Funding strategies

Funding strategies

There are many options for funding projects. Self-funding options include traditional fundraisers and online “crowdfunding” sites such as GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and Indiegogo. Your  organization may be eligible for a grant for funding. You could also consider partnering with local nonprofits or small businesses. If you are part of a for-profit company, you may be eligible for small-business microloans.


Partnerships, Fiscal Agents

For organizations without 501c3 status, consider partnering with a non-profit organization such as a “Friends” group or other organization. You may want to partner on all aspects of the project, or have the non-profit serve as your fiscal agent. For example, the Chicago Parks Foundation has the capacity to serve as a fiscal sponsor for Park Advisory Councils.  


List of Grants & Programs

There are many grant, technical assistance, and funding programs for which you or your organization may be eligible. Some examples include:

Take a look at this spreadsheet for more potential funding opportunities. The spreadsheet is searchable by topic and eligibility criteria.


Grant writing Resources

The following links can help you through the grant application process. In general, as shown in this presentation, the important considerations are:

  1. Read application and funding guidelines carefully
  2. Make sure the project is a good match and your organization is eligible
  3. Make sure the project is within the capacity of your organization
  4. Line up partners in advance
  5. Plan on more time than you think you’ll need to prepare the application
  6. Get feedback early and often

This Minnesota Council of Foundations guide to writing a successful grant proposal, including explanations of common terms and proposal requirements. Youth grant writing 101 offers tips for youth-led and youth-centered proposals, including a sample budget. The Purdue Online Writing Lab’s Grant Writing tab offers style tips for writing a grant.



There are many companies in Chicago and beyond that work with small businesses to provide microloans. When in doubt, contact your local Chamber of Commerce or Neighborhood Business Development Center for more resources for small businesses.

Some well-known microloan providers in Chicago are: Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, Accion, and the Women’s Business Development Center. The Loans Under 50k page on the City of Chicago website has links to other microloan providers in the City. The Small Business Administration also offers several small-business and microloan programs.  

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