The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation

The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation is guided by a mission of “[supporting] organizations with the strength and commitment to address persistent problems of urban Chicago resulting from poverty, violence, ignorance, and despair. We seek to build the capacity of individuals and the systems that serve them. Our vision is a Chicago that offers education, prosperity, and hope for all.”

The foundation’s Chicago commitment was born out of the 1933 founding of the Lloyd A. Fry Roofing Company. On the southwest side of Chicago, Fry’s business “grew to become the world’s largest manufacturer of asphalt roofing and allied products,” according to the foundation’s website. When the company was sold in the 1970s, the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation’s endowment emerged and the foundation began its formal philanthropic to serve the community of Chicago in the early 1980s.

Today the foundation is governed by a six-person board – Lloyd A. Fry III serving as its chair – and an eight-person staff, with Unmi Song at its helm.

To meet its mission, the foundation emphasizes grantmaking to high-quality programs with demonstrated efficacy. It values “innovative approaches” and a knowledge base that can be applied throughout the field, and organizations striving to learn and improve quality through things like evaluation, professional development and program design.

Major Program Categories

The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation supports programs and projects offering direct services, in addition to select policy-advocacy work, in the areas of Arts Learning, Education, Employment and Health in Chicago.

Arts learning grantmaking seeks to provide Chicago’s low-income children and youth with instruction, performance and exhibition opportunities as well as a connection with the vibrant artistic environment and institutions of Chicago. This includes supporting strengthening and expanding arts education opportunities for students in public schools as well as professional development for educators.

Education giving is focused on “increasing academic achievement of low-income students in Chicago public schools,” with a focused eye on middle and high schools. The foundation’s efforts in this area focus on developing stronger school principals and leaders, and providing “rigorous academic enrichment opportunities for students,” according to its website.

The foundation sees employment as a crucial part of overcoming poverty, and makes employment-focused grants toward adult education programs and vocational training. Its final program area, health, aims to support programs and projects that reduce the disparity in healthcare facing low-income Chicago residents and “expanding access to high-quality primary care” for those individuals.

Past grantees have included a wide range of organizations, from the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center to the Chicago Workforce Funder’s Alliance to the Academy for Urban School Leadership. To learn more about past grant recipients, visit the foundation’s grants database.

How to Apply

The foundation recommends beginning contact by submitting a letter of inquiry (LOI), which can be two or three pages describing the project, budget and potential other funding sources. This can be submitted via an online portal, emailed to, or mailed to the foundation’s president:

Ms. Unmi Song
Lloyd A. Fry Foundation
120 S. LaSalle Street, Suite 1950
Chicago, IL 60603-3419

The foundation accepts LOIs on a rolling basis, and will respond within 30 days of receiving a letter. While LOIs are recommended as the first step, they are not required before submitting a proposal. Proposals for specific areas of funding are due based on the following calendar:

  • June 1 (for August review): Arts learning, education and employment grant proposals
  • September 1 (for November review): Arts learning, employment and health grant proposals
  • December 1 (for February review): Education, employment and health grant proposals
  • March 1 (for May review): Arts learning, education and health grant proposals

More information about what to include in a grant proposal to The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation can be found on its website.

Name of Foundation: The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation

Location: Chicago, IL


Contact Information: Online contact form

Coverage Area: Chicago

Subject Area: Arts Learning, Education, Employment, Health

Total Assets: $181,139,336 (2015)

Last Year Total Grants: $7,326,755 (2015)

Recent News and Grantmaking:

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Elizabeth Green
About Elizabeth Green 39 Articles
Elizabeth Green is the community outreach and education manager for Fostering Media Connections, and a general assignment reporter for The Chronicle of Social Change.