The Philanthropy Awards — our keystone program — is an annual competition to identify, elevate, and amplify the most effective nonprofits making a difference.  An awards package valued at over $25,000 is given to recipients each year.

2023 Philanthropy Awards

In January 2023, the Make It Better Foundation will host a solutions-based conversation on interrupting violence and explore our panelists integrated, interdisciplinary understanding of violence and recommended holistic approach to addressing it.  

Roseanna Anders Executive Director UChicago CrimeLab, Phil Andrew–co-founder and Principal of PAX Group and Jeanne Bishop, Cook County Public Defender and felony trial attorney will discuss their integrated, interdisciplinary understanding of violence and recommended holistic approach to addressing it.   Suzanne LeMignot of CBS2 Chicago will moderate the conversation. This event will be recorded before a live audience then specially produced and released for public broadcast.  The tenets of the discussion will also inform our judges’ review and selection of this year’s Philanthropy Awards recipients.

Our March 2023 Philanthropy Awards Celebration Event will honor the Chicago-area nonprofits doing the most impactful work to interrupt violence and break the cycle of a mass shooting epidemic according to data-driven standards. 

Eligible award candidates will have evidence-based programs designed to interrupt gun violence by supporting:  child trauma and mental health services, crisis prevention plans, youth engagement, hyper-local collaborations, street outreach intervention and de-escalation, victim services, nonviolence training, and community organizing.

Apply for a Philanthropy Award
Become an Award Sponsor, Judge or Media Partner

Make It Better Media Group is grateful to Presenting Sponsor, WINTRUST, for hosting the recognition event at iconic Wintrust Grand Banking Hall.

A new Program Sponsorship offers the sponsor to underwrite the program panelists and highlights the sponsor’s dedication to data driven solutions for violence reduction.  The sponsor’s brand will be recognized widely in all media content and activity which flows from this program over the next 12 months.

Award Sponsors champion an award category of their choice. Their financial and/or in-kind support help ensure that the nonprofit winner continues to interrupt violence and break the cycle of a mass shooting epidemic. Ongoing media coverage through our partnerships will elevate the sponsor and align them with national thought leadership and evidence-based solutions.

Our Media Partners showcase and celebrate the winners at our red carpet gala event.

Email Sharon Krone, Executive Director, at [email protected] for more information.


Roseanna Ander serves as the founding Executive Director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab and Education Lab which work to design, test, and scale data-driven programs and practices that improve the public sector’s approach to violence prevention, criminal justice reform, and improved educational outcomes in Chicago, New York, and around the nation.

Phil Andrew is co-founder and principal of PAX Group, a crisis and conflict management consultancy based in Kenilworth. Phil served for 21 years as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and currently works to help organizations navigate complex and dynamic relationships, projects and environments.

Jeanne Bishop is a Cook County Public Defender and felony trial attorney, teaches trial advocacy at Northwestern and serves on the advisory board of its Center on Wrongful Convictions. Jeanne authored Change of Heart: Justice, Mercy, and Making Peace with My Sister’s Killer. (Westminster John Knox Press 2015) and Grace from the Rubble: Two Fathers’ Road to Reconciliation After the Oklahoma City Bombing (Zondervan 2020).   She is a member of the Make It Better Foundation Philanthropy Awards Academy of Judges.


Our Academy Of Judges are esteemed venture philanthropists, past winners, sponsors and thought leaders and select the winners each year.

We use the following criteria to evaluate your organization:

  • Effectiveness: measured by the number of people served and lives made better, program outcomes, development of self-sufficiency and breaking the cycle of dependency;
  • Efficiency: emphasized by collaboration and cost effectiveness;
  • Leadership: focusing on full board participation, diversity, fulfillment of mission statement, using calculated risks to overcome challenges and improve outcomes;
  • Scalability: prioritizing the ability to increase funds independent of government funding proportionate to increased programs and services, with the potential to replicate in another regional area;
  • Excellence: committing to best possible services delivered with integrity and transparency.

 Current and Past Philanthropy Awards Winners

We offer our sincerest congratulations to the inspirational and innovative winners on this list, and to the dedicated employees and volunteers who are integral to the impactful work done by each of these nonprofits. Click on each winner’s name below to learn more about the organization and watch their video.