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Review the application requirements for the Chicago Prize. Be sure to complete the Assessment Tool and then register your organization to apply through the online platform.

Applications must be received by 5pm CT on Tuesday, August 13, 2019.

Before you begin, please read through the full application, and refer to the Assessment ToolRules and Trait Scoring Rubric, to learn about the purpose of the Chicago Prize and the criteria that will be used to evaluate proposals. We are partnering with Lever for Change to advance new learning and promote interesting approaches, so some elements of your application are likely to be published. These include, but are not limited to, Organization NameProposal Title, One-Sentence Description, Executive Summary, and Video Pitch.

Applications must be submitted in English. The online application system saves automatically as you enter information. Before submitting your application, be sure to preview the document for content and completeness. Once you have submitted your application, you will no longer be able to make changes. A message will display to confirm receipt of your application. Please contact [email protected] with questions or technical issues.

All fields are required unless otherwise indicated.


Share the most succinct, compelling overview of your team’s initiative. Any summary of your team’s proposal should stand-alone.

PROJECT TITLE (10 words)

Provide a brief title for your initiative that will help distinguish it from other proposals.


Describe your team’s initiative in one sentence. This information may be shared online after the close of the competition.


Prepare an executive summary that provides specific details about your partnership and proposed initiative, its purpose and goals; the problem or opportunity it will take on; the location(s) of your initiative, including physical boundaries and other community data; the results you expect to achieve, in both the short (3 to 5 years) and long term (by 2030); and your plan for measuring progress and impact.

KEY WORDS (5 words)

List five key words to be used to tag your initiative. Choose key words that describe essential aspects of your initiative that will help distinguish it from other initiative descriptions in a database.


Demonstrate the knowledge, expertise, and experience of those leading your collaboration.

YOUR TEAM (250 words)

Describe your team’s leadership, its members and its partners, including details about how and why the collaboration was formed. Discuss the development and financial experience of the team for initiatives of this magnitude, the responsibilities of each member, and the extent to which, together, they have the mix of expertise, technical skill, and other attributes needed to implement the proposed initiative.


Describe how your initiative accounts for the needs and preferences of area residents; how the partnership has engaged with area residents, organizations and networks in the past; and how those stakeholders will participate in the initiative throughout implementation.


Provide up to 50-word biographies for three lead/key team members responsible for the project.

Manager #1 first name 
Manager #1 last name 
Manager #1 job title 
Manager #1 biography

Manager #2 first name 
Manager #2 last name 
Manager #2 job title 
Manager #2 biography 

Manager #3 first name 
Manager #3 last name 
Manager #3 job title 
Manager #3 biography


Set the stage by describing your selected place and your vision for the communities you aim to serve. 


Describe the history, assets, challenges, and opportunities of the area(s) (as you define them) where your initiative will be located. Include information about the people who live and work in the area, as well as information about important organizations and institutions. Explain how and why the area was selected.

YOUR VISION (150 words)

Describe your vision of your community in the future, and how the proposed initiative fits into that vision. Explain what has stood in the way of progress in the past, how the proposed approach is unique, why you believe it will create or capitalize on momentum, and how it will contribute to progress toward achieving the vision. Discuss why the proposed initiative is “right” for the community at this moment.


Illustrate the approach and expected impact of your community-led initiative. 

YOUR PROJECT(S) (250 words)

Describe the physical assets you will create or revitalize in the community through your initiative. Detail where they will be, what they will look like, what features and amenities they will have, and how the location(s) connect to your vision.

YOUR APPROACH (250 words)

Tell us what your partnership will do—what activities it will undertake, what investments it will make—to ensure that physical development activities create positive momentum, strengthen local networks of people and organizations, and lead to economic benefits for area residents. Describe how this initiative will contribute to the community’s civic infrastructure, public life and social interaction (e.g. increasing pedestrian traffic, new public spaces, activating underused community assets, etc.). In Phase 2, applicants will be asked to also detail their plans for ensuring the sustainability of their projects after the grant period.


We recognize that Chicago Prize grant funds will be patient capital and that impact may be seen well beyond the grant period. In chronological order, identify key milestones in the implementation process and the timing of when they will be reached. Your proposed solution must be implemented over a period of up to five years. Finalists will be given technical assistance to develop a plan for monitoring impacts over a longer ten-year horizon.

YOUR IMPACT (250 words)

Describe the measurable community changes your initiative will influence over the next 10 years. Be specific about who might benefit and in what ways, its likely contributions to the communities’ civic infrastructure, and about the likelihood of improving the local economy. Suggest some documentable outcomes you expect your partnership and initiative might impact. NOTE: Finalists who advance to Phase 2 will work with a third-party evaluator to develop and implement an evaluation plan. Finalists will also be expected to develop or describe their strategies for mitigating displacement in the next phase.


How will you ensure your initiative is feasible and will work? Describe any barriers to success of the initiative and your plan to address those barriers. Discuss your experience and capacity to manage technical or logistical barriers, such as obtaining site control and political approval, and taking into account any building and land use regulations.


Explain how your initiative and team will be inclusive of persons with disabilities, religious or ethnic minorities, people of color, women, gender/sexual orientation minorities, and others. Describe how your initiative will be reflective of best practices in inclusive design of built spaces. Finalists will be required to build out their Diversity, Equity & Inclusion strategy in Phase 2.


Describe the financial resources needed to successfully complete your team’s initiative. Finalists that advance to Phase 2 will be required to significantly deepen and present financial planning for their initiative.


Provide the total projected cost of your initiative, including expenses to be covered by sources other than the Chicago Prize.


Describe the funding and other resources needed to complete the initiative as described in this application, and current and anticipated efforts to secure the full amount.


Provide a line-item and narrative description of how you will spend $10 million, should your initiative be awarded the Chicago Prize. Note that grant funds must be used primarily for capital costs. Please allocate $500,000 of the total grant for performance measurement and evaluation. An evaluation plan will be developed with a third-party evaluator during Phase 2 of the Chicago Prize competition. 


Explain the budget above.


Indicate budget (in US dollars) of the lead organization for fiscal year 2018.


Provide a copy of the lead organization’s year end statement of income and expense for fiscal year 2018. Please upload a single PDF no larger than 10 MB.


Provide audited financial reports for the past three years for the lead organization. Please combine up to three (3) documents in a single PDF no larger than 10 MB.


Up to four (4) Finalists will advance to Phase 2 of the competition. Phase 2 will be a planning period culminating in presentations in Spring 2020. Each Finalist will be eligible for a $100,000 planning grant.

To receive the $100,000 planning funds, the lead organization for each of the Finalists and the Pritzker Traubert Foundation will need to execute a grant agreement. Under this grant agreement, the Finalists will be asked to use grants funds to further develop their action plan, to include detailed budgets (including pro-formas) with proposed timeline, evaluation plan, memoranda of understanding with each initiative partner, site/construction plans, community engagement plans (including displacement prevention strategy), a visual presentation, long-term sustainability strategy, and additional information as appropriate to each initiative. Some technical assistance will be provided in addition to grant funds to help Finalists develop the materials listed above. 

PLANNING GRANT (250 words)

Describe how the partnership might use $100,000 in grant funds over the Phase 2 planning period and how these activities would bolster the impact of the proposed initiative. 


Please provide a short video presentation that captures your team’s initiative and why it should be funded. This is an opportunity to show off your community, to tell your story, and share your vision in a way that may not be captured in written format.

You are discouraged from using external resources to produce this video; we believe that the use of a smartphone and, if desired, commonly accessible editing applications are sufficient for this video. If a smartphone is not available, then software programs and apps also can be used to produce a video comprised of still photography and voice narration. This should not be a professionally produced video.

In order to complete this part of your application, your team will upload a short digital film using YouTube (set the Privacy Settings on your video to Public or Unlisted - do not set them to Private). Your team’s video may be extracted from your team’s submission and made available to the public.

Your team’s Video Pitch should comply with the following guidelines. If it does not, your submission may be invalid and no longer eligible for an award.

Video submissions that are longer than 90 seconds, do not include closed captioning, or are not set to public/unlisted settings will deem the application ineligible.

Here are general suggestions for delivering a high-quality video pitch: