Scroll Down

A Vibrant Free Press

Colonel McCormick’s leadership in advancing and defending a free press continues through the Robert R. McCormick Foundation’s investments in journalism. Our goal is to strengthen and scale impactful reporting in Chicago and Illinois that increases government transparency, enhances accountability of decision-makers to their constituents, and ensures public investments are creating and supporting opportunities for all, especially Chicago’s South and West Side residents.

Since our first year of grantmaking in 1956, when the Foundation provided support to Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, we’ve remained committed to the vital role a robust free press plays in a healthy democracy.

Applications for funding are by invitation only. At this time, unsolicited letters of inquiry are not accepted.

Grants & Partners Since 2020


The Foundation’s robust and longstanding commitment to a vibrant free press is reflected several high-impact journalism initiatives.

Illinois Solutions Partnership

In late 2021, the Foundation joined with the Better Government Association in creating the Illinois Solutions Partnership which investigates significant problems in Chicago and Illinois and seeks to offer the most comprehensive solutions-focused reporting in the state. The Partnership will inform, engage and mobilize residents, civic leaders and public officials to generate and implement changes that build an Illinois in which all communities can prosper.

young man taking a picture using a DSLR camera

Current Grantees

Block Club Chicago

The newsroom launched in 2018 and delivers daily, nonpartisan coverage of Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods. It received a $1.6 million grant to build a six-person investigative team and deepen coverage of the city’s South and West Sides.

Learn More

Capitol News Illinois

Covering state government daily for newspapers across Illinois since 2019, the news service received a $2 million grant to expand its editorial capacity and add more investigative and Chicago-based reporting. CNI also used the support to hire its first full-time fundraising position and start a team to diversify its revenue.

Learn More

Injustice Watch

This nonpartisan journalism organization reports on equity and justice issues in the courts, particularly in Cook County. It received a $1.5 million grant to grow its editorial capacity, expand its audience, and build revenue.

Learn More

Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism

The Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications provides support to several local news outlets. It received a $2.4 million grant to launch the Medill Local News Accelerator. The initiative spurs innovation and improves long-term sustainability of independent Chicago news organizations.

Learn More

McCormick Foundation Announces $7.5M Investment in Sustainable, Fact-Based Reporting

Chicago and Illinois-based nonprofit news organizations receive funds to expand and support editorial and business operations CHICAGO, October 10, 2022 – The Robert R. McCormick…

Medill’s Metro Media Lab Aims to Boost Local Journalism in Chicago

Newspapers across the country have been in decline for decades and Chicago outlets have not been immune from precipitous drops in ad revenue and mass…

Achieving the Civic Mission of News

Mapping Chicago’s local news coverage In the Democracy Program, we envision a day when all residents of the Chicago region will be informed and engaged…