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Funding Guidelines

The John and Susan Dewan Foundation makes grants only to charitable organizations that have tax-exempt status in the USA and that provide direct services to people experiencing poverty.


  • The Foundation focuses its giving on those that provide education, job training and creation, community development and food/housing.

  • Faith-based organizations, primarily in the Roman Catholic tradition, as well as organizations that are committed to addressing climate change and its impact on communities are of special interest.

  • We strongly favor smaller organizations rather than multi-million-dollar institutions.

  • Grants are primarily made within the City of Chicago and immediately surrounding suburbs and USA-based organizations that address the needs of people experiencing poverty overseas.

  • Historically, we receive more than 200 requests annually and only add 1-3 new grantees to our portfolio each year.  

  • Grants will generally be $2,500 or less and will usually be awarded for a single year.


Please note: The John and Susan Dewan Foundation does NOT fund:

  • Individuals

  • Endowments

  • Church planting

  • Organizations that unlawfully discriminate with regard to employees, volunteers, delivery of programs or services, or clients served based on age, sex, religion/creed, race, color, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, marital status, military or veterans status, pregnancy  or genetic information

  • Any organization that is inconsistent with the mission, vision and values of the Foundation

  • Lobbying or activities supporting political candidates or voter registration drives, as defined by the U.S. Internal Revenue Code (IRC), section 4945(d)(1) and (2)

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