Culture, Equity & the Arts
We provide support to arts and culture organizations and to arts-centered organizations, meaning that art is integral to executing its mission but may not be the organization’s primary goal. Larger-sized grant awards are given to organizations whose work is centered on Black, Latina/o/x, Indigenous, and Asian voices and/or organizations that are focused on other traditionally under-resourced communities, such as people with disabilities and people on the LGBTQIA+ continuum. A vibrant creative sector helps individuals explore their passions, develop their identity and potential, confront challenging topics, and connect with one another.More about Culture, Equity, and the Arts
Chicago’s civic landscape is notable for its broad network of philanthropic, corporate, government, and nonprofit organizations, and its rich history of collaboration between these entities to achieve shared goals. Civic partnerships build upon the collective assets of these leaders and organizations for greater impact.
MacArthur is a leader among local foundations, government agencies, research institutions, nonprofit community organizations, and private sector actors that mobilize collective assets to address pressing challenges or pursue timely opportunities. We work in close collaboration with our partners to support the projects or help solve the problems that community members want to address and the solutions they endorse.
These include coordinated responses to the racial disparities of the COVID-19 pandemic and to gun violence in Chicago.
On occasion, MacArthur may address a timely or unique opportunity, such as ensuring an accurate count throughout Illinois in the decennial census; the establishment of a Chicago Public Library Branch at the Obama Presidential Center; or the acquisition of the historic Ebony and Jet photographic archives.More about Civic Partnerships
We believe that a resilient and dynamic metropolitan area is dependent upon equitable development. The Vital Communities focus of the Chicago Commitment’s work stimulates development in underserved neighborhoods by making early investments in response to community needs that contribute to economic growth. We support place-based economic development, creative placemaking, and placekeeping initiatives to improve the quality of life for individuals in neighborhoods that have experienced disinvestment. We also support organizations whose research and analysis informs socially beneficial and equitable development.
In light of Chicago’s history, our place-based funding is primarily concentrated in Black and Latina/o/x neighborhoods on the South and West Sides. After an aforementioned review of our strategy in 2022, which assessed the success of our efforts since 2016, we made refinements that we believe will help us achieve greater impact. Specifically, we narrowed the geographic footprint of our neighborhood-level economic development funding, increasing our investments in a smaller number of communities. These modifications enable us to deepen community partnerships, pursue greater cohesion across our approaches toward equity, and strengthen the capacity of organizations working in the smaller footprint.More About Vital Communities View Vital Communities Grant Guidelines
Our goal is to promote and advance leaders from historically marginalized backgrounds to manage organizations; increase their representation across the civic sector; foster their ability to influence decisions; and use their leadership to advance policies and practices that contribute to a more equitable Chicago. The Chicago Commitment supports leadership advancement within the three focus areas described above: Culture, Equity, and the Arts; Vital Communities; and Civic Partnerships. Within these areas, we seek to advance equity by expanding access to a wide range of leadership opportunities and by fostering conditions that recognize and support people who bring diverse experiences and perspectives to leadership positions.More About Advancing Leadership