The Foundation’s Education Program currently focuses on out-of-school time youth development programs, primarily in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. Out-of-school time programs—before and after school, and during the summer months—allow students to pursue interests that foster excitement for learning, forge positive relationships with adults and peers, and participate in a safe, supervised environment when parents/guardians are working.
As part of CFF’s place-based approach, the Foundation also partners directly with several West Side schools to provide additional programs and supports to students and families.
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.
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.