advance racial justice. This Fund will only accept proposals from organizations, alliances and coalitions that focus on community organizing. Please note that this Fund is not for direct service organizations; any proposals from direct service organizations will not be reviewed.


Below are examples of community organizing work that the Fund would consider:

  • Organizing to end abusive policing in neighborhoods, schools, streets and communities
  • Addressing the historic disinvestment that results in a lack of economic opportunities
  • Organizing against the criminal justice system that criminalizes black people
  • Organizations organizing around: housing, education, health, workers’ justice
  • Allied community organizing groups to specifically address anti-Blackness in their organization, community or sector. In this instance, “allied” is defined as one that is not Black-led.


We understand that some organizations have been doing this work for years while others are now emerging in this critical moment. We seek to be responsive to the needs of  all organizations in this liberation movement, as well as the dynamics and contours of the movement itself.


The application process is now open. The Fund will begin reviewing applications on October 19, 2020 and will continue until further notice. Grants will be approved on a rolling basis as funds are available. The first round of grants will be announced the first week of November and ongoing monthly after that. Requests can be for general operating support or for a specific project. Grants will be in the range of $25,000 - $50,000.


Organizations that meet the following criteria are eligible:

  • Are community organizing organization
  • Are Black-led or allied organizations working on anti-Blackness
  • Are located in Cook County, Illinois
  • Have an annual organizational budget less than $750,000
  • Are designated 501c3 by the IRS or have a Fiscal Sponsor; the Fund will also consider organizations without 501c3 designation that have an organizational bank account


Application Procedure

a. What were the funds used for? 

b. What impact did the funding have on your organizing?

c.  Will this work be continuing ?


*Grantees will have an option of reporting through either submitting a written report or through a phone call with a representative of the collaborative.