Giving Philosophy

Chicago Tribune strives to improve the future of the Chicago metropolitan area by helping under-served youth succeed and feel safe. The Chicago Tribune Company provides resources, partnerships and a voice to help youth and strengthen families in our diverse community.

Giving Focus and Fundraising

Chicago Tribune Charities, a fund of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, focuses its giving areas to help low-income youth, adults and families in the Chicago area.  It supports youth education as well as strengthening families through adult literacy, workforce development, and child abuse prevention and child trauma treatment programs.  Chicago Tribune Charities has two areas through which grants are made:  Chicago Tribune Holiday Campaign and Special Initiatives.

The McCormick Foundation and Chicago Tribune partner to raise funds from the general public for Chicago Tribune Charities.  In addition, the McCormick Foundation provides a generous match of 50 cents for each dollar raised.  All administrative expenses are paid for by the McCormick Foundation and Chicago Tribune so that 100% of all funds raised, plus the match, goes to charitable support.  Through Chicago Tribune Charities, the McCormick Foundation distributes a total of $3.5 to $4 million per year to nonprofit programs in the city of Chicago and the suburbs.

Chicago Tribune Holiday Campaign Grant Guidelines

The Chicago Tribune Holiday Giving is a campaign of Chicago Tribune Charities, a McCormick Foundation Fund.

Child and Youth Education – supports nonprofit organizations that help students from low-income families successfully transition through key stages in their academic career and enter post-secondary programs. The supported two key stages include: reading proficiently by the end of third grade and successful completion of high school AND entering a post-secondary situation. Eligible programs include tutoring, college preparation/entrance assistance, standardized test preparation, truancy/drop-out prevention and K-3 children’s literacy programs. Priority is given to programs tracking student achievements. Advocacy efforts creating systemic change, and training programs building agency capacity are also considered. The Child and Youth Education Letter of Inquiry (LOI) process is currently closed for the 2016 grant cycle.

Literacy – supports modified (workforce-enhanced) Adult Basic Education (ABE), and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs that help low-income adults raise their reading and English proficiency levels to meet eligibility requirements for job training, high school equivalency GED classes, and/or post-secondary education programs. The Literacy Letter of Inquiry (LOI) process is currently closed for the 2016 grant cycle.

Workforce Development – supports community-based vocational and employment programs for people in poverty and skills training for low income youth. The category also supports advocacy and technical assistance endeavors which promote improvement in the workforce development system, increase resources available to disadvantaged job seekers, and enhance the quality of service delivery. The Workforce Development Letter of Inquiry (LOI) process is now closed for 2017 grant cycle. 

Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment (Family Strengthening) – supports positive parenting, child abuse and domestic violence prevention programs through child counseling, family support and home-visiting services. The category also supports advocacy and technical assistance programs that enhance services to families.  The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Letter of Inquiry (LOI) process is now closed for the 2016 grant cycle.

Sector Building - Sector Building grants support enhancements to a nonprofit’s management and operations functions.   Sector building grants can be used in such areas as agency governance, fund raising, strategic planning, staff/program development, fiscal management and technology. Grant requests must fit within the guideline areas established within the Chicago Tribune Charities Holiday Campaign, are limited to current or recent Tribune Charities grantees, and are accepted by invitation only.

Special Initiatives

Special Initiatives is a flexible giving area designed to support nonprofits or programs that do not fit the criteria of the Chicago Tribune Holiday Giving campaign. Organizations may submit applications by invitation only. Grants include general operations, program or emergency support.

Application and Information

Grant applications are available by invitation only and require a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) for consideration. Please visit the guideline areas above for information on the LOI process.

CTC - Holiday Campaign - Children's Research TriangleWatch Chicago Tribune Charities' 2011 Holiday Giving public service announcement video >>

Robert R. McCormick Foundation
205 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 4300
Chicago, IL 60601

Phone: 312 445 5000
Fax: 312 445 5001