GRANTS & FUNDING

Check here for the latest opportunities in grants and funding for urban agriculture projects in Chicago. If you have an opportunity to share, please send information to: info@auachicago.org.

The Michael Fields Agriculture Institute’s Grant Advising Program provides free grant writing assistance, including clarifying and articulating ideas, assessing which grant program fits needs, and crafting a high-quality proposal. Interested individuals and organizations can also be added to an e-mail list announcing new grant opportunities by making a request to grants@michaelfields.org

Private, Corporate & Foundation Philanthropy

CHIditarod Foundation funds up to $5,000 to organizations whose mission is related to alleviating hunger, addressing food insecurity, and/or improving the lives of the public through education, food or hunger relief in the metropolitan Chicago area. Smaller, community-led organizations are especially encouraged to apply. Application deadline: July 1, 2019

Patagonia provides grants between $5,000-$20,000 to 501c3 environmental organizations that seek to protect both the environment and affected communities, including supporting local, organic and sustainable agriculture. Application deadline: One proposal per group in a given fiscal year (May 1–April 30).

New Earth Foundation funds environmental and community programs and projects, including garden programs that are significantly innovative, transformative and effective. Smaller, newer nonprofits are the focus of grants given. Deadline to submit a letter of inquiry: July 1st, 2019.

The Home Depot Foundation offers grant awards up to $5,000 to 501c3 designated organizations (recognized and in good standing with the IRS for a minimum of one year) and tax-exempt public service agencies in the U.S. that are using the power of volunteers to improve the community. Grants are given in the form of The Home Depot gift cards for the purchase of tools, materials, or services and are required to be completed within six months of approval date. Rolling Applications.

The Awesome Foundation – Chicago Chapter has been funding awesomeness in the Windy City since the summer of 2011. They’’ve funded everything from little free libraries and puppet shows to electron microscopes and a temporary mini golf course on Milwaukee Avenue. The Chicago trustees generally meet on the third Tuesday of every month to review proposals. Rolling Applications.

Network for Good awards monthly grants to promote fundraising activities and capacity building that can lead to revenue sustainability to 501(c)3s in any industry. Average grants range in size from $1,000-$5,000. Application deadlines are the 15th of the month, non-profits are encouraged to re-apply monthly. Rolling Applications.

The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation provides in-kind donations of fruit trees, equipment, volunteer workers, and training to 501(c)3s, public schools, and government entities to create orchards in communal and public places. Rolling Applications.

Grassroots Exchange Fund grants to grassroots organizations working to promote environmental justice and social change. Priority will be given to small, community-based groups seeking to meet face-to-face with other grassroots organizations, to build collaborative campaigns, and to benefit from technical assistance opportunities. Rolling Applications. Rolling Applications.

 

State and Federal Grant Opportunities

SARE Youth Educator Grants are competitive grants up to $4,000 for educators to provide programming on sustainable agriculture for youth. Application Deadlines: Vary by program.

USDA Food Safety Outreach Program Awardees develop and implement food safety training, education, extension, outreach and technical assistance projects that address the needs of owners and operators of small to mid-sized farms, beginning farmers, socially-disadvantaged farmers, small processors, or small fresh fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers. Application Deadline: June 6th, 2019

The USDA Local Food Promotion Program offers grant funds with a 25% match to support the development and expansion of local and regional food business enterprises to increase domestic consumption of, and access to, locally and regionally produced agricultural products, and to develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local markets. Application Deadline: June 18th, 2019

The USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program offers grants to increase domestic consumption of, and access to, locally and regionally produced agricultural products, and to develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local markets by developing, improving, expanding, and providing outreach, training, and technical assistance to, or assisting in the development, improvement, and expansion of, domestic farmers markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, agritourism activities, and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities. Application Deadline: June 18th, 2019

Open Enrollment Loan & Financing Opportunities

Kiva provides 0% interest loans of up to $10,000 to entrepreneurs, including urban farm businesses. To promote urban farmers’ access to capital, AUA is a proud Kiva Trustee, which means we help spread the word on these valuable resources and publicly vouch for urban farm entrepreneurs. Kiva trustees do not handle or disburse the loans. To learn more, please review the program overview, step-by-step guide to apply, and reach out to AUA’s Programs Manager, Nick Lucas (outreach@auachicago.org) with any questions.

USDA Farm Storage Facility Loans provide up to $50,000 in low-interest financing to build or upgrade permanent facilities to store or process agricultural products. Most recently, these loans made available funding for refrigerated vehicles. Funding: Up to $500,000 per loan.

USDA Farm Service Agency Microloans provide up to $50,000 in financial assistance for small, beginning farmer, niche and non-traditional farm ownership or operations. Non-traditional farm operations can include truck farms, farms, direct marketing farmers, Community Supported Agriculture, restaurants and grocery stores, or those using hydroponic, aquaponics, organic, and/or vertical growing methods. Maximum of $50,000.

USDA EZ Guarantee Loans provides $100,000 to help beginning, small underserved, and family farmers and ranchers to purchase farmland or finance agricultural operations. The USDA also added a new category of lenders, including microlenders. Funding: Up to $100,000.

Whole Foods Micro-Producer Loan provides between $10,000 and $100,000 for expansion of farm operations, not to exceed 80% of total project cost. Existing vendor relationship with Whole Foods Market required.