William G. McGowan Charitable Fund

It’s appropriate that the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund emphasizes analytic and concrete tools to guide its grantmaking: evidence-based practices, identifiable outcomes and quantitative goals are all principles that guide how it engages with community projects and programs. The fund’s namesake is a businessman known for orchestrating big change, and reshuffling the hierarchy – in his case, in the telecommunications business. McGowan was the organizing force behind and the outward looking face of MCI Communications (now part of Verizon), which changed the communications industry by taking on AT&T.

It is also appropriate that the fund continues to emphasize the giving areas McGowan believed in. The fund was established after McGowan’s death to uphold his sense of responsibility and commitment to “providing others hope through opportunity,” according to its website. This work is carried on in his name by a family-run Board of Directors and a four-person staff, which execute a vision “to impact lives today, create sustainable change, and empower future generations to achieve their greatest potential,” through funding high-impact organizations, leveraging networks, and participating in funding collaboratives.

Major Program Categories: The fund makes grants in the areas of education, human services, and healthcare and medical research, and prioritizes “programs that have demonstrated success, have measurable outcomes and a plan for sustainability, and aim to end cycles of poverty and suffering.”

In 2015, the Fund distributed close to $3 million in education-related grants. These included sizeable grants to organizations ranging from Aurora University to By the Hand Club for Kids in Chicago to the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation as part of an early childhood collaborative, and dozens of others in between.

Over $1.7 million were given to human-services programs, such as The Children’s Place in Kansas City, Mo. and Jackson County CASA. Healthcare and medical research received $1,030,839 in grants, the largest of which went to the American Heart Association in Dallas.

Additional funds have been awarded through the McGowan Small Family Fund and board and staff matching grants. For a look at the Fund’s most recent grantmaking by geographic region, click here.

In addition to grantmaking in its major program categories, the Fund operates the McGowan Fellows Program, through which the fund “partners with top MBA programs across the United States to award full-tuition scholarships to 10 second-year MBA students who have demonstrated academic excellence and social leadership,” according to the program’s website. Through current fellows and alumni, the McGowan Fellows Program creates a network of business leaders committed to ethical practices and social responsibility.

How to Apply: The first step for first-time grant applicants is to submit a letter of inquiry (LOI) through an online portal. Those letters that pique the interest of the Board of Directors will be invited to submit a full application.

First-time applicant LOIs are reviewed three times per year: March 15th, July 15th and November 15th, with corresponding subsequent application deadlines.

Name of Foundation: William G. McGowan Charitable Fund

Location: Chicago, Ill.

Website: http://www.williamgmcgowanfund.org/

Contact Information: Email at info@williamgmcgowanfund.org, or call (312) 544-4412

Coverage Area: Specific counties within Colorado, Illinois, Kansas/Missouri, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania

Subject Area: Education, Human Services, Healthcare & Medical Research

Total Assets: $158,366,653 (2015)

Last Year Total Grants Paid: $8,186,657 (2015)

Recent News and Grantmaking:



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Elizabeth Green
About Elizabeth Green 42 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.