The Christopher Family Foundation supports nonprofit organizations whose work helps create and sustain strong families and communities. Most organizations we support are located in Chicago, with particular emphasis on the Austin neighborhood.

Eligibility & How To Apply

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. The Foundation wants to know what will be different, not just what was done.

CFF will only fund nonprofit organizations. 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 or general 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 are sometimes 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 program area are made in the first half of the year, and grants in the Employment, Entrepreneurship, and Food Security programs are made in the second half of the year. Applications begin with a Letter of Inquiry (LOI), deadlines for which are outlined below. Those who are invited will then submit a full proposal.

To begin the application process, all organizations must create an account in our online portal. Once you have created an account, you will be able to access any current grant applications and apply for future grants.

Deadlines for 2024

  • For the Education program area:
    • The LOI application link will be available January 3, 2024.
    • LOIs are due February 9, 2024.
    • Full proposals, for those invited to submit, are due March 29, 2024.
    • Applicants will be notified of funding decisions in June 2024.
  • For the Employment, Entrepreneurship, and Food Security program areas:
    • The LOI application link will be available on June 10, 2024. Preview LOI questions here.
    • LOIs are due July 12, 2024.
    • Full proposals, for those invited to submit, are due September 6, 2024.
    • Applicants will be notified of funding decisions in November 2024.

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 Grants Manager ( We strongly encourage new applicants to reach out prior to submitting an LOI. Please also check out our FAQ section.