Working Together

Annual Report 2016

Dear friends,

In 2016, we welcomed the start of a new century for The Chicago Community Trust.

We build on a foundation one hundred years in the making, leading with a bold plan—created by our Executive Committee, with the vital input of thousands of Chicagoans through our On the Table community conversations—that offers a new expression of the Trust’s commitment to the communities we serve:

Inspiring philanthropy – Celebrating the spirit of giving by joining together to become the country’s most philanthropic region

Engaging residents – Generating new models of collaboration with one another for the common good

Leading change – Working with others to solve the most pressing issues and responding to the big opportunities within our communities

At the heart of the Trust is our commitment to service: service to those whose generosity benefits current and future generations, and service to those who make good use of those funds to transform lives and neighborhoods.

We hope you enjoy this collection of stories that reflect the generosity of our donors and the ingenuity of our nonprofits that inspired us to chart this bold new course.

Sincerely yours,

Michael W. Ferro, 2016 Chair of the Executive Committee
Terry Mazany, President and Chief Executive Officer


We invite you to read and download the complete 2016 Annual Report, or explore the year’s highlights below.

Inspiring Philanthropy

By amplifying the power of collective giving, the Trust encourages everyone to join together and expand the community of generosity. Our goal is to create the country’s most philanthropic region, inspiring more people to give more of their time, skills and resources to enrich the quality of life throughout our region.

The Trust seeks to co-invest with individuals and organizations–leveraging our scale and capacity so that by giving together, the impact of each investment is multiplied. We serve those who dream of a brighter future.

View our 2016 list of donors & contributors
A woman and a young girl pick up packaged food in a large kitchen, with plastic bags of groceries in the foreground

A Real Estate Firm Unites to Fight Homelessness

Inspiring Philanthropy

Our community of generosity includes a network of affiliates—from collaboratives among funders joining forces to tackle a single issue, to identity-focused funds and giving circles of donors united by a shared
heritage or common interest.

We are proud to work in partnership with these groups, to learn from their deep and passionate community expertise, and to provide experience and resources that magnify their impact.

Students sit in a circle in a brightly painted, multicolored room at the Academy for Scholastic Achievement

A West Side High School Where Peace Circles Reduce Violence, Build Success

Inspiring Philanthropy

In 2016, the Trust created a new opportunity for its donors to make a local difference through impact investing, in tandem with their traditional grant making.

Across Chicago’s nonprofit sector, there’s a significant unmet need for access to financial capital. That’s why Benefit Chicago is providing a conduit for philanthropic capital, unlocking new financial resources to benefit communities and people that need them most.

A man seated at a workbench seals jars of honey

Impact Investments Provide $12M of "Patient Capital" in Chicago Neighborhoods

Engaging Residents

By listening with full attention to the diverse voices within our community, we take a powerful step toward change. The heartbeat of our community pulses with passion and energy, with a collective desire to stand up and make life better for all of us.

The Trust is dedicated to inviting, hosting and sustaining this collective engagement of everyone in the civic life of our region—on their terms, for our common good.

Panelists on stage at the Harold Washington Library's Pritzker Auditorium

Chicago Faith and Justice Leaders Confront America's "Original Sin"

Engaging Residents

On May 10, 2016, The Chicago Community Trust convened residents across the Chicago area in the third annual On the Table. Throughout the day, an estimated 55,000 people gathered with friends, neighbors, colleagues or strangers for mealtime conversations about ways to make our
neighborhoods stronger, safer and more dynamic.

We know that solutions to the long-standing challenges our region faces will not be “quick fixes.” But bringing diverse perspectives together in conversation can connect individuals at a human level, building foundations for trust, empathy and collective action that can lead to lasting change across communities.

This year On the Table went national, as civic leaders from 25 states gathered in Chicago to study the model and begin adapting it for their own communities.

Explore insights from three years of On the Table
A coloring book and markers

A Coloring Book Helps Kids Support Sexual Assault Survivors

Leading Change

By listening to the voices of our community, we learn what matters most. Education, economic development, sustainable communities and community vitality. We are committed to leading change in these four priority areas, as the keys to unlock opportunity for a better life in a thriving community.

We make grants to organizations working on the front lines to ensure that essential human needs are met—for everyone. And we connect and convene organizations, governments, businesses and funders in collaborative efforts to tackle complex challenges that none of us can address alone.

A worker in the Sweet Beginnings program harvests honeycomb from a hive

Taking the Sting Out of Re-Entry After Incarceration

Leading Change

In order to better serve our nonprofit partners, in 2016 the Trust launched a program of general operating grants—or GO Grants—to organizations committed to addressing chronic needs in our communities. By supporting their general operations or capacity building efforts, GO Grants strengthen their work and enhance the progress of change.

In addition to GO Grants, the Trust continues to award responsive grants, supporting specific programs and projects that serve a community need or seize an opportunity for impact. You can view the complete grants list for 2016 in our philanthropic data report.

Learn more about the first year of GO Grants
Students rehearse in a music classroom at Whistler Elementary School

The Music Mentor Teaching Steel Drums on the South Side

Leading Change

The Trust is committed to leading change in four priority areas: education and economic development; housing and human services; civic and cultural vitality; and sustainable development. In order to move the needle on these complex systemic indicators of a thriving community, we use many tools beyond our competitive grant making.

We worked with the City of Chicago, corporate and nonprofit partners to create Our Great Rivers—the city’s first-ever plan for its vast network of rivers and tributaries. Then we established the Great Rivers Fund, which invites support from donors with the creativity and determination to help bring this vision to life.

And we joined forces with a group of funders in The Chicago Fund for Safe and Peaceful Communities, deploying rapid-response dollars to neighbors working to stop violence and build peace on their blocks throughout the summer.

Three girls standing and waiting for their turn to perform

In West Pullman, Art Provides Kids a Voice Against Violence

In Memoriam

As we reflect on the year, the Trust fondly remembers our friends and allies who have recently passed away.

Philip D. Block
“Chicago was so much a part of his soul, who he was. He cared deeply and genuinely for the community in which he lived.” -read more

Richard Kiphart
“Dick had a very unique fire in the belly. He was the ultimate salesman, the ultimate people person.” -read more

Kale Williams
“Kale didn’t just hold the beliefs of integration and justice and opportunity for all, he embodied those beliefs.” -read more

Marcia S. Cohn

Lawrence Howe

Nancy Johnstone

Silas Keehn

Juanita Passmore

Barry Sullivan

Lois Weisberg

Dr. Quentin Young

Financial Highlights

The Chicago Community Trust’s mission to improve the quality of life and prosperity of our region is achieved through the generosity of our donors. As of September 30, 2016, the Trust’s consolidated assets totaled $2.5 billion. In addition, during the fiscal year, the Trust received new gifts totaling $333.2 million and made combined grant commitments totaling $236.5 million.

View our complete financial statements for more detail.

A group plays basketball in front of a mural reading Keep Loving Each Other

'We Are Successful When We Are Connected': State of Community 2016

“Think about the power of education to open doors to a lifetime of opportunity. The feeling of owning a home, to raise a family in a safe and thriving neighborhood. The value of health care that contributes to a long and active life. The priceless legacy of natural places and open spaces that are accessible to everyone. Together, we are creating a community where everyone is able to enjoy the best life has to offer, and no one is left behind. Thank you for the change you make.