Grant Making Focus Areas

The African American Legacy will support community organizations with a strong commitment to social justice and a programmatic focus on the following areas:

1.) Arts- we seek to support artistic expression that share and celebrate the lived experience of Black Chicagoans

2) Immigration – we seek to support policy/systems change and direct service specific to those of the African Diaspora

3) Mental Health – we seek to support trauma informed care that actively responds to street, gun and police violence

4) Youth Micro Entrepreneurship- we seek to support 6 to 12-month efforts that prepare youth, ages 16 to 24, to start, run and grow a business

Grantmaking Criteria:

Organizations that are considered Black led/Black serving, responsive to and rooted in community, and whose work is focused on any one of the four programmatic areas are eligible to apply.

Black Led/Black Serving. AAL is committed to improving the quality of life of African Americans throughout Metropolitan Chicago and sees it support of community organizations as a key component in that effort. In particular AAL is committed to supporting organizations that are black serving which means constituents are predominantly black and/or from the African Diaspora (Africans brought primarily to the Americas as slaves who live around the globe— Brazil, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Europe and Asia) and black led meaning the staff and board leadership are predominately black and/or from the African Diaspora.

Place-based. Primarily located in Metropolitan Chicago. Connected space defined by physical geography, provides a spatial context for defining outcomes, social problems are interrelated and sometimes grounded by concentrations of poverty and gaps in opportunity.

People-driven. Program direction and design are grounded in the needs of the constituency and the community served. Most of the work is done not only for the people involved but also by them. An asset-based approach is used to discover and bring forth the individual’s gifts in service of the community.

Social Justice. A demonstrated commitment to address the fair redistribution of resources, opportunities, and responsibilities across all communities; empowers all people, particularly those who have been historically disenfranchised, to realize their full potential; and actively build the community’s capacity for collaborative action.

Types of Support

Grants are intended to fund either General Operating or Project support.

To be eligible for a grant award, an applicant must be:

• A nonprofit organization with evidence that it (a) has been recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as an organization described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Code; (b) is fiscally sponsored by a Section 501(c)(3) organization; (c) or is a governmental unit within the meaning of Section 170(c)(1) of the Code; 2

• Described in Section 170(b)(1)(A) of the Code, other than a “disqualified supporting organization” within the meaning of Section 4966(d)(4) of the Code; and

• Located within and/or primarily serving residents of Cook County, Illinois.

The 2020 Cycle has closed. Awards will be announced in late September 2020. To be notified of upcoming cycles complete registration here.

meet our 2019 grant recipients



             The Black Star Project 
             Nehemiah Group
             Impact Family Center
             Ignite Technology and Innovations 
             Gray Matter Experience 
             Global Girls

Social Justice

A Work of Faith Ministries, Inc.
Academy of Scholastic Achievement
Black Youth Project
Kufi Club of Chicago
Kuumba Lynx

       Mental Health

        Action Coalition of Englewood
        I Am Able Center for Family Development
        Institute for Positive Living  
        Lost Boyz, Inc.


Sudanese American Charity of Illinois 
Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago


If you’d like to be informed when our next grant cycle opens fill in form below.

    © Copyright 2016 African American Legacy. Website design, animation and content by Art On The Loose, Inc. Video production by Epilog Media Design Group. Original photography by Lauren Harris, Tommy Inglis and Jason Jones. Additional photos and footage courtesy of Bruce Powell, Jean-Marc Giboux and the African American Legacy grantees.


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    Suite 2200
    Chicago IL 60601
    FAX: 312.616.7955