Grant Applications Now Available Online

Artist Siddha Weber (center in hat) and teachers pose in front of a mural in the Bronzeville neighborhood as part of the Chicago Metro History Education Center’s 2014 summer professional development program.

Chicago K–12 Education Grants

The Terra Foundation supports activities that bring American art into Chicago’s classrooms, with the aim of helping teachers enrich curricula and enhance learning. To achieve these goals, the foundation funds projects that strengthen Chicago teachers’ knowledge of historical American art (circa 1500–1980) and the ability to teach with it effectively.

Grant funding is available for:

1. Professional-development programs designed to accomplish the following:

  • Deepen teachers’ knowledge of American art history and visual culture;
  • Enhance teachers’ ability to use American art in meaningful and innovative ways as part of the curriculum; and
  • Advance teachers’ skills in guiding students to think critically about American art, make personal connections and responses to it, and understand its relationships to American history and culture.

2. The development and dissemination of instructional resources about the history of American art, with training designed to help teachers use those resources effectively.

Programs and instructional resources must be aligned with the Common Core State Standards for English-Language Arts (CCSS-ELA) and other relevant standards.

See “Eligibility” below to learn about program priorities.


Spring 2019 Awards
Letter of Inquiry: September 15, 2018
Proposal: November 15, 2018

Summer 2019 Awards
Letter of Inquiry: January 11, 2019
Proposal: March 15, 2019

Fall 2019 Awards
Letter of Inquiry: May 15, 2019
Proposal: July 15, 2019

If you have questions, please contact Terra Foundation Program Director for Education Grants and Initiatives Jenny Siegenthaler ([email protected], 312-654-2253).

If the foundation responds to a letter of inquiry by requesting a proposal, the organization applying for a grant will be expected to complete an application. See “How to Apply” below.


The foundation only accepts proposals from institutions with United States 501(c)(3) status or governmental organizations. Applicants must be based in the city of Chicago and their project must be directed primarily toward teachers in Chicago schools. An exception may be made only when projects for which funding is requested take place in the Chicago area and teachers from schools in the city of Chicago make up the majority of the audience served.

The foundation is especially interested in projects that:

  • Provide time and support necessary for teachers to plan classroom applications for American art content, which are aligned with the CCSS-ELA and tailored to their curricula and students’ needs and interests;
  • Include support structures and follow up designed to help teachers use American art content on an ongoing basis, to reflect on their progress, and to document the effectiveness of their work;
  • Foster the development of a learning community, through which teachers collaborate and share their knowledge and experience with one another and others at their schools and in the larger education community;
  • Involve individuals with expertise in American art history and visual culture and literacy education in the development and delivery of program content; and
  • Provide opportunities for teachers and their students to experience works of American art in Chicago collections.

The Terra Foundation does not accept proposals for:

  • Programs focused primarily on art made after 1980;
  • Projects that exclude or nominally address the following dimensions of arts education: art appreciation, interpretation, and understanding art in relation to history and culture; and
  • Capital expenditures.

If you have questions about our Chicago K–12 Education Grants, please visit the Grant FAQs page or contact Grants Manager Amy Gunderson ([email protected]) or Program Director of Education Grants & Initiatives Grants Jennifer Siegenthaler ([email protected]).

How to Apply

The Terra Foundation for American Art has moved its grant making to an online system. With the new system, grant seekers will benefit from a streamlined application process. Review the FAQ for additional information on the online application process.

The grant application process is three-part:

  1. Before submitting a formal proposal to the Terra Foundation, prospective applicants must complete a letter of inquiry (LOI) using this link:  Chicago K-12 Education Program Letter of Inquiry
  2. After reviewing the letter of inquiry, the foundation may invite the submission of a formal online proposal.
  3. Formal grant proposals undergo a review process before final decisions are made by the foundation’s Board of Directors.

Letter of Inquiry (LOI)

A letter of inquiry must precede any formal grant proposal to the Terra Foundation; formal proposals are accepted only by invitation of the foundation after review of the online letter of inquiry. A prospective applicant can expect to hear from the foundation within three weeks of receipt of its letter. The online letter of inquiry will require the following information:

  • Brief statement of the organization’s purpose and goals
  • Description of the project, including its beginning and ending dates as well as the need and audience it addresses
  • Objectives of the project
  • Other organizing partners and funding sources and amounts for the project, if relevant
  • Total cost of project and the grant amount requested

All letters must be written in English.

Formal Proposal

After the letter of inquiry is reviewed, prospective applicants may be invited to submit a formal proposal through the online system. Please note that an invitation for a formal proposal does not guarantee funding at any level. Formal proposals must be written or translated in English. All attachments should also be written or translated into English.

Download the Chicago K-12 Program Grants application.