If you have been following the Chicago Sun-Times Charity Trust, you know they launched their Chicago Sun Shine Project. The Sun Shine Project is an opportunity for the greater Chicago community to “shine a light” on worthy charities and select organizations and projects that deserve a grant. Thousands of people nominated organizations and projects within the areas of Youth Art & Culture (43 project nominations); Youth Education and Literacy (44 projection nominations) and Youth Social Service and Civic Affairs (39 project nominations). There were another 23 nominations that did not fit the criteria.
Once the nominations were in, thousands of people voted for their favorite charities and projects. Voting ended Sunday and now the Trust has the daunting task of reviewing the voting and determining how they will distribute $500,000. Needless to say – requests exceed available dollars.
I have written, reviewed and participated in many online campaigns. What made this one different is it is focused on the metro Chicago area. All the nonprofits and their projects can and do positively impact our community. It was interesting reading through the projects to learn about nonprofits with whom I was familiar and not.
An old nonprofit question came to mind – “How can these nonprofit organization collaborate to provide service to more people and/or communities?” This is a question the funding community has been asking for decades. All of the projects look to serve good purpose. Some have striking similarities. I think it is rare we get a glimpse at the grant proposals submitted to one foundation and review them within the context of an area of support.
I know the Chicago Sun Shine Project has provided an opportunity for many nonprofits to share their mission with many outside their current circle of influence and the opportunity to rally their supporters. Beyond the generous grants to be awarded by the Chicago Sun-Times Charity Trust, I think there is an opportunity for the nonprofit organizations to review the applications and see where there are opportunities for collaboration to do more good for more people and continue to make a positive impact on the Chicago area.