Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President of the United States of America. Not affiliated with CHIditarod.

The CHIditarod Grant Program

Our annual event has existed since 2006, when a friendship was formed to bring an urban shopping cart race to Chicago. While the idea was borrowed from San Francisco (and a few other cities), it was Chicago that pioneered the charitable aspect. First, we created a food drive (raising more than 100,000 pounds to date), then added fundraising, created our own 501(c)(3), and finally began an annual grant program to fund local non-profits fighting to end hunger. Our program has 1 cycle a year, opening in early summer and closing in late fall.

What Have We Done?

Current Status

The 2017 grant cycle is closed.
The 2017 grant cycle will open after the 2018 CHIditarod event.

CHIditarod Grant Application Process

You are eligibile to apply if your organization:

  • Is recognized by the IRS as 501(c)(3) organization, or has a written agreement of fiscal sponsorship from a 501(c)(3) organization
  • Operates in the metropolitan Chicagoland area
  • Is in good standing with the Illinois Secretary of State
  • Is registered with the Illinois Attorney General
  • Operates programs focusing on:
    • Innovative educational opportunities
    • Building partnerships with other organizations and policy-relevant leaders engaged in local issues
    • Health nutrition or creative work on some aspect of food
    • Innovation to address challenges to food access and availability

We are particularly interested in organizations whose mission is related to alleviating hunger, addressing food insecurity, and/or improving the lives of the public through education, food or hunger relief in the metropolitan Chicago area. Smaller, community-led organizations are especially encouraged to apply.

Applicants may directly submit their proposals or be nominated by a third party.


To Apply Directly

Complete our application form, selecting “Applying Directly” for Question 1. Include contact details for the NFP (mailing address, point of contact, phone number and email address).


To Nominate

Complete our application form, selecting “Nomination” for Question 1, and provide the remaining information.

Finalist Requirements

After initial applications close,, we select and contact grant recipient finalists. Proposals will be evaluated by board members of the CHIditarod Foundation. Finalists will be required to submit a detailed proposal within several weeks of notificiation. The following materials are required if you are selected as a finalist:

  • A project description of not more than 1500 words, that describes the aims, impacts, and practical details of your proposal.
  • a budget of no more than $5,000 with a written budget justification
  • Your c(3) determination letter (or fiscal agent’s determination letter and letter explaining the relationship)
  • Your most recent annual report
  • Your most recent financial statement

General Grant Timeline

July 15 – Deadline for initial nominations (remember, you can nominate yourself)
August 10 – Finalist are notified and continue to the second round of the application process
September 15 – Deadline for full applications from award finalists
October – Grant Recipients announced
November – Awards granted

Grantee Expectations

The CHIditarod Foundation grant recipients must agree to (1) provide a narrative report on or before May 1, approximately 7 months after the awards are granted, and (2) provide joint press release and promotion regarding your organization’s receipt of funding from the CHIditarod Foundation.

Learn more about the CHIditarod Foundation’s history and mission.