Young Jocylen Gilchrist

Jocelyn Gilchrist

The Gilchrist Foundation was established by Jocelyn Gilchrist in December 1998 to honor her family and further their interests. The first grants were made anonymously at the founder’s request, but after Ms. Gilchrist’s death in 2008, the name of the Foundation was used. The Foundation makes gifts to pre-selected charitable organizations that further its mission:

The mission of the Gilchrist Foundation is to further the philanthropy of its founder and her family. The family had varied interests that embraced wildlife and conservation, the arts and public broadcasting, and disaster relief. The emphasis is on fostering the long-term viability of the charity and enabling special projects rather than supplying current operating funds. The Foundation provides incentives and funds to pre-selected non-profit organizations that further these goals, with a preference for the Sioux City and Chicago areas.

Each spring several charities whose missions and interests match those of the Gilchrist Foundation are invited to submit applications for one of four types of grants: capital campaign grants, endowment grants, special projects, or micro-grants.


The goal of endowment grants is to promote viable endowments, with healthy board participation. The Gilchrist Foundation strives to be a significant contributor to the endowment, without becoming the main supporter of the endowment. Challenges which offer Foundation funds as matches to other funds raised receive preference.

The goal of capital campaign grants is to make a significant contribution to worthy renovation or expansion projects that will enhance the mission of the recipient charity. Again, some preference is given to the use of foundation funds to stimulate matching funds.

Over the years, the Gilchrist Foundation has tended to make about 55% of its total grants to endowment and capital campaigns. The Foundation also has a pattern of awarding about 45% of its total grants to the Arts, including not only the fine arts, but also cultural and historical groups.

The Gilchrist Foundation has endowed an Assistant Principal Oboe Chair at the Chicago Symphony; is a significant contributor to the Broken Kettle Bison Preserve of The Nature Conservancy in Iowa and of the capital campaign to raise funds for a Learning Center expansion of the Sioux City Art Center.

The goal of special project grants is to allow recipients to buttress existing programs or to offer new programs that will enhance the shared mission and outreach of the organization. The expectation is that foundation support for a program will be temporary and that the program has the potential to return to or to become self-sustaining. It is not the intention of the Gilchrist Foundation to become a permanent budget line item in support of an ongoing program, even one that closely matches the Gilchrist Foundation’s mission.

Over the years, the Gilchrist Foundation has made about 45% of its total grant awards to special projects. Awards have gone to organizations as diverse as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra, Freedom Park, the Siouxland Historical Railroad Association, Lamb ARTS, Inc. and the Sioux City Community Theatre, Latham Park, Woodbury County Conservation, NPR, IPTV, KWIT and the Sioux City Humane Society. While some grants have gone to social service agencies or institutions of higher education, they have had a conservation or arts purpose.

In 2014, the Gilchrist Foundation began an exciting new “micro-grant” grant opportunity for qualifying tax-exempt organizations that promote the Arts, wildlife or conservation. The program offers one-time grants up to $5,000.

Grant requests may be submitted at any time through the stream-lined application below. Micro-Grants will be either accepted or denied within 30 days. This grant allows non-profit groups to receive funding for smaller projects on a one-time basis. Criteria for award will include the opportunity to bring theater, music, art, green spaces, parks, wildlife and conservation efforts into the lives of Siouxland residents.