About Big Shoulders Fund

big shoulders fund students

Inspired by Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, the Big Shoulders Fund was founded by a group of business and civic leaders in 1986 to provide support to Catholic schools in the neediest areas of inner-city Chicago.

For more than thirty years, the Big Shoulders Fund has helped Chicago’s children in need achieve their dreams through access to a quality, values-based education. We accomplish this by investing more than $15 million annually in scholarship support and academic enrichment for students, operational improvements for schools, leadership development programs for the next generation of school leaders, and academic programs and professional development for teachers.

For eleven years in a row, we have earned a four-star rating from Charity Navigator for operating efficiently and transparently, a status held by just one percent of charities. It is important to Big Shoulders Fund that all donors are informed and educated on the organization’s health and success.

As of December 2017, the Big Shoulders Fund is approved as an SGO by the Illinois Department of Revenue. We are authorized to award Tax Credit Scholarships in Region 1 and Region 2- including the following counties:  Cook, Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, DuPage, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kendall, Lake, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson, and Winnebago.