Strong Organizations

Providing institutional support to organizations to help them gain strength, innovate, and grow


Civil society organizations are the bedrock of Chicago’s non-governmental infrastructure, advancing the goal of a city that is connected, integrated, prosperous, and equitable. MacArthur reinforces this civic and community infrastructure by supporting strong organizations to fuel innovation, improve organizational effectiveness, and pursue opportunities for growth. This commitment includes our continuing support for a vibrant creative sector that reaches virtually every neighborhood in the city.

Our Approach

Community Capital Grants

Community Capital Grants provide organizations with funds to strengthen their operations and programs. These grants provide institutional support that allows organizations to:

  • Innovate, which may include testing a concept, launching a pilot project, or facilitating a new collaboration.
  • Strengthen, which may support professional development or strategic, financial, and operational planning and investment.  
  • Grow, which may incorporate new acquisitions, new investments, entry into new markets, or outreach to new audiences. A complementary initiative, Benefit Chicago, a collaboration of MacArthur, the Chicago Community Trust, and Calvert Impact Capital, supports growth through impact investments.

Awards recognize an organization's track record or promise, connection to communities, and commitment to peer learning and support. As in all elements of the Chicago Commitment strategy, we seek to advance equity and access to opportunity and foster conditions that recognize and promote people of color in leadership positions.


Community Capital grant guidelines ›


Measurement & Evaluation

The Chicago Commitment is in the process of engaging an evaluation and learning partner to measure and evaluate the progress of our strategy, test assumptions underpinning it, and collect information about the context in which the strategy operates. The focus of these activities is on learning. We aim to understand how the strategy contributes to a Chicago that is more equitable and where justice can thrive.

Findings and analysis from evaluation activities will be published as they become available.


Additional Areas of Work

Civic Partnerships ›
Influential Leaders ›
Vital Communities ›

Chicago Commitment strategy ›

Representative Grants
Sweetwater Foundation
Chicago, Illinois 2017
$ 130,000 to provide institutional support.
South East Chicago Commission
Chicago, Illinois 2017
$ 380,000 to provide institutional support.
Chicago Foundation for Women
Chicago, Illinois 2017
$ 1,000,000 to provide institutional support.
Cabrini-Green Legal Aid
Chicago, Illinois 2017
$ 900,000 to provide institutional support.
Little Black Pearl Workshop
Chicago, Illinois 2017
$ 1,000,000 to provide institutional support.
View Grant Guidelines View All Grants
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