Welcome to The Owens Foundation

Providing grants and outreach to help alleviate poverty in the Chicago area.

About Us


The Owens Foundation is 501-C3 Charitable Foundation that provides grants and outreach to Chicagoland non-profit organizations that focus on alleviating poverty and providing hope and opportunity to those affected by poverty, addiction, incarceration, domestic abuse and homelessness in the city of Chicago and surrounding suburbs.

The Owens Foundation provides resources to:

· Job readiness training and self-sufficiency programs

· Emergency Funds/Outreach to prevent homelessness

· Homeless shelters/housing

· Educational Opportunities for at-risk youth


The Owens Foundation was started in 1985 by Tom and Mary Owens. Tom and Mary were inspired by the works of Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who directed them to “go back to Chicago and serve the poor.” Tom and Mary enjoyed a friendship with Saint Mother Teresa and met with her on numerous occasions. They were instrumental in supporting a number of Missionary of Charity projects in Chicago, Arizona and Tijuana, Mexico.

In mid-1991, Tom began to devote his energies to the homeless plight in the Chicago area, founding Cara Chicago, which provides quality training, employment and support to motivated individuals experiencing poverty, homelessness and previous incarceration. Since its inception in 1991, Cara Chicago has placed more than 5,800 motivated individuals into quality jobs with some of Chicago’s top companies.


Tom has been inducted into Leo High School’s Hall of Fame and he has also been honored with a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Dominican University. He is a life Trustee for the Catholic Theological Union Board of Trustees. Tom was Co-Chairman at The Emergency Fund, now All Chicago for ten years. He has been the recipient of many awards, including The Martin Luther King, Jr. Award, and The Distinguished Public Service Award from the Union League Club of Chicago. He was given the Venerable Mary Potter Humanitarian Award at Little Company of Mary Hospital’s Crystal Heart Ball, and was the recipient of the Distinguished Philanthropist Award.

While Tom was getting the public honors, he always made it known that it was Mary who motivated and encouraged him to pursue their goal of helping those in need. 

Tom and Mary have instilled in their five children, all trustees of the foundation, and twenty-two Grandchildren a deep faith in God and the adage “to whom much is given, much is expected.” One of Tom’s favorite daily sayings is “Don’t just have a great day, MAKE it a great day!”

Spotlight on Grantees

Margaret's Village

Margaret's Village provides transitional housing for homeless women, children and families, and offers experiences that empower, support and transform women and the broader community so they can achieve their hightest potential.

Precious Blood Ministries of Reconciliation


Precious Blood Ministries of Reconciliation works as agents of reconciliation and healing within the Back of the Yards community to youth who have been impacted by violence and conflict. Their ministries reach out to the victim, the wrongdoer and the community to create a safe space where healing can begin and where people can find the support and encouragement needed to begin reconciliation and healing.

Kids off the Block


Kids off the Block was founded in 2003  when Diane Latkier opened her Roseland home to the youth in her community to help them steer away from the negative influences they saw daily. KOB, as it is known, works with youth, teens, and young adults ages 12-24 years old and offers mentoring, homework help, and self-development skills that lead to positive change. KOB has serviced over 3,000 participants since it's inception.  


What is the typical grant size?

Our grants are typically between $5,000 and $50,000 for a one year period or in some circumstances, multi-year commitments. We also provide emergency fund outreach to religious and other community leaders on an as-needed basis. Some of the needs may be—rental assistance, car repair, utility bills, and work attire.

Beyond your basic requirements, what do you look for in a proposal?

The Owens Foundation places significant emphasis on giving individuals and families the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty that leads to self-sufficiency and lasting success. We prioritize multi-faceted programs that provide hope and opportunity for a better life through job skills training and placement, education, counseling, and mentorship.

Our program is expanding and we are embarking on a capital campaign for building expenses. Should we contact you?

The Owens Foundation does not provide grants for capital campaigns and building/renovations and expansions.

Does The Owens Foundation provide scholarships for individuals?

The Owens Foundation DOES NOT provide direct grants and scholarships to individual students. We do, however, work with various institutions in providing scholarships to those in need.

How Do I apply for a grant?

If you feel your organization fits our guidelines, please send a letter of inquiry stating type of organization you represent, your organization’s objectives, and summary of grant request. If your inquiry meets our criteria, we will invite you to submit a formal proposal.

Send inquiries to: katie@theowensfdn.org


"Don't Just Have a Great Day, MAKE it a Great Day!"

Contact Us

The Owens Foundation

7804 W College Dr, Palos Heights, Illinois 60463, United States

(708) 361-8845