Grantmaking Process

grantmaking process

As a donor, you can take pride in the CBF’s robust grantmaking process. The CBF has a long history of working with and funding legal aid and pro bono organizations in Chicago and has extensive knowledge of the delivery system. The CBF’s comprehensive screening and evaluation process carefully vets organizations and projects before they receive funding.

The process is overseen by a highly regarded board of lawyers and judges who are broadly representative of Chicago’s legal community, with the assistance of experienced CBF staff. Board members, along with members of the Young Professionals Board, join staff in making visits to the organizations applying for funding to better inform the Board in grantmaking decisions.

The CBF’s rigorous process:

  • ensures accountability
  • strategically allocates funds to maximize impact
  • leverages additional support from government and other sources
  • promotes best practices on common issues and collective challenges facing pro bono and legal aid organizations

When making grant decisions, the CBF takes into account the impact an organization has, including the number of people served by the organization and the area of law or community they are serving. Other important factors considered include:

  • a sound vision for what the organization is trying to accomplish and a solid sense of where it is headed
  • strong and responsive staff and board leadership
  • effective coordination and collaboration with other relevant organizations
  • sound financial management
  • strategic use of pro bono attorneys