2021 Grants Accepted through October the 15th

✨New Educational Grant Opportunity✨

Challenge Grants Impact Local Nonprofits

Since 2007, the Dunham Fund has provided challenge grants to help area nonprofits leverage resources by significantly increasing donor donations.

Nonprofits can use a challenge grant as an incentive to encourage donors to contribute at the top of their giving level, knowing their donation will be increased by this type of grant. Donors and potential sponsors feel more inclined to donate when seeing a local funder committed to financially supporting programs and projects at the onset of the fundraising campaign. With Dunham Fund matching funds, local nonprofits are able to potentially double their donor donations and provide a greater impact to our community.


The Paramount Theatre used Dunham Fund challenge grants to increase their corporate donations over a two-year period by 32 percent. During that same timeframe, with the Dunham Fund challenge grant funding partnership, the theatre was able to garner 16 new major sponsors. By leveraging the grant, the Paramount Theatre can continue to produce the critically acclaimed Broadway Series and attract world-renowned artists to RiverEdge Park.

“The support and partnership of the Dunham Fund has allowed the Paramount to continue to be a catalyst for transforming Aurora’s downtown into an arts and culture hub. In addition to the backing of the City of Aurora, the continuing confidence the Dunham Fund has bestowed on the Paramount and RiverEdge Park has been an enormous contribution to our success.”

— Katie Arko, Paramount Theatre Vice President for Development

Association for Individual Development (AID) has taken advantage of their challenge grant to raise $1.7M of their $2.5M goal. The Dunham Fund is the lead donor for their capital campaign.

AID intends to create and preserve existing support services and facilities to meet the needs of the growing adult population with disabilities in Kane and Kendall counties. AID will save $300,000 annually by retiring the mortgages on group homes and facilities. This allows AID to reduce its wait list, increase job training and job placement, preserve important services for autism, audiology, respite care, victim care, crisis intervention and health and wellness.

The Dunham Fund believes that its support in AID’s “Investing today, Ensuring tomorrow” campaign is essential for the 5,550 current and future clients.

Dreaming Tree Foundation (Fresh Films) produces full-length science films and TV shows while mentoring 300 at-risk youth. The youth rotate through all key filmmaking positions to gain technical skills and soft-skills such as problem solving, cooperation, communication, positive work ethic and perseverance. Teens get exposed to a myriad of tech jobs in the $650B entertainment industry, many of which exist locally due to Chicago’s recent growth in film production.

Dreaming Tree Foundation leveraged the $125,000 matching grant to secure funding from several global corporations and partnerships with Aurora University, the National Academy of Science and scientists from NASA, Adler Planetarium and Fermilab.

The film, Traveling Without Moving, produced under the challenge grant was just released at a special White House Initiative on Educational Excellence screening event and will be showcased at local schools along with a look at the behind-the-scenes science and technology in the film.

The Dunham Fund is proud to support local nonprofits by providing challenge grants that increase fundraising to ensure high quality programs and projects.

Visit the Dunham Fund YouTube Channel to view videos about the Paramount Theatre, Dreaming Tree and other area nonprofits that we support.

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