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The Joyce Foundation Awards $14.2 Million in Grants


The Joyce Foundation has awarded grants of $14.2 million in its latest round of grant making, the first since refocusing its funding priorities on advancing racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in the Great Lakes region.  The grants support policy research, development, and advocacy to help reduce gun violence, broaden educational and economic opportunity, and achieve cleaner air and water.

Joyce also is investing in organizations working to strengthen American democracy, as well as artists, organizations, and communities traditionally underrepresented in Chicago’s cultural landscape.  The following are selected grants among 60 approved at the April 25 meeting of the Joyce Board of Directors:

Education & Economic Mobility: $4.2 million (16 grants)

The Education and Economic Mobility Program works to ensure equitable access to high-quality education and jobs for the region’s next generation, especially young people of color and those from low-income communities. Three grants support the program’s goal of improving the quality of teachers and principals through policies focused on educator preparation, building career ladders for teachers, and raising the voice of teachers: Stand for Children-Indiana ($300,000, 2 yrs); Ed Allies of Minnesota ($435,000, 2 yrs); and The Aspen Institute, $450,000, 2 yrs). Nine grants support policies in college access, readiness, and completion, including: the Ohio Association of Community Colleges ($200,000, 2 yrs); the Institute for College Access and Success ($250,000, 1 yr); and the Education Trust ($500,000, 2 yrs). The Education Trust will convene coalitions in Illinois and Ohio to help build policy agendas around equity in higher education, including low-income and minority student access at public flagship institutions.

Environment: $3.5 million (13 grants)

The Joyce Environment Program supports science-based policy to address two critical long-term environmental goals: accelerating the transition to clean energy and ensuring the next generation will have clean water from lake to tap. Grants to the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance ($280,000, 2 yrs) and Ceres, Inc. ($480,000, 3 yrs) will support ongoing implementation of major clean energy legislation in Midwest states.

On the water side, Human Impact Partners received a grant ($110,000, 1 year) to conduct a health equity analysis of policies to prevent lead exposure in drinking water; and the National Parks Conservation Association ($600,000, 2 yrs) was awarded a grant to support ongoing advancement of federal Great Lakes policies such as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Gun Violence Prevention & Justice Reform Program: $3.2 million (12 grants)

Approved funding includes grants to support policy advocacy in Great Lakes states, and for research to inform gun violence prevention policy and practice. The University of Texas at Austin ($308,277, 18 mos) will study college students’ attitudes and awareness about gun violence, to inform efforts to reduce the next generation’s exposure to gun violence. SocialSphere of Cambridge, MA ($265,000, 6 mos) will conduct public opinion research into attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of the “Columbine Generation” (15-29) around guns and gun policy. The American College of Preventive Medicine ($190,000, 1 yr) will increase awareness of and support for the National Violent Death Reporting System to protect increased funding approved earlier this year for this vital repository of state-level data that informs violence prevention policies.

Democracy Program: $1.5 million (8 grants)

The Joyce Democracy Program seeks an informed, engaged, and representative democracy through fair elections and vibrant public-interest journalism. In its Fair Elections focus area, it invests in expanded access to the ballot, an end to partisan gerrymandering, and an accurate count in the 2020 census. Media grants support public-interest journalism that informs voting and policy making and holds government accountable. Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago ($150,000, 2 yrs) will work to protect the Asian-American community’s right to vote and help empower it to create change; and a grant to the Illinois PIRG Education Fund ($150,000, 2 yrs) will support its program to promote democratic reforms, increase civic engagement, and train the next generation of leaders. Media grants were awarded to ProPublica Illinois ($400,000, 2 yrs) for its accountability journalism; Trace Media ($300,000, 2 yrs) for reporting on gun violence in the Great Lakes region; and City Bureau ($75,000, 1 yrs) to support its Civic Reporting Program, aimed at increasing coverage of Chicago’s South and West sides.

Culture Program: $1.2 million (10 grants)

Grants recently awarded in the Culture Program address gaps in Chicago’s cultural landscape, providing capacity-building tools for artists and arts organizations and expanding access to the arts for the next generation. A grant to the Chicago Artists Coalition ($225,000, 3 yrs) will support establishment of a pilot micro-grant program providing a new source of funding for individual artists, which was called for in Chicago’s 2012 Cultural Plan.  A grant to Free Street Theater ($75,000, 1 yr) will continue operations of The Storyfront, an innovative theater initiative and space set in Chicago’s largely Latino Back of the Yards neighborhood. Originally launched as part of the organization’s Joyce Award-winning commission of playwright, Ricardo Gamboa in 2017, The Storyfront addresses the critical need for more community-based theater venues on the city’s south and west sides.  Joyce also will become an inaugural funder of the newly created Teen Arts Pass with a grant to the Urban Gateways Center for Arts Education ($50,000, 1 yr). The program will provide deeply discounted tickets to some of Chicago’s most respected arts presenters for 13- to 19-year olds and accompanying adults.

April 2018 Approved Grants


Cause Strategy Partners New York, NY $150,000
To support a board development initiative for small, neighborhood-based, nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in Chicago  (36)

Chicago Artists Coalition Chicago, IL $225,000
To support a Chicago Artists Fund microgrant program $225,000 (36)

Chicago Sinfonietta Inc. Chicago, IL $150,000
To support the League’s 2018 National Conference $150,000 (12)

Debbie Allen Dance Academy Los Angeles, CA $50,000
To support "FREEZE FRAME...Stop the Madness" $50,000 (12)

eta Creative Arts Foundation Chicago, IL $45,000
To support recruitment, compensation, and professional development of a new executive director $45,000 (12)

Free Street Theater Chicago, IL $75,000
To cover artist, production, and occupancy costs $75,000 (12)

Inner-City Muslim Action Network Chicago, IL $80,000
To support community-based arts instruction and programming, as well as salary support and professional development for its arts and culture manager $80,000 (24)

National Museum of Mexican Art Chicago, IL $200,000
To support its Artevismo initiative which will support planning for the African Presence in Mexico exhibition; curatorial fellowships; and audience engagement $200,000 (24)

The Art Institute of Chicago Chicago, IL $220,000
To support their Strategic Solutions for Cultural Leadership Program $220,000 (24)

Urban Gateways: Center for Arts Education Chicago, IL $50,000
To support "Teen Arts Pass" $50,000 (12)



Asian Americans Advancing Justice- Chicago Chicago, IL $150,000
To support the Asian American community's efforts to protect their right to vote and to empower them to create change in their communities (2yrs)

Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights Chicago, IL $150,000
For Immigrant and Refugee Rights to support its New Americans Democracy Project (2 yrs)

Illinois PIRG Education Fund Chicago, IL $150,000
To support its Democracy and Civic Engagement Program, which is designed to promote democratic reforms, increase civic engagement and train the next generation of leaders (2 yrs)

MinnPost Minneapolis, MN $120,000
To continue, improve, and expand its coverage of public affairs and quality of life stories in Minnesota, consistent with its mission "to make a better Minnesota through better public decision-making" (2 yrs)

ProPublica Inc. New York, NY $400,000
To support the second two years of reporting by its Illinois newsroom, the first regional expansion by the New York-based nonprofit investigative news organization (2 yrs)

The Experimental Station: 6100 Blackstone Chicago, IL $75,000
To support City Bureau-a civic journalism organization on Chicago's South Side, for a pilot project to expand its Civic Reporting Program (1 yr)

Trace Media Inc. New York, NY $300,000
For continuation of its reporting project on gun violence in the Great Lakes region (2 yrs)

WCIJ Inc. Madison, WI $200,000
For Investigative Journalism to increase the quality and quantity of investigative journalism in the state, hold more officials accountable for their actions, cover more issues important to Wisconsin families, and train more future journalists (2yrs)


Education & Economic Mobility

Ed Allies Minneapolis, MN $435,000
For advocacy campaigns on teacher quality and ESSA, and to seed new work on college and career readiness (2yrs)

Education First Consulting LLC Seattle, WA $95,000
To project manage and write a policy paper for the Illinois Teacher Workforce Initiative, an Illinois State Board of Education effort to improve teacher quality policies (9 mos)

Hopewell Fund Washington, DC $250,000
To support the Economic Security Project's investigation of an expanded state-level Earned Income Tax Credit (1yr)

Latino Policy Forum Chicago, IL $425,000
To provide guidance to Illinois policy makers on how to improve education outcomes for Latino students, especially English learners, and advance strategies to strengthen the pipeline of bilingual teachers in K-12 schools (2yrs)

National Student Legal Defense Network, $200,000
To support the development of state policies that prevent fraud and abuse in the higher education sector (2yrs)

New America Foundation Washington, DC $225,000
To research the decline of need- based financial aid at public universities, to research state policies to support apprenticeship, and to develop Higher Education Act (HEA) policy recommendations (1yr)

Ohio Association of Community Colleges Columbus, OH $200,000
To guide the effective implementation of Ohio's College Credit Plus dual enrollment policy and ensure the policy specifically benefits low-income students and students of color  (2yrs)

Regents of the University of California-Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA $50,000
To support Ozan Jaquette's research into low-income and minority student recruitment in public higher education (1yr)

Stand for Children Leadership Center Portland, OR $300,000
To effectively implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in Indiana, advocate for new teacher quality policies, and support college and career pathways development in Indianapolis Public Schools. (2yrs)

The Aspen Institute Inc. Washington, DC $450,000
To continue its national effort to advance policies aimed at increasing educator effectiveness by building strong professional learning conditions for teachers in schools (2yrs)

The Century Foundation Washington, DC $50,000
To identify how policies benefitting advanced manufacturing could be a means to address the "future of work" and economic inclusion. (1yr)

The Education Trust Washington, DC $500,000
To support state policy coalition work in Illinois and Ohio and work on low-income and minority student access at public flagship institutions. (2yrs)

The Institute for College Access and Success Washington, DC $250,000
To develop novel federal and state policy proposals to increase college completion for low-income and minority students  (1yr)

The Saint Paul Foundation Saint Paul, MN $150,000
To support MSPWIn, the Twin Cities funder collaborative and its exploration of post-secondary state policy work (1yr)

The University of Chicago Chicago, IL $300,000
To refresh data archives, seed new studies, update studies, and put research to work (3yrs)

University of Washington Foundation Seattle, WA $350,000
Foundation to support an investigation of the state policies governing and the efficacy of applied baccalaureate programs (2yrs)


Ceres Inc. Boston, MA $480,000
For mobilizing business leaders and investors to spur the transition to clean energy in the Midwest (3 yrs)

Clean Energy Trust Chicago, IL $325,000
For the 2018 and 2019 Clean Jobs Midwest studies and dissemination of their results (18 mos)

Council of State Governments Lombard, IL $150,000
To support the Great Lakes Legislative Caucus (2 yrs)

Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative Inc. Chicago, IL $250,000
To support its Water Program (2 yrs)

Human Impact Partners Oakland, CA $110,000
To conduct an equity analysis of policies to prevent and respond to childhood lead exposure in drinking water (1 yr)

Little Village Environmental Justice Organization Chicago, IL $75,000
To ensure that frontline communities are engaged in Illinois drinking water policy, riverfront development processes, and the implementation of the Illinois Future Energy Jobs Act (1 yr)

Metropolitan Planning Council Chicago, IL $450,000
To support sustainable, equitable water resources management in Illinois (2 yrs)

Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance Chicago, IL $280,000
For the State Energy Efficiency Policy Initiative (2 yrs)

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Washington, DC $150,000
To continue support of the Chi Cal Rivers Fund (3 yrs)

National Parks Conservation Association Washington, DC $600,000
To support the Healing Our Waters (HOW) Coalition (2 yrs)

Northeast-Midwest Institute Washington, DC $80,000
To support the Northeast Midwest Institute's Great Lakes Washington Program (1 yr)

Ohio State University Foundation Columbus, OH $150,000
To support the Ohio Sea Grant program's work on Lake Erie (3 yrs)

Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust Milwaukee, WI $400,000
To improve watershed planning and scale up green infrastructure in the Greater Milwaukee Watersheds (2 yrs)

Gun Violence Prevention & Justice Reform

American College of Preventive Medicine Washington, DC $190,000
To continue efforts to protect current funding levels for the National Violent Death Reporting System (1 yr)

CeaseFire Pennsylvania Education Fund Philadelphia, PA $225,000
To support education and advocacy to reduce gun violence in Pennsylvania, and for a messaging research project (1 yr)

Center for American Progress Washington, DC $950,000
To support its gun policy project (2 yrs)

Children's Hospital Boston Boston, MA $84,710
For a research project to determine best practices in implementing firearm suicide intervention programs for hospitals (1 yr)

Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence Washington, DC $200,000
For continued work to advance risk-based firearms policies, implement model policies, and grow opportunities for impacted communities to engage in gun violence prevention advocacy (1 yr)

Protect Minnesota St. Paul, MN $105,000
To support policy research, advocacy, and coalition building to reduce gun deaths and injuries in Minnesota (1 yr)

SocialSphere Inc. Concord, MA $265,000
For a public opinion study of the Columbine generation's attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors around guns and gun policy (6 mos)

States United to Prevent Gun Violence New York, NY $78,000
To support a digital membership and communications software platform, and a partnership with the Center for American Progress to build advocacy capacity and effectiveness of state gun violence prevention organizations (1 yr)

The University of Chicago Chicago, IL $200,000
To support the University of Chicago Crime Lab's development of an early intervention system for the Chicago Police Department (1 yr)

The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX $316,181
For a research study examining college students' attitudes about guns to develop lessons for intervention (18 mos)

University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA $259,600
For a research study to determine the impact of stand-your-ground laws on the public's health (3 yrs)

WAVE Educational Fund Milwaukee, WI $295,000
To support the Wisconsin Gun Violence Prevention Project (1 yr)

Special Opportunities

Public Religion Research Institute Washington, DC $500,000
To conduct a series of four "Democracy in Crisis" polls in 2018 that will explore American attitudes on four pillars of a healthy democracy: voter access and participation, the role of an independent media, civic activism and engagement (1 yr)

Sandy Hook Promise Foundation Newtown, CT $35,000
To support a pilot violence prevention program in Chicago Public Schools (1 yr)