Featured Grantees

While The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust values all of its grantees equally, The Trust features this year the following organizations that submitted exemplary grant applications.

Each of the grantees featured here successfully and convincingly established a strong connection to one or more tenets of The Trust's Values Statement, achieved or exceeded its goals, and had a positive and significant impact on the community it serves.

The Trust (identified below as "EMT") features one exemplary grantee for each tenet of its Values Statements, along with two organizations that The Trust supported jointly with its sister trust, the Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust (identified below as "EMGT").

The Trust's Value Statements

Tenet 1

Promoting "THISS"

Chicago History Museum Logo

Promoting, instilling, and/or reflecting the values of individual and/or organizational thrift, humility, industry, self-sacrifice, and/or self-sufficiency.

Chicago History Museum

Purpose of grant

EMT has provided funding over the last ten years for the "OUT at CHM" program, which included presentations about different aspects of the LGBT community, and which occurred every year since 2004. While EMT funded "OUT at CHM" programming, a major goal was also to support an exhibition showing Chicago history through the lens of the LGBT community. The "OUT in Chicago" exhibition opened in May 2011 and ran through March 2012, making it the Chicago History Museum's ("CHM") longest running exhibition to date. CHM is considered a leader in the museum community for presenting LGBT programming and an exhibition, because very few other museums have exhibitions focused on the LGBT community. CHM has expanded funding due to EMT challenge grants and welcomed an entirely new audience with the OUT programming, thereby encouraging self-sufficiency and industry.

Amount of grant

$745,000.00

Tenet 2

Relieving Human Suffering

Common Threads Logo

Relieving human suffering by: (1) performing research and/or promoting education regarding the treatment of disease; (2) assisting youth who are from disadvantaged backgrounds, have troubled childhoods, have physical or mental disabilities, or experience emotional disorders; (3) addressing the concerns of the elderly; and/or (4) providing succor to humankind during time of natural or human-made disaster.

Common Threads

Purpose of grant

Common Threads ("CT") helps children in low-income neighborhoods learn about cooking and nutrition, while allowing these children to bring home grocery lists and food that they learned about in class. EMT has funded CT four times since 2007. Originally, EMT funded CT for programming during the school year, which includes children traveling to a location with a kitchen, learning about different cultures, and then cooking food from those cultures. Recently, EMT funded CT for summer programming, which consists of cooking, gardening, physical activities, arts, and field trips. CT has grown from only serving Chicago to serving three other cities throughout the nation. EMT is particularly interested in this program because of the direct impact the program has on children from low-income neighborhoods, their education, and their families.

Amount of grant

$25,000.00

Tenet 3

Developing Individual Self-Esteem and Dignity

Silk Road Rising Logo

Developing within individuals, especially youth from under-served and/or under-resourced communities, a sense of self-esteem and dignity.

Silk Road Rising

Purpose of grant

Silk Road Rising ("SRR") is dedicated to performing plays based on stories written about people from, or living in, countries that used to form the trade route that was known as "the silk road." Because of the stories it tells, SRR is a unique theater in Chicago and reaches an entirely new audience base. The theater was founded as an arts response to September 11th and the backlash that Muslim-Americans experienced and still are experiencing today. SRR tells stories from all along the silk road, including focusing on those of Muslim culture, thereby affecting a large untapped audience in the city that may have felt underrepresented by the arts. By presenting arts that audiences feel connected to, SRR increases self-esteem and dignity.

Amount of grant

$40,000.00

Tenet 4

Encouraging Vigorous Athletic Activity

MetroSquash Logo

Encouraging vigorous athletic activity, leading to physical health and/or spiritual well-being.

MetroSQUASH

Purpose of grant

MetroSQUASH ("MS") assists low-income students from grades 5-12 by teaching after school the sport of squash. MS also provides tutoring and the opportunity for students to travel for squash competitions and college visits. EMT has an interest in MS because the program combines both athletic and educational activities on the south side of Chicago, thereby assisting youth who are from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Amount of grant

$15,000.00

Tenet 5

Developing Regional Solutions to Chicago's Regional Challenges

Dominican University Logo

Developing regional solutions to Chicago’s regional challenges, thereby protecting and/or improving the quality of life for all its citizens.

Dominican University

Purpose of grant

EMT assisted in the establishment of the Center for Global Peace through Commerce ("the Center") at the Brennan School of Business with two, back-to-back multi-year grants, each for three years, thereby helping the Center in its initial stage of growth. The main purpose of the Center is to create international connections in order to better educate students at the Brennan School. To address global challenges, the Center educates students about global challenges for businesses throughout the world, teaches social entrepreneurship, and increases international partnerships in the university community. Acting as a component within the Brennan School of Business, the Center promotes regional solutions to regional challenges.

Amount of grant

$250,000.00

Joint Grantees

Tenet 1

Promoting "THISS"

Chicago High School for the Arts Logo

The Chicago High School for the Arts

Purpose of grant

EMT and EMGT convened the Diversity Working Group ("DWG"), a group of representatives from music-performance and educational organizations, in 2004 with the long range purpose being to develop mechanisms to promote greater diversity at Chicago's performing arts organizations. DWG discovered that while Chicago had a strong set of non-profit arts organizations serving under-resourced schools, the city was the only major urban center in the country that did not have a public high school for the arts. In 2006 EMT/EMGT supported planning through grants to The Chicago Community Trust as the DWG evolved into a larger project to create Chicago's first public high school for the arts, now known as The Chicago High School for the Arts ("ChiArts"), which is an Illinois not for profit corporation. The Chicago Public School ("CPS") Board awarded a contract to ChiArts to operate a public high school for the arts in 2007, which is also when EMGT supported more planning for ChiArts. ChiArts opened for the first school year in 2009. EMGT supported a fundraising consultant as part of a matching challenge in 2009. In 2010 and 2011, EMGT funded general operating support while ChiArts created a working capital fund. EMT supported ChiArts with two (one single year and one multi-year) grants for the arts portion of the school programming not covered by support from CPS. EMT/EMGT's participation in the founding of ChiArts has had a great impact on the organization's self-sufficiency and industry. ChiArts has successfully leveraged EMT/EMGT's grants into a strong fundraising agenda for the sustainability of the school. At this time ChiArts has admitted four years of students and graduated its first class of seniors. The 600 students currently enrolled come from every ward in the city and represent the diversity of Chicago.

Amount of grant

$426,000.00

Tenet 2

Relieving Human Suffering

Lyric Opera of Chicago

Lyric Opera

Purpose of grant

EMT/EMGT have funded Lyric Opera since 1999. Every year since 2003, EMT funded a production either jointly with EMGT or alone. Along with providing production sponsorship support, The Trust has focused on assisting Lyric in diversifying its Board of Directors beginning in 2006. This focus expanded in 2010 to include diversification of the Boards of Lyric's auxiliary organizations. Because the EMT/EMGT grants to Lyric affect the Board and therefore the entire constituency and culture of the organization, the grants are considered more than just production grants. By increasing diversity in the organization, Lyric will be practicing self-sufficiency and industry.

Amount of grant

$2,785,000.00

The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust

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