Policy & Ecosystem

The Steans Family Foundation’s Policy & Ecosystem program takes a systems-based approach to building strong and vibrant communities across multiple issue areas including early childhood, education, employment, and community development.

The program works to build upon the Foundation’s place-based approach in North Lawndale and North Chicago, addressing local and statewide systemic issues that impede or support the healthy development of individuals and communities. Through this program, the Foundation invests in strategies to create a healthier ecosystem and public policies that will advance goals in early childhood and education, employment, criminal justice, and community development.

The Policy program’s theory of action relies on the idea that a strong policy ecosystem supports thriving communities when there are engaged and empowered advocates, policymakers, and community leaders, armed with accurate and relevant information on the most effective solutions to system issues. SFF supports the work of partners that develop sound policy centered on and driven by those most directly impacted, and see that policy change through to full and effective implementation, delivering on the promise of policy reform to change lives.

Through the Policy program, SFF partners with nonprofit policy and advocacy groups, research institutions, community organizations, and the public sector. Grants support a range of projects, including research and evaluation, pilots and innovative approaches, community organizing, capacity building, and advocacy.


SFF proudly partners with these organizations on Policy & Ecosystem efforts.