AIGA Chicago 2019 Community Grant Initiative

This is AIGA Chicago’s love letter to our city—home to thinkers, makers, designers, and doers. And while they say money can’t buy love, it certainly can transform the beginning of a good idea into something bigger, better and real.

This year, AIGA Chicago is awarding $20,000 for community grants and community-driven design residencies. Just as AIGA Chicago exists to embrace, amplify, and advance designers and the role of design in our community, so should the winning proposals. Whether it’s an innovative model for connecting students with professionals or a project that drives civic engagement through diversity, women’s leadership, violence prevention, or education, we believe in the power of design to impact real change. But even the best ideas sometimes need that extra push. That’s why AIGA Chicago is here to give some love to our city and its brilliant hearts and minds.

Available Grants
One (1) Artisan’s Passion Project  – 2k
Two (2) Labor of Love – 2k
Two (2) Follow Your Heart – 2k
One (1) Heart & Soul – 5k
One (1) Heart of Gold – 5k

February 14
Grant Announcement

March 15, 2019
Applications Due

March –April 2019
Review Applications

Friday, May 17, 2019
Announce Grant Recipients

Who can apply?
The program is open to individual designers, design firms, agencies, in-house corporate design departments, design instructors, individual design students, and design student groups. Only applicants in Chicago and the greater Chicagoland area may apply. Both current and past AIGA Chicago Board Members are ineligible.

What kind of projects can be submitted?
Please submit proposals for projects that employ design in meaningful, community-oriented ways—whether it’s a project that brings student talent closer to the Chicago professional sector or a new program for fostering social change through design. Of particular interest are projects that address one of AIGA Chicago’s areas of civic engagement: diversity, women’s leadership, violence prevention, and education for all ages.

Describe how you’d like to use the money.
Grant awards range from $2,000 to $5,000 per project. Proposals should demonstrate why funding your program will have a positive and measurable impact on our community and should address a topic, problem, or issue that will be improved or changed through funding from AIGA Chicago.

Budget items may include implementation and out-of-pocket costs, including photography, illustration, design, writers, outside copywriting, programming, paper, printing, mailing, advertising, distribution, website hosting, painting supplies, etc.

Budget items may not include costs such as travel, hardware, sponsor fees, or overhead elements such as computers, salaries, accounting costs, or rent.

Selection Process
Applications are reviewed by a committee comprised of leaders in the Chicago design community.

Project Information
Proposals should include the title and description of the proposed project, including the project idea, intended impact, target audiences and stakeholders/partners beyond your core team as well as distribution and implementation plans.

  • A visual presentation of the idea—presented as 3–5 PDFs and formatted to 8.5″ x 11″.
  • List of proposed project components, budget, total grant request and timeline with a completion date. Completion date may be no later than May 4, 2020.

Personal Information

  • Your brief resumé and bio
  • Up to 3 examples of your past work—presented as printed PDFs

If there are multiple team members, please include a brief resumé and bio for each team member. Please outline responsibilities for each team member, how the team will work together, and list any skills/collaboration if relevant.

Applications are due March 15, 2019.

Application parts include:

  • Google Form Application (see below)
  • PDF submission of resumé and bio emailed to
  • PDF submission of project information emailed to

Applicants should make sure their last name is included in the PDF file name.

Conditions and Restrictions

  • All grant recipients must complete a W9 before grant monies can be distributed.
  • All grant monies must be used by Monday, December 23, 2019 (to clear our books).
  • Grant projects must be completed by Monday, May 4, 2020.
  • All grant recipients must send monthly updates to AIGA Chicago. A status update template will be provided to recipients, and these updates will be posted on our Medium page for members and the larger community to follow along as recipients work through their projects. A final summary at the end of the 12 months will also be required.
  • All grant recipients must give a public presentation about their completed project in 2019 or 2020.
  • Grant recipients who find they are unable to execute the project must return the money in full.

Publication Rights
AIGA Chicago reserves the right to publish and promote the completed work made possible by this grant. AIGA Chicago reserves the right to reproduce any design submissions, along with pertinent case histories and in materials produced to promote and support the grant program.

By AIGA Chicago
Published February 14, 2019
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