Chicago Foundations Launch Joint Project To Boost Leadership Opportunities In Minority Communities

Craig Dellimore
February 05, 2019 - 8:09 am

WBBM Newsradio/Craig Dellimore

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Two major foundations in Chicago are launching a joint project aimed at expanding opportunities for leadership and influence in minority communities.

The John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is teaming up with the Field Foundation in a $5 million dollar effort to give grants to civic leaders doing things in new and better ways; and to new media leaders, too. 

Field Foundation President Angelique Power said they’re looking for leaders in mostly black and brown communities often left out of philanthropic giving.

"The combination, the one-two punch, between MacArthur and Field is Field can find a lot of these individuals, Field and MacArthur can fund them, and then MacArthur also has a tremendous platform that can be offered to folks so that they can share their ideas across the city," she said. 

The idea, she said, is to promote equity and leadership for the future.

One of the projects of the Field and MacArthur foundations will be to award grants to media and story-telling outlets and community groups that are producing verified news and innovative content for black, Latin, Asian, Arab and Native American communities.

"In the rebuilding of trust in different institutions what we also would argue is that there's an opportunity within journalism to have more lived experience, more voices of communities that are often the focus of the stories, as opposed to the storytellers," Power said. 

Second, the foundations will also be giving grants to the recipients of its Leaders for New Chicago Awards and the agencies they represent. 

“We are proud to help enhance and expand opportunities for a diverse group of leaders across Chicago to ensure their voices are heard in public conversation; their influence is felt in decisions that shape our city; and their perspectives are reflected in inclusive narratives that support meaningful civic engagement,” said MacArthur President Julia Stasch, in a statement. “We were pleased to partner with Field on the design of these programs because they advance our shared vision of a city where prosperity is shared, opportunity is equitable, and justice can thrive.”

Leaders for a New Chicago is now accepting nominations.

The Media & Storytelling program, with additional support from the Democracy Fund, will open for applications April 15, 2019.

Both programs will further boost the Field Foundation’s innovative grant making model of Community Empowerment through Justice, Art, and Leadership Investment.