News & Resources


Announcing Grand Victoria Foundation’s Shift to Racial Justice Grantmaking

We Have A New Mission

For a quarter-century, Grand Victoria Foundation has been a trailblazer in philanthropy. We are extremely proud of our enduring relationships with community foundations to build a system of community-based philanthropy. These experiences have shepherded us to a new beginning, a path that continues our legacy of trailblazing. Now, we stand at the threshold of a significant strategic shift, responding to the imperatives of our time and planting a stake for the future. Read the full announcement here.

A Tour Through the Rich History & Evolving Present of East Saint Louis

ESL Immersion Part 1

This story marks the latest chapter in the Grand Victoria Foundation’s journey of place-based philanthropy. In it we are exploring the 81 Black Population Centers featured in our Illinois Racial Equity and Justice Landscape Study. After our explorations in Pembroke, IL, we shifted our focus to a three-day immersion in East Saint Louis. Our mission was to connect with the heart of East St. Louis, its people, and organizations, to strengthen bonds with local stakeholders, and to further explore impactful philanthropic approaches. Read the full story here.

Diamond Seeds Under Pressure: Shaping East St. Louis’s Radiant Renewal

ESL Immersion Part 2

East St. Louis’s path toward renewal is unfolding much like the meticulous and intensive process of diamond formation, meticulously shaped under immense pressure. The change agents of this community, with steady and unwavering determination, are in the midst of crafting their future. Read the full story here.

Restoring Roots: Our Transformative Visit to Pembroke Township

August 8, 2023

Our recent visit to Pembroke was a profound experience that left an indelible mark on each of us. As we explored the picturesque landscape, engaged with the community, and delved into the stories of those preserving this legacy, we felt a deep connection to the land and its history. We invite you to immerse yourself in the full story of our journey by clicking here.

Defending Racial Justice

August 1, 2023

In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action, we cannot help but express our deep frustration and disappointment. The decision underscores the urgent need to reassert our unwavering support for racial equity and justice. At Grand Victoria Foundation, we have long championed the power of education in dismantling systemic barriers and creating equal opportunities for all individuals. Read our full response here.

Chicago Mayor-Elect Education Subcommittee Appointment

May 3, 2023

Congratulations to Fanny Diego Alvarez, our Director of Learning and Leadership Development, for being appointed to the Education Subcommittee for Chicago Mayor-Elect Brandon Johnson’s transition team! The subcommittee will help shape and guide the work of the new administration, and Fanny’s leadership and commitment to equity is a great addition to the team.

2022 Philanthropy Forward Fellow

September 7, 2022

Congratulations to our President Sharon Bush for being awarded the 2022 Philanthropy Forward Fellowship! The Fellowship brings together foundation leaders to make deeper change at the individual, organizational, and field levels. Learn more:

Job Opening-VP of Communications

July 28, 2022

Grand Victoria Foundation is seeking a Vice President of Communications, a brand new senior leadership role, who will build a platform that gives voice to, and amplifies the impact of, our grantee partners and how we work best to support them. This leader will join us at a critical time in our history, as we continue to position ourselves as one of many thought leaders in philanthropy as well as racial equity and justice.

Read the full job description and apply via this link:

Welcome Jasmine Jones!

June 30, 2022

The Abundance movement has hired its first Director, Jasmine Jones. Jasmine is the former executive director of West Contra Costa Public Education Fund, and has deep experience working with communities experiencing disinvestment, including as a lead organizer with the Black Organizing Project in Oakland California. Her leadership will guide Abundance into being a joyful path for philanthropy to move beyond pledges and statements of solidarity to tangible actions.

Join the Abundance Movement

April 20, 2022

The Abundance movement challenges philanthropic organizations to significantly increase the annual payout to Black-led and centered organizations. “For the past two years, I have advocated for philanthropy to ensure that racial equity and racial justice are more than catchphrases by collectively developing strategies for sustained action,” says Grand Victoria Foundation President Sharon Bush. Read the full press release here.

Illinois Black Advocacy Initiative Announcement

February 23, 2022

Grand Victoria Foundation is happy to share that Patrice James will lead the Illinois Black Advocacy Initiative (IBAI) as its founding Executive Director! A committed social justice and racial equity leader, Patrice will lead the development of IBAI as a statewide, community-informed organization focused on repairing the harms of systemic racism and divestment and creating positive change for Black Illinoisans. Read the IBAI press release below to learn more Patrice’s leadership and advocacy on behalf of Black communities impacted by the criminal justice and child welfare systems.

Early Learning Leadership Circle Report

February 1, 2022

After sunsetting last year, the Early Learning Leadership Circle (ELLC) released “Leading from a New Point of View: Reflections from the Early Learning Leadership Circle”, a summary and reflection of the group’s work, impact, and lessons learned. Read the full report to learn more about the origins and impact of the ELLC, and its recommendations for implementing effective early childhood collaborations and advancing equitable early learning systems.

Job Opportunity-Founding Director

October 11, 2021

The Illinois Black Advocacy Initiative (IBAI), a Black-led and Black focused advocacy organization, is hiring a Founding Director. The Founding Director will have the opportunity to build the organization from the ground up, centering Black experiences, voices, and analyses in designing and implementing solutions to repair the harms of generations of systemic racism. Learn more about the IBAI, the position, and qualifications here.

Elgin Re-Imagined: A Story Weaving Now Available! 

August 19, 2021

We are excited to announce that our short film is now available to view here. The film features stories from five BIPOC Elgin community members who have shared their visions for a racially equitable Elgin. We believe centering the stories, joy, and resilience of people whose voices are marginalized is crucial to achieving racial justice.   

We are inviting the Elgin community to host small group discussions using the film and the facilitation guide that offers suggestions for leading a conversation about an Elgin Reimagined. Click here to download the English facilitation guide and here for the Spanish guide. 

Illinois Environmental Policy Platform

February 19, 2021

Our Environment grantee Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) led the development of a new comprehensive Illinois Environmental Policy Platform. The first new environmental platform for the state in ten years, it will guide IEC’s advocacy and education work, and includes an exciting Allyship & Powerbuilding plank that centers the experiences and needs of communities made vulnerable by systemic racism. 

Photo by Maria Oswalt on Unsplash

Welcoming City Ordinance

February 18, 2021

Thanks to the five years of organizing by undocumented immigrants and allied immigrant rights organizations, including three of our grantees (Latino Union of Chicago, Hana Center, and Illinois Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights), Chicago’s Welcoming City Ordinance is strengthened. Exceptions which allowed the Chicago Police Department to work with Immigration & Customs Enforcement if an individual who is undocumented had previous contact with the criminal justice system have been eliminated from the ordinance. Learn more about how the updated ordinance protects the undocumented community here.

COVID-19 Impact on Food Warehouse Workers Report

January 12, 2021

Economy grantee Raise the Floor Alliance, in collaboration with Warehouse Workers for Justice, Chicago Workers Collaborative, and Partners for Dignity & Rights, released a crucial research report on the impacts of COVID-19 on food warehouse workers in the Chicagoland area. The COVID Jungle: Chicagoland’s Essential Food Workers and the Need for Vaccination Priority, uplifts the stories of essential food workers and provides recommendations for protecting their health and safety.

We are proud to support this important work that centers and advocates for the needs of workers most impacted by the pandemic.

COVID-19 Impact on Schools Report

October 7, 2020

Education grantee Partnership for Resilience has released an important report on the impact of COVID-19 on trauma responsive schools in South Suburban Cook County, Southern Illinois, and Springfield.

We are proud to support this critical work to ensure that all Illinois students have an equitable and high-quality learning experience.

A Personal Reflection & Call to Action

July 30, 2020

In this essay by Steve Barg, Executive Director of the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation (a GVF grantee), he boldly and honestly reflects on his own evolution in thinking about racism and privilege. In the context of the current moment we are in with renewed calls for racial justice, Steve’s essay encourages people in the land conservation sector to educate themselves about racism, listen to people of color, and act on their commitment to change.


July 29, 2020

With the pandemic negatively impacting people’s mental health and increasing the risk of domestic violence, the Elgin Human Services Council led a successful, bilingual media campaign promoting a mental wellness tool, #ElginCares. Gaining over 1,000 followers on its Facebook page during the campaign’s run, the tool encourages people to check in about their mental health, examine their relationships, and engage in wellness activities. It also provides a list of confidential resources for those who indicate need assistance.

2020 Leader for A New Chicago

July 14, 2020

Congrats to Juliet De Jesus Alejandre, Executive Director of Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA), for being named a 2020 Leader for a New Chicago! Juliet is one of 11 influential Chicago leaders working in the areas of Justice, Art, or Media & Storytelling. Read about Juliet’s work at LSNA in this Chicago Tribune announcement of the award.

Chicago Foundation for Women Impact Founders Award

July 13, 2020

Congrats to Wendy Pollack, Founder and Director of the Women’s Law and Policy Initiative at the Shriver Center on Poverty Law, a GVF grantee, for being named a Founders Award honoree at Chicago Foundation for Women’s 2020 Impact Awards! Wendy is one of five leaders who will be honored at this year’s Impact Awards for their commitment to improving the lives of women and girls in the Chicago region. Read here about Wendy’s decades of work and commitment to advancing gender equity.

Welcoming Outdoor Spaces

July 10, 2020

Check out this important blog post about the need for the environmental movement to address racism experienced by African Americans and other people of color. Tonyisha Harris, Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition Administrator at the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC), details how crucial it is that open lands and outdoor spaces are safe, inclusive, and welcoming for people of color. We are pleased that our grantee IEC is a leader in speaking out about racism and inequity.

We Must Be in it for the Long Haul

June 11, 2020

ABFE, in collaboration with over 60 Black philanthropic executives, released this powerful joint action statement. It suggests 10 bold actions that the philanthropic sector can take to address systemic, anti-Black racism.

Photo Credit: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Our Role in These Times

June 5, 2020

Just as we began to grapple with the racial inequities that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated, we have been confronted with another reality of racial injustice that has never stopped-violence against African Americans. In an Op-Ed for The Chronicle of Philanthropy, our Executive Director asks the sector to be more accountable and take specific actions to make racial justice and equity a reality. 

New ABFE Board Member

April 20, 2020

We are proud to announce that our Executive Director Sharon Bush has been elected to the Board of Directors of ABFE!

ABFE is a membership-based philanthropic organization that advocates for responsive and transformative investments in Black communities.


Restoration of the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

April 9, 2020

We are so proud to share that Landscape Architecture Magazine published a great piece in their March issue about the restoration of the Midewin National Tallgrass Praire. Along with the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation, we contributed a $1 million matching grant to the National Forest Foundation to support this expansive initiative to preserve and restore one of the largest public, open spaces in the Chicago metropolitan area.

Successes & Challenges in Addressing COVID-19

We are starting a conversation to understand whether and how organizations are addressing the needs of communities, families and individuals. Please share how COVID-19 has impacted your organization’s operations, programs and services? What impacts do you see among the communities you serve and engage? How can we support you during this time? Please share your experiences and ideas by emailing us at

Grantees and Partners Named to Early Childcare Education Funding Commission

February 10, 2020

GVF is pleased to share that many of our grantees and partners have been named to Gov. Pritzker’s new 29-member early childcare funding commission. Congrats to Patricia Chamberlain, co-chair of Elgin Partnership for Early Learning, Shauna Ejeh, Senior Vice President for Programs of Illinois Action for Children, Phyllis Glink, Executive Director of Irving Harris Foundation, Lori Longueville, Director of Child Care Resource and Referral at John A. Logan College, and Trish Rooney, Director of Early Childhood Initiatives at Fox Valley United Way! Learn more about how the commission plans to tackle Illinois’s crisis in early childcare education funding at

Latino Policy Forum Helps Shatter Stereotypes of English Language Learners

February 7, 2020

Our Special Initiatives grantee, Latino Policy Forum, collaborated on ground-breaking research in partnership with the UChicago Consortium on School Research, showing that Chicago Public Schools students who are still learning English outperform their native English-speaking classmates. Download and read the report from the Consortium.

Upsolve CEO is 2020 TED Fellow

February 5, 2020

We are proud to share that Rohan Pavuluri, CEO and Founder of our Economy grantee Upsolve, is a 2020 TED Fellow! Rohan is one of 20 inspiring thinkers from around the world chosen to be a Fellow this year, providing them an opportunity to collaborate on ideas and give TED Talks at the annual TED Conference in Vancouver. Learn about Rohan and the other Fellows here.

Early Literacy Program Serves Children ‘While They Wait’ at Doctor’s Office

June 24, 2019

Two grantees, Elgin Partnership for Early Learning and Greater Elgin Family Care Center, partnered to bring bilingual, educational activities for children to waiting rooms. Read more…

Early Literacy Program Announcement
Openlands interactive Get Outside Map

Get Outside and Explore Nature!

June 19, 2019

There are many ways to enjoy the outdoors. Openlands, an Environment grantee, launched Illinois’ first interactive map to connect residents of the Chicago region to 350 parks, preserves, and natural areas open to the public.

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