CASE STUDY

Celebrate Life Foundation

Implementing a focused and consistent philanthropic strategy.


When the Celebrate Life Foundation, a family foundation based in Chicago, contacted American Philanthropic in 2013, they were looking to refine a strategy for their family’s charitable giving that would help them increase their charitable giving to worthy causes over time. 

As with many donors, their giving had developed organically over the years, but it was not as focused as the family would have liked. The family also worried that they may inadvertently be giving to organizations that didn’t align with their principles or didn’t use their donations effectively.

American Philanthropic guided the foundation’s leaders through a process that helped identify key areas in which the foundation wanted to make a difference—issues they had real passion for—and worked with the foundation to articulate its mission, giving priorities, and application guidelines.

The Celebrate Life Foundation seeks to empower families to break the cycle of poverty and better their own lives. In keeping with this aim, the Foundation primarily provides support to help build a solid foundation on which families can achieve economic self-sufficiency; strengthen the bond of families; and improve the quality of people’s lives. This mission is realized primarily through support for private schools in several metropolitan areas that serve middle and high school students.

To help the foundation makes its vision a reality, American Philanthropic also manages the foundation’s grants program on an ongoing basis. This work includes identifying organizations that could be potentially eligible for funding; managing a request for proposals process to these organizations; reviewing proposals and preparing request summaries and recommendations for the foundation board’s review; and building relationships with grantees to help monitor progress.

Since 2014, the Foundation has built up its grants program significantly. It now supports over a dozen private schools that together serve thousands of students each year.

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