After the Table: Acting Up Awards RULES AND GUIDELINES.


The purpose of the Acting Up awards is to encourage and support On the Table participants to move their ideas from discussion to action and fund tangible activities that benefit neighborhoods across the region.

These intentionally small awards ($1,500; $2,500; and $5,000*) are aimed at supporting grassroots, community-based solutions that emerge from On the Table, defined by the community and driven by their commitment to strengthening our region.

Through the Acting Up awards, the Trust has distributed $195,500 to helped more than 130 creative ideas come to fruition over the past two years. Projects big and small have made a real difference in communities across the region. After you meet around your table, share your ideas with us in a video and then let us help you create change in your community.


Videos must be under two minutes in length and uploaded to YouTube, the link to the video will be included in your official application. Be sure to save a copy of your video.


The Acting Up awards will support projects or programs within the Chicago region. The community selection committee will consider proposals from groups, agencies and organizations that have participated in On the Table.

Eligible recipients are organizations with a valid letter from the IRS recognizing the applicant as a section 501(c)3 organization or individuals and/or groups including, but not limited to, neighborhood associations or block clubs, classrooms, student organizations, parent associations, etc.

Applicants that do not have a 501(c)3 IRS designation may still apply for $1,500 or $2,500 awards but will be required to complete a W9 to collect their funds. Additionally, they must report their award as taxable income.

*If you are applying for a $5,000 award, you will need either 501(c)3 IRS designation or a fiscal sponsor in order to claim your prize.

A wide variety of projects will be considered, however projects that address the following topics will be prioritized:

  • Economic Development and Poverty
  • Education and Youth Development
  • Equity and Social Inclusion
  • Public Safety and Criminal Justice

The following activities are exempt from this funding opportunity:

  • Capital campaigns
  • Endowment funds
  • For-profit entities
  • Political or lobbying groups
  • Religious purposes
  • Businesses for commercial purposes
  • Salaries
  • Construction
  • Large equipment purchases
  • Debt financing
  • Efforts attempt to influence legislation, intervene in or participate in any campaign for political office
  • Promoting illegal behavior
  • Supporting racial, gender, religious, sexual or other invidious prejudice
  • Invading the privacy of any person
  • Containing any foul or offensive language
  • Ongoing or existing programming

By submitting an application, each applicant agrees to complete their project by December 31, 2018, complete a short survey detailing their progress, and share their experiences with The Chicago Community Trust (through photos, video or social media, using the hashtag #ChiTrustActingUp).

Award Amounts

Awards will be awarded in the following amounts: $1,500; $2,500 or $5,000.

Applicants must select the amount that they are applying for, and cannot submit applications for the same project in multiple categories.

Review Process

Submissions, which much consist of both the digital application and the YouTube video, will be reviewed by a panel of community experts who will be evaluating applications based on the strength of the idea, its potential to make an impact on community in a way that deepens the engagement of residents.

Awards will be announced by June 30, 2018.


Recipients must provide a short report on the impacts of their project by December 31, 2018.