valdir barion

Chicago has developed a thriving philanthropic scene over the years. The city has seen charitable efforts arise through the efforts of major corporations and small nonprofit organizations alike.

The city’s list of philanthropic companies is extensive, but here are five of the list’s most prominent names.


Northern Trust Corp.

Northern Trust Corp., a Chicago-based financial service company, has certainly made a name for itself on the charity front. The company aims to donate roughly 1.5 percent of its pre-tax profits to various charities every year. In 2007, the company’s global philanthropy program awarded a total of $17.5 million, in addition to $223,000 worth of in-kind gift donations. Since then, the company’s charitable outreach has only grown.


Alliance for the Great Lakes

As the oldest environmental initiative focused on conserving the Great Lakes, the Alliance for the Great Lakes has more than established its charitable purpose since its inception in 1970. The alliance has grown to six offices over the years, striving to keep the waters and surrounding environments of the Great Lakes clean for generations to come. According to Chicago Magazine, the group’s annual “Adopt-a-Beach cleanup brings together nearly 15,000 volunteers in all eight Great Lakes states to pick up some 52,000 pounds of debris.”


Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer’s Association conducts a variety of charitable efforts annually to benefit Alzheimer’s patients and their families. The association has raised roughly $350 million for 2,300 Alzheimer’s research studies since 1980. Benefit initiatives include the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funding for Alzheimer’s. The annual event, which is held in over 600 communities nationwide, has already raised $109,127 for 2017 in Chicago alone — with four more months of fundraising to go.


Greater Chicago Food Depository

One of Chicago’s “leading charities,” The Greater Chicago Food Depository strives to fight hunger “one meal at a time” throughout the city. The organization does so by working with 700 partnering agencies, including Chicago-based pantries, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters to distribute food where it is most needed. It implements charitable programs tailored to both children and adults, and its outreach initiatives range from mobile food deliveries to programs aiding veterans and unemployed adults.  


Paws Chicago
Paws Chicago is one of several pet-oriented charitable organizations in Chicago, but it is one of the city’s oldest and most accomplished. The organization reduced pet euthanasias from  42,000 to less than 10,000 between 1997 and 2014. It offers a variety of pet-related services, including spaying and neutering, crisis support, pet adoption, and community outreach. To date, the organization still follows a strict “no kill” policy focused on finding all of its animals a loving home.