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Joyce Foundation Awards $13.7 Million in Grants


Contact: Lilly Athamanah, 312-782-2464


CHICAGO – The Joyce Foundation has awarded $13.7 million in grants to support organizations advocating for clean air and clean water in the Great Lakes region, sensible gun safety laws, and policies to help workers gain the skills they need for good jobs. The Chicago-based foundation also approved investments in two leading local institutions at its July Board of Directors meeting. Highlights of the July grant making include the following:

Environment: $3 million total (11 grants)

Environment Program grants included three awarded to independent, single-state environmental advocacy organizations: the Michigan Environmental Council ($1 million over 30 months); Ohio Environmental Council ($660,000 over two years); and Clean Wisconsin Inc. ($600,000 over two years). The grants support ongoing policy and advocacy work to protect and restore the Great Lakes and advance clean energy policy by advocating for increased energy efficiency requirements to reduce energy consumption.

Gun Violence Prevention: $1.3 million (8 grants)

Grants were awarded to organizations involved in research, coalition building and advocacy to reduce firearm violence. The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington received a grant ($125,000, one year) to continue its work on engaging communities of color in developing locally based strategies to reduce gun violence and improve police-community relations. A grant toPICO National Network of Oakland, California ($150,000, one year) will support the Live Free Gun Violence Initiative, a series of local campaigns to highlight intersections between gun violence and mass incarceration and advocate for state gun safety agendas.Northeastern University in Boston received a grant ($540,000, two years) to conduct and disseminate research to expand scientific knowledge about firearms.

Employment: $3 million (8 grants)

Employment Program grants reflect Joyce’s focus on building evidence about effective workforce policies and programs and sharing that evidence with federal policy makers and business groups to advance reforms. The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce ($400,000, two years) will conduct research that integrates labor market information into education policy, planning and investment to make sure they reflect market demand.

Boston-based Jobs for the Future ($350,000 for two years) and the National Skills Coalition in Washington ($850,000 for two years) will use research findings to advocate for proven workforce development policies. Jobs for the Future will continue its management of the Congressional Staff Network for Workforce Development and Economic Security. The National Skills Coalition will engage in federal workforce policy advocacy, and provide technical support to state workforce reform coalitions.

Joint Fund for Education and Employment: $605,000 (3 grants)

The Joyce Foundation’s Joint Fund for Education and Employment focuses on building pathways that connect high school, postsecondary education and work, and on improving the personal success skills of students and workers. This involves identifying and expanding policy and practice innovations to improve education and employment outcomes. One such innovation is research showing that brief, low-cost interventions can help students shift from negative mindsets (“college isn’t for me”) to more positive ones that can profoundly affect student achievement. Stanford University’s Project for Education Research that Scales ($500,000 over three years) will support up to 100 colleges delivering mindset interventions to students and adjusting other policies that shape student experience. This project has the potential to increase post-secondary completion and employment outcomes for hundreds of thousands of people, while also yielding new insights on how colleges can structure the student experience to build learning mindsets.

Special Opportunities: $1 million (5 grants)

The Joyce Foundation’s Special Opportunities Program supports important opportunities outside or across its core giving programs. Grants were awarded to two Chicago institutions, the Chicago Urban League ($200,000 over two years) and Chicago Public Media Inc. ($235,000 for one year). The Urban League will use the grant to develop a new research and policy center to inform its program development along with its advocacy and policy agendas to advance the economic, educational, and social progress of African Americans. The Chicago Public Media grant will support two distinct projects at WBEZ: in-depth reporting from the Illinois Statehouse and a series of personal stories focused on Chicago gun violence.

Other Grants

Joyce also awarded grants at the July meeting in its Education, Democracy and Culture programs, including the following:

  • $150,000 (one year) to Boston-based Teach Plus Incorporated, to train effective teachers from high-needs schools to advocate for policy reforms at the state level – specifically around education funding and the Every Student Succeeds Act.
  • $150,000 (18 months) to the Roosevelt Institute of New York to build a coalition of Illinois-based grassroots and policy organizations to bring more young people into the policy process.
  • $50,000 (one year) to Chicago’s South Side Community Art Center to build its internal fund-raising capacity.

The full list of approved July grants are provided below. 

Joyce works with grantee partners to improve quality of life, promote community vitality, and strive for a fair society. The independent, private foundation focuses much of its grant making in the Great Lakes region, while also partnering with public agencies, advocates and other funders to achieve broader impact. It has assets of $950 million and distributes approximately $45 million annually.


July 2016 Approved Grants


Albany Park Theater Project Chicago, IL $90,000 For continued support of the salary of its Community Partnerships Coordinator. (2yrs)

Gilloury Institute Chicago, IL $100,000 For support to 1) Develop financially sustainable and programmatically exciting theatre seasons, and 2) Develop and implement a donor retention program. (2 yrs)

Illinois Humanities Council Chicago, IL $20,000 For expansion and continuation of our Elective Studies series of master classes and programs that aid artists, curators, and arts educators in skill-building. (1yr)

South Side Community Art Center Chicago, IL $50,000 For support to cover the annual salary for the Center's first Development Director. (1 yr)

United States Artists Inc. Chicago, IL $60,000 To support a "JOYCE Artist Award" in 2017 for an artist of color from the Great Lakes region. (1yr)

Woman Made Gallery Chicago, IL $20,000 For support of the salary of Gallery's first African American executive director. (1yr)


FairVote Minnesota Foundation Minneapolis, MN $150,000 For public education and coalition building to expand the use of ranked choice voting at the municipal level. (2 yrs)

Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers Arlington, VA $220,000 to engage and activate regional funders in ensuring a thorough and accurate census count in 2020. (2 yrs)

Headwaters Foundation for Justice Minneapolis, MN $50,000 To support a "Giving Project" focused on democracy reforms and civic engagement. (2 yrs)

Jefferson Center Minneapolis, MN $100,000 To facilitate two to three deliberative democracy processes in Minnesota and create a best practice manual for future replication. (18 mos)

League of Women Voters Education Fund Washington, DC $60,000 For strategic planning and organizational development work that includes the Leagues in the Great Lakes states. (1 yr)

Minnesota Voice St. Paul, MN $250,000 To coordinate and support a multi-organizational, multi-issue movement for political reform in Minnesota. (2 yrs)

New Venture Fund Washington, DC $50,000 For its Redistricting Reform Project, an initiative to share strategies, resources and intelligence between funders and advocates for redistricting reform. (2 yrs)

Northwestern University Chicago, IL $50,000 To support its program, Design for America, to develop a civic tech/online platform to support a deliberative democracy pilot project in Minnesota. (1 yr)

Prison Policy Initiative Northampton, MA $70,000 For technical assistance to policy and legal advocacy groups and on changing how prison populations are counted for redistricting. (2 yrs)

State Voices Detroit, MI $75,000 For its program Ohio Voices to coordinate and support a multi-organizational, multi-issue movement for political reform in Ohio. ( 1 yr)

TakeAction Minnesota Education Fund St. Paul, MN $100,000 To build support for voting rights restoration in Minnesota. (2 yrs)

The Franklin And Eleanor Roosevelt Institute New York, NY $150,000 To build a coalition of Illinois-based grassroots and policy organizations to bring young people into the policy process and become invested in their government. (18 mos)

Voices for Racial Justice Minneapolis, MN $100,000 To integrate a democracy framework into its racial justice programs and to build a strong statewide coalition for political reform. (2 yrs)

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Inc. Madison, WI $120,000 For public education and coalition building on campaign finance, redistricting, voting rights, and an impartial judiciary. (2 yrs)


Deans for Impact Austin, TX $100,000 For Impact for advocacy and communications efforts around teacher preparation reform, and to work with key states on policy changes. (1 yr)

Teach Plus Incorporated Boston, MA $150,000 to train effective teachers from high-needs schools to advocate for policy reforms at the state level, specifically around education funding and the Every Student Succeeds Act. (1 yr)

The University of Chicago Chicago, IL $300,000 To continue its study of REACH, Chicago's teacher evaluation system.  (18 mos)


Central Indiana Corporate Partnership Foundation (CICP) Indianapolis, IN $400,000 To establish and execute the Central Indiana Workforce Development Initiative, intended to create stronger alignment between the supply of skilled talent and demand from employers in Central Indiana. (2 yrs)

Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce Washington, DC $400,000 to conduct research and to provide technical assistance to state government officials on effective use of data systems for aligning the education and workforce development systems, and making data-informed investments. ( 2yrs)

Jobs for the Future Boston, MA $350,000 for continued management of the Congressional Staff Network for Workforce Development and Economic Security.  (2 yrs)

National Skills Coalition Washington, DC $850,000 to support federal workforce policy advocacy; technical assistance to state workforce reform coalitions and policy makers; and national initiatives such as Business Leaders United and the Workforce Data Quality Campaign. (2 yrs)

New Venture Fund Washington, DC $500,000 To operate a donor collaborative focused on employment technology. (2yrs)

New Venture Fund Washington, DC $250,000 To launch and manage an Illinois Digital Learning Lab. (2yrs)

The Franklin And Eleanor Roosevelt Institute New York, NY $50,000 To support the Universal Income Project. (1 yr)

Women Employed Institute Chicago, IL $200,000 For policy advocacy and system reform efforts to ensure that low-income, low-skilled adults in Illinois can access quality education and training leading to economic opportunity. (1 yr)


Alliance for the Great Lakes Chicago, IL $400,000 To support its efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes. (2 yrs)

Bipartisan Policy Center Inc. Washington, DC $250,000 For continued support of the Midcontinent States Environmental and Energy Regulators group. (1 yr)

Clean Wisconsin Inc. Madison, WI $600,000 To support its efforts to advance clean energy policy and protect the Great Lakes. (2 yrs)

Faith in Place Chicago, IL $120,000 For energy efficiency and carbon pollution policy outreach. (1 yr)

Great Plains Institute for Sustainable Development Inc. Minneapolis, MN $640,000 To accelerate adoption of energy efficiency and reduce carbon pollution through policy interventions in Minnesota and regionally in the Midwest. (2 yrs)

Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities Inc Traverse City, MI $120,000 To support its partnership with other leading conservation groups in Michigan to engage business allies to protect the Great Lakes. (2 yrs)

League of Conservation Voters Education Fund Washington, DC $225,000 For the Invest in the Midwest Project to strengthen the outreach and advocacy capacities of state environmental policy advocates in the region. (1 yr)

Michigan Environmental Council Lansing, MI $1,000,000 To support its efforts to advance clean energy policy in Michigan and protect the Great Lakes. (30 mos)

National Wildlife Federation Reston, VA $480,000 To support its efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes. (2 yrs)

Natural Resources Defense Council Inc. New York, NY $800,000 To advance investments in energy efficiency and build a clean energy economy in the Great Lakes region. (2 yrs)

Ohio Environmental Council Columbus, OH $660,000 For continued support of its efforts to leverage state policy to increase energy efficiency in Ohio; and to protect, conserve, and restore Ohio's portion of the Lake Erie basin. (2 yrs)

Gun Violence

Arms with Ethics Surfside, FL $50,000 To develop local gun violence prevention pilot projects with law enforcement agencies in strategic communities. (1 yr)

Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus Croton Falls, NY $30,000 For a college faculty outreach project in the Great Lakes region. (1 yr)

Center for American Progress Washington, DC $60,000 To support Generation Progress' youth-focused policy and advocacy work on gun violence prevention. (9 mos)

Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies Inc. Washington, DC $125,000 To support the next phase of work on the Engaging Communities in Reducing Gun Violence project. (1 yr)

New Venture Fund Washington, DC $100,000 To support a new gun violence prevention collaborative. (6 mos)

Northeastern University College of Criminal Justice Boston, MA $540,000 For research on preventing firearm violence. (1 yr)

PICO National Network Oakland, CA $150,000 To support the Live Free Gun Violence Initiative. (1 yr)

Police Executive Research Forum Washington, DC $143,000 For a project on implementation of state background check laws. (1 yr)

William J. Brennan Jr. Center for Justice New York, NY $150,000 To support a Second Amendment fellowship. (1 yr)

Joint Fund

Deans for Impact Austin, TX $50,000 To pilot efforts to deeply embed cognitive science in member deans teacher preparation programs. (1 yr)

Stanford University Stanford, CA $500,000 For its Project for Education Research that Scales ( to scale evidence-based mindset programs in higher education. (3yrs)

The University of Chicago Chicago, IL $55,000 For the To & Through Project to test the feasibility of using state data to report students' progression from the 9th grade "to and through" college for all Illinois students, including two-year schools. (1yr)

Special Opportunities

Chicago Public Media Inc. Chicago, IL $235,000 To 1) provide in-depth reporting coverage of the Illinois statehouse and of regional issues that impact Great Lakes residents and 2) create a series of personal stories focused on the issue of gun violence in Chicago. (1 yr)

Chicago Urban League Chicago, IL $200,000 To develop a research and policy center that will inform the League's program development, as well as the League's advocacy and policy agendas. (2 yrs)

Cleveland Water Alliance Cleveland, OH $150,000 To produce the AquaHacking Summit 2017: United for Lake Erie. (2 yrs)

National Public Radio Inc. Washington, DC $300,000 To support in-depth coverage of Joyce issues, with a special focus on energy and the environment and on education, especially the newly reauthorized federal K-12 law, the Every Student Succeeds Act. (2 yrs)

Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York New York, NY $125,000 For its Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at the Columbia Journalism School to support a two-part project: a two-day advanced reporting institute on gun violence and prevention for Midwest reporters, editors and producers; and subsequent fellowships for in-depth reporting projects by journalists who participate in the institutes. (18 mos)

Total: $13,693,000

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