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General Information


Community Grants: The Patrick and Anna M. Cudahy Fund makes grants to nonprofit organizations that benefit economically challenged or marginalized communities. We provide both general operating support and program support. Our geographic focus is in Metropolitan Chicago and throughout the state of Wisconsin. Our Board of Directors consists of family and non-family members. Board meetings happen in the spring and fall, usually in late May and late November. 


Discretionary Grants: Directors who are family members are also able to recommend Discretionary Grants to 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit organizations that may not fit within our General Community Grants funding guidelines or are located outside of our geographic focus area including organizations that operate abroad. Organizations interested in submitting a proposal may not request funding through Discretionary Grants as these grants are selected by Directors only. All discretionary grants, however, must be approved by the Board of Directors.  


The content on the remainder of this page will be in reference of Community Grants only.

The Fund does not accept unsolicited proposals.  If your organization is interested in being considered for funding, please read about our Letter of Inquiry Process.  Also on this page is information about submitting a proposal if your organization has already received a formal invitation.

Funding Categories

Social Services

Services that provide safety nets and supports for under-resourced, low-income or otherwise marginalized communities. This includes programs that assist the homeless or those at risk of homelessness with immediate needs and/or future success; programs that provide help for marginalized communities such as veterans or people exiting the prison system; shelter/housing; food/anti-hunger programs; and employment programs.

Health and Human Services

Support for programs that provide subsidized, low cost or free healthcare for the uninsured and under-insured of all ages; access to mental health; access to low or free-cost dental services; healthcare outreach programs; assistance for disabled individuals or other populations with specific challenges; and services for the elderly.


Our interests are primarily focused on conservation efforts to protect wildlife, the preservation of natural areas and public interest environmental law. 


Funding for exceptional early childhood, school age, high school, and college programs; after school programs; adult continuing education; and educational opportunities for adults who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Our funding often goes toward scholarship programs so that low-income communities have access to the same high quality programs as their peers.

Arts and Culture

Most grants are designated for arts/culture access for under-privilaged populations such as subsidized entry to museums or other cultural sites or events.  

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How to Apply

Applying is a two-part process unless your organization is a current grantee or proposals are directly solicited by a Cudahy Fund staff member or Director. Organizations interested in a grant from the Cudahy Fund must:

1) submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) to the Fund's office for consideration. Staff will contact you if a full proposal can be reviewed. 

2) submit a full proposal if your organization has been personally contacted by Cudahy Fund staff member or Director inviting a formal proposal.


Please read the information about our LOI and application process below as there have been some changes. LOI's and Full Proposals may be sent as paper copies to our office, although when possible, we prefer that a copy is e-mailed as well. Please make sure audits and other large documents are sent as separate attachments.

For Current Grantees seeking to apply for a renewal grant  - your organization is automatically eligible for reapplication - you do not have to submit a new LOI. This does not apply to discretionary grants which do need to be invited. Receiving a grant does not guarantee future grants.

Letter of Inquiry Process

To be considered for funding, your organization must send us a letter that serves as a general introduction to the Patrick and Anna M. Cudahy Fund. This Letter of Inquiry (LOI) is not a formal proposal nor does it guarantee that a proposal will be invited. Please keep in mind that we receive LOI's from many organizations that fit our guidelines do not receive a proposal invitation due to the high volume of requests we receive.


LOI's are accepted year-round on a rolling basis; however, to guarantee that an LOI is received with enough time to be reviewed at the next meeting on the calendar, send it at least 3 months before the proposal due date for that meeting (in the green box below).  


If an LOI is received less than 3 months prior to the due date for the next meeting (green box below) and there has been no communication from our office, an LOI may be considered at the subsequent meeting depending on whether or not we had sufficient time to review the LOI before the upcoming meeting. While organizations will receive an e-mail or a letter confirming the receipt of the LOI, we will not contact organizations a second time unless the Fund is extending an invitation to submit a full proposal, if there are questions or if we would like to arrange a site visit.  

LOI's should include in this order: 1) an Introduction Form (link above), 2) a cover letter no longer than two pages on your organization's official letterhead and 3) a copy of your organization's 501(c)3 IRS Determination Letter. You may also include any materials such as brochures, flyers or annual reports. LOI's may be sent via e-mail or as a hard copy.

Proposal Submission

If your organization has been contacted by a staff member or director of the Fund and formally invited to submit a full proposal, you will need to submit the following materials:

  • A completed Proposal Request Form;

  • The most recent board-approved organizational budget and, if applicable, a program budget;

  • A detailed balance sheet of actual income and expenses, assets and liabilities for the past fiscal year;

  • A list of major institutional donors to the organization for the past fiscal year;

  • A complete, up-to-date list of the board of directors;

  • A copy of your organization's 501(c)3 IRS Determination Letter

Once we have received the proposal, we will send an acknowledgment of its receipt. If you do not receive a letter or e-mail confirming that it has arrived within 10 business days, please e-mail Lauren Krieg at  Proposals may be submitted via e-mail or sent as a hard copy, although e-mail is preferred.

Proposal Deadline for Fall 2024

Proposals are due by October 20, 2024, unless otherwise specified.


The fund does not support:

  • Organizations and projects primarily serving a local constituency outside of Wisconsin and the Chicago metropolitan area except for discretionary grants and special circumstances

  • Organizations outside of the United States not represented by a United States 501(c)3 organization (nor do we accept LOI's for programs outside our geographic focus)

  • Grants to individuals

  • Loans or endowments

  • Capital campaigns

  • Event sponsorships

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LOI Process
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