Our Process

Step One: Determine if your work aligns with our funding priorities

We want to help create a Chicago where all people can reach their full potential. This work is only possible with the dedicated nonprofit organizations, public sector leaders and other partners who design and implement the efforts our grantmaking supports. If you’re interested in applying for funding from Polk Bros. Foundation, first explore our website and the resources listed here to learn more about our focus and the types of efforts we seek to fund. If your work aligns, please move on to step two.

Additional Resources

Learn What We Fund

Step Two: Complete an eligibility checklist

The next step is to complete our eligibility checklist and, if eligible, register for access to our online Grants Portal. If you have already received login credentials for our Grants Portal, you may skip this step.

Complete Our Eligibility Checklist

Step Three: Apply

If you believe your work aligns with our funding priorities and you’ve completed the checklist above and have received login credentials for Polk Bros. Foundation’s online Grants Portal as a result, you may log in and begin your two-phase application.

  • During Phase One of your application, you’ll be asked to provide brief, high-level information about your organization and the program for which you’re seeking funding. If the Foundation determines your request is aligned with our strategies, you will receive information about how to proceed to Phase Two. Preview the application questions.

  • During Phase Two, you'll be asked to complete an additional set of questions and provide supporting documents that will help us evaluate your application. Preview the application questions.

Polk Bros. Foundation accepts applications year-round and recommends keeping the following timing in mind. We review applications in the order in which they are received, and consider them at quarterly board meetings in February, May, August and November. We generally recommend completing your two-phase application three to four months prior to the date of the board meeting.

Recommended Timing to Apply
Board Meeting Submit Phase One By Submit Phase Two By For Work During this Grant Period
February Oct. 1 Nov. 1 Jan 1 - Dec. 31*
May Jan. 6 Feb. 1 July 1 - June 30*
August Apr. 1 May 1 July 1 - June 30*
November July 1 Aug. 1 Jan. 1 - Dec. 31*

For organizations with budgets of $500K and under, please refer to this timeline for our Small Grants Board Meetings instead.
Small Grants Board Meeting Submit Phase One By Submit Phase Two By For Work During this Grant Period
Spring (Mar./Apr.) Jan. 6 Feb. 1 Apr. 1 - Mar. 31*
Fall (Sep./Oct.) July 1 Aug. 1 Oct. 1 - Sep. 30*
*Check your grant award letter to confirm. A grant period may be different if the organization and program officer decided on a change.

Additional Resources

Apply for Funding

Learn What We Fund

Explore our Current Grantmaking