McCormick Foundation and United Way Launch Fund to Support Local Nonprofits in a Volatile Economy

In the wake of government funding cuts, declines in giving and an increasing need for services, the McCormick Foundation and United Way of Metropolitan Chicago are partnering to create “United Way of Metropolitan Chicago Impact Fund,” an initiative to help local nonprofits provide urgently needed education programs for children and youth. The McCormick Foundation will match the first $2 million donated to the Fund at 50 cents on the dollar, up to a total match of $1 million. In response to the 2009 economic downturn, agencies across the region laid off staff, increased wait lists, denied services, cut programs, partnered with other agencies and closed sites altogether. According to a new report from Donors Forum, Illinois grantmakers and nonprofits reported that the sector has not yet felt the full impact of the economic crisis. “The McCormick Foundation and the United Way share a commitment to addressing the growing needs of Chicago communities, “said David Hiller, McCormick Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer. “By combining our resources, we are able to extend our reach and offer help where it’s needed most.” In its recent funding cycle, United Way received more than $50 million in requests from 305 agencies around the region.  This represented a $10 to $1 ratio of requests. A recent United Way survey also found that of close to 500 nonprofits across the state, 90 percent reported relying on governmental support and 77 percent reported they are owed payment from the state for services already provided. “United Way understands the financial burden the health and human services sector is currently navigating. Our partnership with McCormick Foundation will allow us to provide additional crucial dollars that support programs serving those people in areas of greatest need,” said Laura Thrall, President and CEO, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago. The first round of grants from United Way of Metropolitan Chicago Impact Fund, totaling $3 million, was approved by the McCormick Foundation at the April 2010 board meeting. Below is the complete listing of recipients: Academic Achievement 1. B.U.I.L.D, Inc.         $150,000 For the Youth Leadership Initiative, providing children and youth with tutoring, leadership development, and violence prevention activities.     2. Casa Central         $135,000 For the Youth Options Unlimited program, providing homework help, individual tutoring, college preparation, job shadowing, and leadership development activities for 115 youth.           3. Chicago Commons Association $210,000 For the Child Education program, providing school readiness activities for preschool children and academic support for middle and high school students.     4. Chicago Youth Centers $480,000 For the Teen Leadership Development program, providing academic enrichment, life skills training, community service, and recreation activities to over 1,000 youth. 5. Gads Hill Center          $155,000 For the Teen Connection and Club Learn programs, providing 85 high school students and 230 grade school students with tutors, mentors, and health/wellness activities. 6. Metropolitan Family Services       $570,000 For the Community Schools program, providing tutors, computer literacy, and recreation activities for children and youth at 16 Chicago public schools. 7. SGA Youth & Family Services      $125,000 For the School-Based Services program, providing one-on-one and group counseling for 1,300 public school students struggling with grades, depression, and behavioral issues.              Early Childhood Education 8. Carole Robertson Center for Learning    $155,000 For the Birth-to-Five Child Development program, providing early education and development activities for low-income and special needs children.             9. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago   $665,000 For the Early Childhood Development Centers, providing developmentally appropriate care for children age 6 weeks to 12 years. 10. YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago     $355,000 For the Children’s Services program, providing early education services for 870   children, ages 6 weeks to 12 years.  Total Awarded        $3,000,000   About the McCormick Foundation The McCormick Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to strengthening our free, democratic society by investing in children, communities and country. Through its grantmaking programs, Cantigny Park and Golf, museums, and civic outreach program the Foundation helps build a more active and engaged citizenry. It was established as a charitable trust in 1955, upon the death of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. The McCormick Foundation is one of the nation’s largest charities, with more than $1 billion in assets. For more information, please visit About United Way of Metropolitan Chicago United Way improves lives by mobilizing caring people to invest in the community where it’s needed most. People engage with United Way to give, advocate and volunteer in their community to advance the common good.  Spanning 238 communities across six counties, United Way is the largest non-governmental funder of health and human service programs in the region. By promoting education, income and health, United Way creates opportunities for people to live stable, healthy and independent lives. For more information, please visit


  1. Talmadge Betts

    1) How were the funding categories determined?
    2) How were the funding recipients determined?
    3) What is the timeframe and disbursement amount for the next round?
    4) Is there an open process for organizations to apply for this funding? If so, what are the eligibility criteria? If not, what are the selection criteria?
    5) Is there a contact person, to whom I can direct these and other questions to?

    Thank you in advance for your response.

    Talmadge Betts
    Senior Program Officer
    Black United Fund of Illinois

  2. Sarah Frick

    UWMC’s partnership with the McCormick Foundation was a way for UWMC to keep as much funding online as possible in a down fundraising environment. It was a closed process for a select group of currently funded agencies in order for us to better manage.

    We are exploring future opportunities with McCormick Foundation. However, at this time, there is no structure in place for the next cycle.