Find answers and general information quickly by reviewing our frequently asked questions.
Am I able to apply for multiple types of grants?
CFF will accept one full proposal per organization per year. Under some circumstances CFF will accept alternate letters of inquiry and select one to go forward. If you have alternate ideas and are not certain what to submit, please get in touch with our Executive Director to discuss your options.
Is CFF still offering support to capital campaigns?
Generally CFF prefers programmatic requests to capital requests.
How much should we ask for?
It depends. In an LOI, ask for what the program costs, using a full-cost budget approach. If CFF can’t invite a proposal at that level, one may be invited at a lower level if a smaller grant still makes a portion of the work possible. For more specific direction, please be in touch with Clare, firstname.lastname@example.org, before submitting an LOI.
Does CFF support local food pantries?
No, CFF has chosen to focus its giving on food banks and other organizations working to strategically improve the charitable food assistance system.
Will CFF be able to support other special projects that do not fall into the designated buckets?
CFF does have two or three special projects of interest to the family, but these are by invitation only.
Can you submit an LOI in both cycles?
If your work crosses into more than one of the CFF program areas and your LOI in our first cycle is declined, you may submit a different project in our second cycle.
Is it better to pick a specific program my organization offers rather than to ask for general support?
Yes. CFF prefers to support specific programs. General support is more likely on a request for renewal.
Being a part of a national system of organizations, if I share my national organizations financials, it does not properly reflect how my local organization is doing. How can I still apply for the help I need?
CFF understands that budgets are sometimes contained within larger financials. You may be asked for project budgets, local profit and loss statements, etc., so that CFF can understand the financial situation of your local organization or program.
Why does CFF ask for our organization’s financials? What is CFF doing with this information?
Generally, CFF is looking to make grants to organizations that are financially sound and that have sound financial practices and controls. If your financials indicate that you are borrowing on restricted funds, or running multiple-year deficits, CFF will ask more questions about your financial position and may decline to fund your organization. This does not mean that CFF won’t fund an organization that occasionally shows a deficit because of multi-year funding in prior years.
Will CFF be doing site visits? What is the process for this?
CFF loves learning more about our applicants and seeing you in action at your locations. Our staff will observe programs, meet some of the people you serve where possible and appropriate, and talk with the staff leadership.
When does funding begin?
For the first cycle, decisions will be made in June and funding will be available in July. For the second cycle, decisions will be made in November and funding will be available in December.
Does the Foundation have geographic restrictions?
Almost all of our funding is for organizations serving the City of Chicago, and even more specifically the West Side. A subset of grants focus on the neighborhood of Austin. We will sometimes consider grants for other neighborhoods of the city. Grants for geographies outside Chicago are unlikely unless there is an existing relationship.
Are there types of requests that CFF sees regularly that it does not fund?
We do not currently provide support for housing services or programs that serve people with disabilities. We frequently receive inquiries in these two areas, and appreciate the importance of this work, but cannot extend any of our funding areas to include them at present.