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The Joyce Foundation Awards $13 Million in Grants


The Joyce Foundation awarded $13 million in new grants at its year-end meeting, closing out its 2015-2017 grant-making cycle. The grants including several previewing the foundation’s new focus on policies supporting young people in the Great Lakes region, and on racial equity and economic mobility:


  • Two-year grants totaling $3.4 million to three national organizations co-leading Joyce’s Great Lakes College and Career Pathways Initiative, which aims to increase the number of high school students who graduate from high school ready to succeed in college. The initiative links K-12 systems in four Great Lakes communities more tightly to higher education and employers, to ensure that students – especially lower-income students and students of color – have smoother pathways into college and careers. The communities are Columbus, OH; Madison, WI; Rockford, IL; and the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago. The grants were awarded to ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career; Jobs for the Future (Boston); and the Education Systems Center at Northern Illinois University.
  • A $140,000, 15-month grant to the Education Commission of the States in Denver for policy work to improve STEM dual enrollment and work-based learning policies in the Great Lakes region. 


  • A two-year, $280,000 grant to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to expand its work in the Midwest addressing aging water infrastructure from source to tap.
  • A two-year, $200,000 grant to Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice for state and local climate and energy policy engagement, bringing the voices of people highly impacted by pollution in SE Michigan into the state’s energy policy deliberations.


  • A $300,000 grant to New York University’s School of Law for a pilot police-community engagement initiative in Chicago to build trust between police and community,
  • A two-year grant of $300,000 to the Research Foundation of the City University of New York (CUNY) for a project at the National Network for Safe Communities to identify and promote opportunities for the use of discretion by police and prosecutors to reduce unnecessary arrest and incarceration.

For a full list of December 2017 grants, please see below.

December 2017 Approved Grants


6018North Chicago, IL $25,000
To support Amanda Williams  (1yr)

The Art Institute of Chicago Chicago, IL $40,000
To support the 25th Anniversary of the Black Harvest Film Festival (1 yr)

Chicago Latino Theater Alliance Chicago, IL $30,000
To support the establishment of a Latino Theater Festival in Chicago (1yr)

Collaboraction Theatre Company Chicago, IL $25,000
To support "Encounter: An Explorative Event Series" (1 yr)

Deeply Rooted Productions Chicago, IL $35,000
To hire a chief operating officer, expand development staff, and provide staff members with the training necessary to grow and thrive in their roles in the organization (1yr)

Hyde Park Jazz Festival Chicago, IL $30,000
To initiate a new project titled Back Alley Jazz (1yr)

Links Hall Chicago, IL $20,000
To support the incubation of the Art Leaders of Color Network (1yr)

National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture Chicago, IL $40,000
Secure an off-site storage to house and expand NMPRAC's current collection in order to create more exhibitions and educational opportunities (1yr)

Puerto Rican Arts Alliance Chicago, IL $40,000
To support a Latin Music School (1yr)

threewalls Chicago, IL $25,000
To support the RaD Lab program (1yr)

United States Artists Inc. Chicago, IL $25,000
To support USA's 2018 Artists Assembly and to fund a landscape study to explore the possibility of hosting a large annual national convening on arts and culture in Chicago (1yr)


Chicago Votes Chicago, IL $150,000
To support its civic engagement work with young people in Chicago and its management of the NextGen Illinois coalition (1 yr)

Illinois Campaign for Political Reform Chicago, IL $25,000
To support its research of best practices for the administration of elections in Illinois (1 yr)

Minnesota Civil Liberties Union Foundation St. Paul, MN $40,000
To support its felon voting rights and voter education project (1 yr))

The Franklin And Eleanor Roosevelt Institute New York, NY $75,000
To support its Great Lakes Growth Initiative focused on increasing young people's engagement in public policy throughout the region (1 yr)

State Voices Washington, DC $75,000
To support its Ohio democracy program focused on voting rights (1 yr)


Chalkbeat New York, NY $115,000 
In support of its Indiana chapter to cover education issues that affect low-income children in the greater Indianapolis area (18 mos)

The Chicago Public Education Fund Chicago, IL $650,000
To continue its principal quality work in Chicago Public Schools and to launch a principal quality learning community with at least four other cities (2yrs)

Education First Consulting, LLC Seattle, WA $55,000
To provide technical support to the Illinois P-20 Council and the Illinois State Board of Education to help implement the state's ESSA plan (7 mos)

Educators 4 Excellence New York, NY $300,000
To engage and mobilize teachers and elevate their voice in policy conversations (1yr)

Minnesota Comeback Minneapolis, MN $115,000
To support its Talent and Policy teams and their efforts to ensure high-quality teacher pipeline and teacher development policies (1yr)

National Council on Teacher Quality Washington, DC $200,000
To support its work to strengthen state teacher quality policies through the publication of its State Teacher Policy Yearbook and other policy reports (1yr)


Brandon Roberts + Associates Chevy Chase, MD $235,000
To support the Working Poor Families Project and state-based workforce policy advocacy (1yr)

Demos New York, NY $150,000
To conduct research on the accessibility barriers for students at selective public institutions (1yr)

Indiana Community Action Association Indianapolis, IN $100,000
To  support state-level advocacy on future of work safety net issues (1yr)

Institute for Higher Education Policy Washington, DC $150,000
To identify low-income and minority student trends at Great Lakes public flagship institutions and policies that may be inhibiting increases for those populations (1yr)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA $500,000
To identify state and federal policies that will help Great Lakes states adapt given changes in artificial intelligence, robotics and digital technologies  (30 mos)

National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies dba Digital Promise Washington, DC $175,000
To increase the usage and effectiveness of adult education technology (1yr)

National Vocational Technical Education Foundation dba Center to Advance CTE Silver Spring, MD $250,000
To increase the effectiveness of post-secondary career and technical education (CTE) program review and approval (2yrs)


Council of Great Lakes Governors Inc. Chicago, IL $48,000
To support participation by not-for-profit organizations in a review of the Great Lakes Compact Council's decision-making processes (1 yr)

Council of Michigan Foundations Inc. Grand Haven, MI $75,000
To support the Great Lakes Funders Collaborative (3 yrs)

Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice Detroit, MI $200,000
For state and local climate and energy policy engagement in Michigan (2 yrs)

Environmental Defence Canada Inc. Toronto, Ontario $50,000
To support its efforts to protect the Great Lakes and reduce nutrient loading in Western Lake Erie (1 yr)   

Fresh Energy St. Paul, MN $540,000
For continued support of Midwest Energy News (3 yrs)

Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission Odanah, WI $50,000
To facilitate participation by Tribes and First Nations in the Great Lakes Compact Council's review of its decision-making processes (1 yr)

Institute for Strategic and Equitable Development Bennettsville, SC $150,000
For the Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in Environmental Philanthropy Initiative (2 yrs)

Michigan League of Conservation Voters Education Fund Ann Arbor, MI $300,000
To support a water campaign in Michigan (2 yrs)

Michigan United Conservation Clubs Lansing, MI $200,000
To support a coalition of user groups to mobilize the sporting community in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan to call for action on Asian carp (2 yrs)

Natural Resources Defense Council Inc. New York, NY $280,000
To support Great Lakes and water infrastructure advocacy (2 yrs)

Union of Concerned Scientists Inc. Cambridge, MA $250,000
For its Toward a Sustainable and Equitable Energy Future in the Midwest project (2 yrs)

Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence Chicago, IL $125,000
For policy education and advocacy to reduce gun violence in Illinois (6 mos)

Gun Violence Prevention

Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence San Francisco, CA $500,000
To support state policy research and education, and litigation (2 yrs)

MomsRising Education Fund Bellevue, WA $45,000 To support its gun safety program (1 yr)

New Venture Fund Washington, DC $100,000 To support the Fund for a Safer Future (1 yr)

St. Sabina Church dba The Faith Community of St. Sabina Chicago, IL $15,000
For the Purpose Over Pain program to provide issue education and support to parents and guardians whose children have been victims of gun violence (1 yr)

Violence Policy Center Washington, DC $200,000
For research, public education, and communications in support of effective gun violence prevention policies in the Midwest and across the nation (1 yr) 

Gun Violence Prevention & Justice Reform

New York University New York, NY $300,000
For a pilot police-community engagement initiative in Chicago (1 yr) $300,000 (12)

Research Foundation of the City University of New York New York, NY $300,000
For a project at the National Network for Safe Communities at John Jay College to inform and improve law enforcement discretion in the interests of criminal justice reform (2 yrs) $300,000 (24)

Joint Fund for Education and Employment

Civic Nation Washington, DC $200,000
To increase college-going among recent high school graduates and to promote effective free community college programs (18 mos)

ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career Berkeley, CA $2,575,000
For College and Career to co-lead with Jobs for the Future Joyce's Great Lakes College and Career Pathways Partnership (2yrs)

Education Commission of the States Denver, CO $140,000
To develop national policy reports, conduct state policy analyses in the Great Lakes region, and host policy academies to improve STEM dual enrollment and work-based learning policies in our region (15 mos)

Education Strategy Group Chevy Chase, MD $350,000
To partner with the Indiana Commission on Higher Education and the Indiana Department of Education to develop strategies to reduce the need for remedial education when high school graduates reach college. (2yrs)

Jobs for the Future Boston, MA $425,000
To co-lead Joyce's Great Lakes College and Career Pathways Partnership in four Great Lakes communities (2yrs)

Northern Illinois University DeKalb, IL $425,000
For the Education Systems Center to advance college and career readiness policies in Illinois, and to provide strategic advisement to other Great Lakes states (2yrs)

Thrive Chicago Chicago, IL $100,000
To build a systemic response to "summer melt" in the city of Chicago. (1yr)

Special Opportunities

365 Media Foundation Inc. Madison, WI $75,000
To support its continued growth as a source of news and community engagement for communities of color in South Central Wisconsin (1 yr)

The Aspen Institute Inc. Washington, DC $100,000
To support the Opportunity Youth Investment Fund (1 yr) 

Chicago Public Media Inc. Chicago, IL $250,000
To (1) provide in-depth reporting coverage of the Illinois statehouse and of regional issues that impact Great Lakes residents and (2) continue a series of personal stories focused on the issue of gun violence in Chicago (1 yr)

Civic Consulting Alliance Chicago, IL $400,000
To provide strategic consulting to the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois in the areas of public safety and education (2 yrs)

Forefront Chicago, IL $200,000
To enhance its public policy and advocacy work and create a new Census 2020 initiative (2 yrs)

New Venture Fund Washington, DC $100,000
To support its 2020 Census Initiative, which seeks a full and accurate count of the US population in the 2020 US Census (1 yr)

PolicyLink Oakland, CA $50,000
To support the Equity Summit 2018: Persist, Resist, Innovate to take place in Chicago in April 2018 (1 yr)

World Business Chicago Chicago, IL $100,000
For the North American Mayors' Summit on Climate (1 yr)