About Us

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 twenty-eight 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 $20 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.

Big Shoulders is unique in that administrative expenses are supported by an endowment and other income, which ensures 100 percent of funds currently raised go toward programs that benefit Big Shoulders Fund schools and the students they serve.

For ten 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.

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