How To Apply

The Christopher Family Foundation offers grants within several different program areas.


The Foundation’s Education Program partners with schools and nonprofits that provide safe, culturally affirming, and inclusive spaces for young people to grow academically, socially, and emotionally. CFF emphasizes support for out-of-school time programs that expand learning beyond the school day.

Additionally, as part of CFF’s place-based approach and in response to the education strategies outlined in Austin’s 2018 Quality-of-Life plan, Austin. Forward. Together., the Foundation also partners directly with several West Side schools to provide additional programs and wraparound supports to Austin students and families. We believe schools play a critical role in community vitality and development.


The Foundation supports proven pathways to family-sustaining wages for people with multiple barriers to employment. The Foundation is committed to funding organizations that provide services such as employment preparation and placement, sector-based training (e.g. manufacturing and construction), transitional jobs, apprenticeships, and adult education bridge programs. Funding is focused on Chicago’s West Side, with particular emphasis on the Austin community.


CFF has a particular interest in organizations that support entrepreneurs. The Foundation believes that empowering local entrepreneurs can create jobs and build wealth on Chicago’s West Side. Through training, mentorship, and access to capital, small business owners can increase their ability to build successful enterprises.

Food Security

The Foundation wants families and communities, primarily in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, to thrive through healthy bodies and healthy food. Through its food security initiative, the Foundation supports several programs that address hunger and increase access to healthy food.

Additionally, CFF is a founding member of Austin Fresh, a five-year commitment to advancing Austin quality-of-life plan goals related to expanding healthy retail options, supporting community gardens and local food production, growing food enterprises, and protecting and strengthening food assistance programs. Austin Fresh is funded by The Builder’s Initiative, The Christopher Family Foundation, The Lumpkin Family Foundation, Food, Land, Opportunity, and the Walter Mander Foundation. Decisions are made with participation from Austin Coming Together.

Legacy and Special Projects

From time to time, CFF will support a special project, or make a contribution to an organization whose work falls outside of the four core program areas. These grants will only be made on the initiative of the Distribution Committee, with an invitation to apply. No unsolicited applications outside the core areas will be considered.