2021 Grant guidelines

The Conant Family Foundation will continue using the four program areas that were introduced in 2020 (please see below). The program areas have different grant application processes:

  • Doris Conant Legacy Grants and Abortion Access program areas do not accept proposals 

  • Community Organizing for Racial Justice grants for 2021 will be the same as 2020. No new proposals will be accepted. If your organization was hoping to apply for one of these grants, please consider applying to the Chicago Racial Justice Pooled Fund

  • The Urban Environmental Justice program area will post 2021 guidelines and deadlines here as soon as possible. If you wish to be notified, please send an email to Leslie Ramyk

  • If you have any questions or would like additional information, please send an email to Leslie Ramyk



Prior to 2020, the Conant Family Foundation funded organizations working on racial, gender and economic justice. Having such a broad "focus area" resulted in far more proposals than could possibly be funded. In an effort to prioritize specific topics, the Conant Family Foundation identified four program areas:



​This Program Area supports grassroots, multi-issue community organizing that prioritizes racial justice and equity.

The Community Organizing for Racial Justice Program Area engaged a group of ten Chicagoans to serve as a proposal Review Team. The external Review Team, all people of color, brought their insights, lived experiences and perspectives to the task. For more information about the Review Team and the grantee selection process, please click HERE

These are the organizations they selected for funding:

Assata's Daughters, $20,000

Brave Space Alliance, $20,000

Chicago Community Bond Fund $20,000

Equity and Transformation, $20,000

Organized Communities Against Deportation (OCAD), $20,000

Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL), $20,000

People for Community Recovery, $15,000

Restore Justice Illinois, $15,000

Working Family Solidarity, $15,000

United Working Families, $15,000

Chicago United for Equity (CUE), $10,000

HANA Center, $10,000

Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA), $10,000

Lighthouse Foundation, $10,000

Mothers Opposed to Violence Everywhere (MOVE), $10,000

Northwest Side Housing Center, $10,000

The Network: Advocating Against Domestic Violence, $10,000


CFF will fund Chicago-area organizations that develop leadership, build power, connect resources, amplify community voices, and support the creation and implementation of equitable policies.

  • Grant amounts will be up to $20,000 per organization 

  • All grants will be unrestricted general operating support

  • CFF will allocate $250,000 this cycle

  • This is open to both past grantees and organizations that are new to CFF

  • Roughly 75% of the grants will be allocated to past/returning grantees 

  • Organizations that have already received 2020 grants from CFF are not eligible


To streamline this process during the COVID-19 crisis, we request only the following: 

  1. A brief memo (up to 3 pages) responding to the five questions below.

  2. A grant proposal submitted to any other foundation that describes your organization’s issues, strategy and impact. Please do not revise it for us. 

Email documents to Leslie@ConantFamilyFoundation.org by April 27, 2020.


Application Questions

  1. What is your organization focusing on now? What is your long-term vision?

  2. What are your members/leaders doing today?

  3. Describe your relationships with other organizations. How are you utilizing them?

  4. Which one of your organization's accomplishments means the most to you and why?

  5. How are you and your staff the right people to do this work in this community?

If you have any questions for us, please email Leslie@conantfamilyfoundation.org




The vision of the Urban Environmental Justice Program Area is that all Chicago residents live in environmentally safe communities.


The Environmental Justice Program Area Committee is enormously grateful for the many organizations doing outstanding work in Chicago. The Conant Family Foundation awarded grants to the following organizations:

Alliance of the SouthEast, $35,000

Block Club, $25,000

Faith In Place, $25,000

Friends of the Parks, $25,000

Little Village Environmental Justice Organization/LVEJO, $35,000

Metropolitan Planning Council, $25,000

Southeast Side Coalition to Ban Petcoke, $25,000

Sweet Water Foundation, $30,000

Trust for Public Land, $25,000

Low-income and communities of color experience disproportionately higher levels of air, water, and soil pollution and contamination. Nonprofit organizations addressing environmental injustice in these communities are the focus of this Program Area.


Grants will be made to organizations that are:

  1. Identifying environmental hazards, involving their communities in identifying solutions, and advocating for justice

  2. Providing health screenings, health care or other resources to those with illness caused by environmental pollution

  3. Advocating for the remediation, preservation, and/or increase of public green space.


Eligible applicants will be Chicago-area nonprofit organizations that are:

a) led by those directly impacted, 

b) include community members in decision-making

c) accountable to the communities they seek to improve.


The first step in applying for a grant is to submit a brief document (no more than 2 pages total) responding to the following questions:

  1. What does your organization seek to accomplish?

  2. Who decides the organization’s priorities and actions?

  3. How do you know your work is effective?

  4. What is the wage ratio between your lowest and highest paid full-time staff?

Please submit your application by email no later than Friday, February 28, 2020




This Program Area focuses on an intersection of gender justice and reproductive rights: women’s access to safe abortion.


The Illinois Reproductive Health Act is a remarkable national model, but even in Chicago women face obstacles to accessing abortion because of cost, transportation, and other factors. 


CFF will continue to support Chicago-based direct services and policy advocacy. This new Program Area will also support abortion access, including mifepristone (RU 486), particularly in geographic areas where providers are not available. 


There will not be an open application process for the Abortion Access Program Area in 2020. The Program Committee anticipates making six or seven grants; so far, the Conant Family Foundation has awarded grants to the following organizations:

Appalachian Abortion Support Collective, $6,000

Carafem, $5,000

Chicago Abortion Fund, $75,000

EverThrive Illinois, $25,000

Midwest Access Coalition, $75,000

Midwest Access Project, $10,000

Provide, Inc., $10,000

SASS, $40,000



While the Conant Family Foundation continues Doris Conant’s commitment to justice and equity overall, Doris personally participated with several nonprofit organizations and promoted their valuable work to her friends and family.


This Program Area will support nine organizations that Doris cherished, as follows:

Chicago Foundation for Women, $50,000

Chicago Public Media/WBEZ, $50,000

Human Rights Watch, $50,000

Planned Parenthood Illinois, $50,000

Facets Multimedia, $10,000

Goodman Theatre, $10,000

International Children’s Media Center, $10,000

North Lawndale College Prep High School, $10,000

Victory Gardens Theater, $10,000


Due to the nature of this very personal Program Area, there will not be an open process to apply for these grants. These organizations were selected by Doris through her own words and actions. We are delighted to honor her memory with these contributions.