The Christopher Family Foundation supports nonprofit organizations whose work helps create and sustain thriving families and most organizations we support are located in Northern Illinois.

Eligibility & How To Apply

The Christopher Family Foundation supports nonprofit organizations whose work helps create and sustain thriving families and communities mostly in the Chicago region.

Please refer to the Program Areas section for a description of priorities for funding. In any program area CFF is looking for:

  • Programs with an articulated standard for excellence.
  • Organizations that are actively and always trying to learn from their work, and improve their approaches, even if that involves risk.
  • Openness to shared learning, to working collaboratively, and to advancing the field.

In all program areas, CFF wants to see good program design, clear measurements for success, and incorporation of evaluation. Outputs are not outcomes! The Foundation wants to know what will be different, not just what was done.

CFF will only fund nonprofit organizations, and limit most of its funding to the Chicago region. CFF will consider a grant for general operating support for an organization that meets Foundation criteria. While the Foundation has funded capital projects in the past, it prefers applications for programmatic support.

What The Foundation Does Not Fund

In general, the Foundation does not make grants to individuals, governmental entities, or 509(a)(3) supporting organizations, although exceptions sometimes are made for publicly supported charities. The foundation does not fund policy advocacy.

How To Apply

The Foundation has two grant cycles per year. Grants in the Education and Employment & Entrepreneurship programs are made in the first half of the year, and grants in the Individual and Family Health & Wellbeing and Community & Fellowship programs are made in the second half of the year. Applications begin with a Letter of Inquiry, for which there are deadlines. Those who are invited will then submit a full proposal.

Deadlines for 2020

  • LOIs for Education and Employment & Entrepreneurship are due on January 30, 2020.
    • Full proposals, for those invited to submit, are due on March 17, 2020.
  • LOIs for Individual & Family Health & Wellbeing and for Community & Fellowship are due on August 5, 2020.
    • Full proposals, for those invited to submit, are due on September 30, 2020.

Tips for Applying

The CFF submission process begins with a simple Letter of Inquiry that asks for a brief history of your organization, a brief description of the project for which you are seeking support, and the amount that you would like to request. Some of the organizations submitting LOIs are then invited to submit full proposals.

If you have any questions about our program priorities, deadlines, how to submit or what to say, please feel free to reach out to our Executive Director (clare@christopherff.org), who will be happy to help you.