In an effort to prioritize specific funding areas under the general umbrella of racial, gender and economic justice, the Conant Family Foundation has created a new grantmaking structure. 


There will be four Program Areas in 2020:

  • Urban Environmental Justice 

  • Community Organizing for Racial Justice 

  • Abortion Access 

  • Doris Conant Legacy 


The Urban Environmental Justice Program has an open Letter of Intent process now; others will be announced later in 2020.




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


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.



Policy makers have not prioritized low-income communities of color in Chicago, resulting in grossly inequitable public systems.


Housing, community development, and school policy and practices blatantly benefit higher-income white residents at the expense of lower-income neighborhoods of color. 


This Program Area will support grassroots, multi-issue community organizing targeting the racial inequity in our public systems. CFF will fund organizations to develop leaders, build power, and support the creation and implementation of equitable policies.


Grants in this Program Area will be for general operating expenses and have minimal paperwork requirements. 


In order to create a funding mechanism that embodies these same principles, CFF is working with Chicago United for Equity to design a more equitable grantmaking process.


Please check back in March 2020 for application guidelines.



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 Access to Abortion Program Area in 2020. The Program Committee anticipates making six or seven grants; those grants will be posted on this website as soon as they are announced. 





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.