The single biggest development in the work of the Dewan Foundation in 2020 was the rapid acceleration of the pace of grant making. There were three components in this work.
First, the Foundation made a large continuing commitment to provide capital funds for the expansion of a model Catholic middle school on Chicago’s west side.
Second, we made emergency response grants to address COVID-19. These grants were made mostly to program operators serving the homeless and needy in Chicago as well as a few programs overseas.
COVID had a tremendous impact. Hundreds of homeless people in Chicago were moved into hotels to get them out of dangerously crowded shelters, and in cases where they could safely remain in congregant living situations, to assure social distancing. A major need was the cost of food, not only for people in supportive housing who had lost their jobs, but also for people in the community in general. Because of our long-standing relationships with core grantees in Chicago’s neediest neighborhoods, we were able to respond quickly at the point of greatest financial need to the COVID emergency.
Third, the Foundation selectively added eight new first-time grantees. These focused on basic education programs in Haiti, Nicaragua and Kenya and a vocational training effort in Peru.
All of this was in addition to the usual grantmaking effort supporting our core grantees in Chicago and around the world.
Altogether, the Dewan Foundation made 63 grants in 2020 for a total amount of $302,825. This was both the largest number of grants and the largest amount for any year of the Dewan Foundation’s history. Of these, there were 16 grants for $ 28,500 to address COVID-related needs, 4 grants to local Catholic schools for $127,625, 22 grants to address the needs of homeless and disadvantaged in Chicago for $70,500 and 21 grants to programs working overseas in 12 countries for $76,200.
The number of annual grants has been gradually trending upward for the last several years and ramping up at a consistently higher rate for the last few years. From 2017 to 2019, there was a 20% increase in the number of grants made. From 2019 to 2020, the number of grants rose by an additional 25%.
The Dewan Foundation has stretched its grant making about as far as possible, and we need to consider at what level we can sustain this pace into the future. Nonetheless, we remain committed to do what we can to address the needs of people in poverty locally and around the world. As always, we deeply appreciate your interest and support.
The Board of Directors