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Our Focus

Challenge Grants  |  Planning for a Challenge Grant  |  Challenge Grant Tactics  |  Successful Strategies  |  FAQs

Welcome to the Circle of Service Foundation!

About Us

Circle of Service Foundation is a private foundation that makes grants to support great organizations to enhance community, opportunity and well-being. We believe that challenge grants are powerful tools in the fundraising toolboxes of the organizations we support, and strategies from our grant recipients confirm this. Accordingly, most of our grants have a challenge component.

We welcome grant applications both for specific programs and for general operating support. Each of our grants generally can be categorized into one of our focus areas. After reviewing the information below, if you are not sure if you fit into one of our focus areas, please
contact us.

Our Focus Areas

Community Services

Our Community Services program supports organizations in Cook and Lake Counties, Illinois that help individuals achieve stability in their lives and grow to achieve increasing self-reliance and independence.


Our Education program supports organizations that optimize the opportunity for low-income youth in Cook and Lake Counties, Illinois to live engaged and productive lives. Education grants are by invitation only. If you have a new program that aligns with our giving area, please feel free to contact us.

Jewish Community

Our Jewish Community program supports organizations that generate and maintain vibrant, cohesive and engaging Jewish community in Chicago and the United States, committed to the well-being of Israel and Jewish communities around the world.

Medical Research

Our Medical Research program supports organizations that seek to advance scientific and medical research focused on the diagnosis, prevention, treatment and cure of cancer and other diseases. Medical Research grants are by invitation only.

Additional Information

Capital Grants

Circle of Service Foundation does not accept unsolicited applications for capital grants. If you currently have a grant from us and you wish to apply for a capital grant, please contact your Program Officer.


Circle of Service Foundation considers Pre-applications and Applications on a rolling basis, and, unless we have told you otherwise, we do not have specific deadlines. Most organizations will hear from us within 45 days of the submission date of a Pre-application and within 120 days of the submission date of an Application. Further, given our challenge-grant orientation, we strongly encourage you to consider your fundraising calendar when determining when to apply for a grant. If you are a current grantee, you can apply for a new grant 90 days before your grant term ends.

To learn more, please review our
Getting Started Criteria, application process, and FAQs.




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