The funder's focus areas of giving include arts and culture, civic affairs, education, environment, health, human services, and Jewish causes.
Incorporated in 1947 in IL - The fund is named in honor of the parents of Henry, Irving, Herman, and Edward Crown. Arie and Ida Crown immigrated to the United States from Eastern Europe at the end of the 19th century. The upbringing of the Crown brothers, Henry, Sol, and Irving, gave them a strong foundation on which to build the Material Service Corporation which they founded in 1919. The corporation is engaged in the mining and sale of aggregates (stone, sand, and gravel) for use in the construction of highways and other infrastructure projects and for commercial and residential building construction. In 1947 the Crown brothers allocated a portion of the profits from the corporation to create a foundation that would allow them to give back to the country and community that offered them the opportunity to prosper. Today, the foundation's work is carried on by the descendants of the Crown brothers and focuses its giving in various program areas across the city of Chicago and Cook County, as well as within the Jewish community in Chicago, nationally, and in Israel.
Matching Gifts Program
The foundation matches the monetary contributions of its employees to charitable organizations.
Arts & Culture
The foundation believes that students deserve equitable access to a full range of arts learning opportunities. Furthermore, the funder believes that arts learning plays a pivotal role in student engagement and student academic outcomes, but is also essential in and of itself as part of a high-quality preK-12 education. To address uneven access to arts learning across Chicago Public Schools, the portfolio supports arts organizations that strive to provide a variety of high-quality arts learning opportunities to students in arts deserts. The foundation also invests in organizations that provide teachers in low-income schools with opportunities for meaningful professional development in the arts or in arts integration instructional methods, as well as organizations that enhance the overall efficacy of the sector.
The foundation believes that deepening students' civics knowledge and leadership abilities, particularly through hands-on, direct service learning, is pivotal to ensure the health and vitality of Chicago. The foundation also believes in giving voice to underrepresented populations and in developing their capacity to overcome local challenges. The portfolio supports organizations that encourage citizens of all ages to build leadership skills to better serve their communities and promote dialogue between diverse members of Chicago.
The foundation believes in the power of high-quality early childhood programs to ensure students' future academic success; the importance of developing principals' and teachers' leadership capacity to promote student learning; and the urgency of preparing students for post-secondary success, with an emphasis on access to and persistence through college. The foundation also believes that quality education programs and models benefit from innovative technological and personalized learning approaches, as well as tutoring and mentoring supports to ensure the success of all students. The portfolio supports systemic change through direct service and capacity building grants, replications of best practices, innovation, and research.
The foundation believes intensifying environmental challenges demand immediate and creative strategies to address them. The grantmaking portfolios build on the foundation's long-standing commitment to the vitality of the Midwest's human and natural communities. The water portfolio emphasizes the protection of watersheds that serve critical needs for wildlife and people. The work has a particular focus on threats that have been exacerbated by a changing climate. Recognizing that local and global regions are already experiencing the impacts of climate change, the foundation is funding projects that: a) employ science-based approaches in innovative ways, b) harness the power of collaboration, and c) deliver measurable, on-the-ground results.
The foundation believes all individuals and families have the right to quality medical care. All people deserve attention to physical, mental and emotional needs in order to live healthy lives. The portfolio invests in access to quality care, preventative health programs, and support systems for local and international communities of high need. The foundation adopted a strategy that favors a continuum of care for clients, patients, and/or participants.
The foundation believes everyone has the right to adequate food, clothing, housing and necessary social services to sustain their livelihood. The portfolio invests in organizations that are establishing safe communities for individuals, creating housing and employment stability within high-need populations and developing communities through neighborhood revitalization programs. The foundation adopted a strategy that favors a continuum of care for clients, patients, and/or participants.
The foundation believes in supporting the Jewish community in Chicago and nationally. The foundation supports the State of Israel through poverty and medical programs with the goal of benefiting all Israeli citizens. The goal is to assist and support programs that advance the causes of Jewish identity and Jewish engagement, and caring for those in need. The portfolio provides support to Jewish organizations which wish to build or enhance a vibrant Jewish community.