Guiding principles

Today, after more than 14 fruitful and rewarding years, the Foundation's familiar and familial presence in the community continues as does the accessibility of family and Foundation staff to the input of neighborhood leaders and residents.

We define ourselves as investors and are interested in creating the highest possible levels of human gain for the limited grant dollars we have available. In that mode, we review proposals with the following questions in mind:

  • What are the results from the project—meaning outcomes for participants—that provide the return on our investment?
  • What are the chances those results will be achieved?
  • Is this the best use of our resources?

The Foundation makes two types of investments:

Investments in Programs/Projects
In this area we support programs and projects that create human gain for people in our areas of focus; early childhood, elementary and secondary education and parent advocacy and leadership.

Through special opportunities and discretionary grants, the Foundation seeks to promote connections among organizations doing complementary work, including nonprofits, foundations and government agencies in order to advance best practices and build knowledge, and promote effective policy within the Foundation’s core interest areas.  As such, under special circumstances the Foundation will invite applications from organizations that offer innovative programs.

Investments in Organizations
We support investments to organizations that are aligned with our vision and can contribute to the results we seek. The foundation provides support for organizations so they can achieve and sustain stronger results or gains for those served. Looking at results, we want to know how donor support will positively impact the organization and ultimately those it serves. In this area, we often support educational organizations through general operating grants.

The Foundation continues its efforts in the community of North Lawndale on three key revitalization fronts:

  • Early Childhood Development
  • School-Based Education
  • Parent/Caregiver Advocacy and Leadership

The Foundation may also provide support on a very limited basis for projects that may not directly align with the stated core areas but show potential for community building. This funding is intended to launch but not sustain project activity. For further information, please contact a Foundation staff member to discuss specifics.

The Steans Family Foundation recognizes that effective neighborhood revitalization must come from and be sustained by the community itself. Keeping this principal in mind, the Foundation has a continued commitment to North Lawndale residents and organizations to help build capacity within the areas of focus.