About

Learn how to unlock the potential of Chicago Prize for your community.

The Pritzker Traubert Foundation is launching the Chicago Prize to award $10 million to a single initiative on the South and/or West Side that uses physical development and revitalization to create and strengthen civic infrastructure that catalyzes economic opportunities and improves the well-being of residents. The most compelling applications will propose inspiring and impactful initiatives that:

The Chicago Prize seeks initiatives that create or strengthen the community’s “civic infrastructure”, i.e. the places, policies, programs, practices, and processes that connect physical revitalization with neighborhoods’ customs, culture, networks, and relationships, by investing in the physical assets of that place. Learn more here. Initiatives must be tailored to the geographic footprint that makes sense for their community – be it a single building, a handful of blocks, a community area, or a collection of neighborhoods across the South and/or West side.

Successful teams will be collaborative, led by community-based nonprofit organizations that assemble the right community partners as well as members with applicable development, financial, and project management expertise needed to successfully implement a multi-million dollar, comprehensive neighborhood initiative.

Chicago Prize grant funds should be used primarily for capital costs, but can include some administration or programming/activation costs if needed for impact. While funding is provided over a period of up to five years, proposals will be evaluated on their ability to both leverage the grant as well as influence outcomes over a longer, 10-year horizon.

Explore this site for important information including the Application, Scoring Criteria, Rules, Timeline, and FAQs, then use our Assessment Tool to determine if your initiative is a strong fit for the Prize before registering to apply. Lead organizations must be registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations based in the U.S.

"LET'S COME TOGETHER, DREAM BIG, AND ACT BOLDLY TO BUILD A STRONGER CHICAGO AND ENABLE RESIDENTS TO CREATE A MORE VIBRANT, PROMISING FUTURE FOR THEIR NEIGHBORHOODS."

Core Principles

The Chicago Prize is shaped by the following principles:

Each community is unique. Projects should fit local assets and opportunities. They can span single or multiple development sites, within or across neighborhoods, on the South and/or West Side.

The team matters. Collaborations should assemble the right expertise for the project. Teams should include members with deep experience living and/or working in the community where the project will occur and include members with financial, management, and development expertise who have successfully undertaken similar initiatives.

Residents must lead. Teams must demonstrate how they will engage residents, local businesses, and other community members in steering and guiding the effort, both during the application period and over the lifetime of the project.

Residents need to benefit. While the challenge encourages fresh thinking, teams should also articulate the concrete ways that the initiative will affect short- and medium-term outcomes of the people and businesses in the neighborhood.

Physical development or revitalization must be part of the solution. Grant funds should be used primarily for investments in the built environment, including rehabilitation of existing buildings or spaces, or in the creation of other physical assets.

Physical development alone is insufficient. Projects must leverage physical revitalization to strengthen communities’ civic infrastructure (i.e. enhance communities’ capacities,  processes and  practices that build and expand social capital, collaboration and cohesion) in ways that catalyze economic opportunities and improve the well-being of residents.

Be ready for investment and action. Projects should build upon existing community plans (e.g. Quality of Life Plans) and teams should demonstrate readiness to implement and receive investment.

Leverage is critical to increase impact. Teams must demonstrate how this grant would leverage markets (such as Opportunity Zones) and other funding, as well as existing partnerships and relationships, to amplify impact.

Real change takes time. This grant is patient capital. Although the grant period will be no more than five years, recipient should plan to document impact over 10 years.

Eligible Neighborhoods

The awarded initiative will be located in one or more of the communities listed below. Your initiative’s geographic footprint does not need to conform to community areas boundaries and could span from a single building to multiple community areas. Initiatives should prioritize community areas with higher populations of low-income residents.

Your initiative’s geographic footprint does not need to conform to community boundaries and could span from a single building to multiple community areas. Initiatives should prioritize community areas with higher populations of low-income residents.

Finalists

In November 2019, up to four (4) Finalists will be awarded $100,000 planning grants and advance to the next phase of the competition—a planning period culminating in Spring 2020 presentations to funders, stakeholders, and competition reviewers.

Finalists will be required to complete a grant agreement with the Pritzker Traubert Foundation. Finalists will use the planning grant, as well as in-kind technical assistance, to develop a fully-detailed plan for implementation.

Please read the Application and FAQs for more information.

Lift a Community’s Vision Toward Reality

The Pritzker Traubert Foundation knows that place and circumstance matter and that addressing systemic poverty and economic inequity is complex and challenging. We are excited to help lift your bold plans and ideas. Please contact us if you have questions about Chicago Prize.