Our History & Mission

A flexible and responsive institution

Founded in 1986 by visionary civic leaders including Cindy Pritzker, J. Ira Harris, and Marshall Field, the Chicago Public Library Foundation is the exclusive fundraising partner to Chicago Public Library. Donors to the Library Foundation support our public library system’s most responsive and innovative programs, its acquisition of new technologies, and the development of its collections. This infusion of resources has helped to launch and sustain crucial programs and services that benefit Chicagoans of all ages living and working in all 77 neighborhoods.

Dedicated to the Curious

As our public library system grows and evolves to meet the diverse needs of the Chicago community, we are grateful for the dedicated individual, corporate, and foundation donors who invest in great ideas and new approaches. Whether providing sustaining support for signature programs, or launching something new, together we help ensure that Chicago Public Library can continue to set the pace for libraries the world over—while working to address the challenges and opportunities of our own beloved city.


million raised in 2017 toward CPL programs, technology, and collections

300k +

individuals each year benefit from donor-supported programs at CPL


Star-rating from Charity Navigator


civic leaders serving on our board