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Frequently Asked Questions: FAQs

Includes information about the Library, Forefront, and LibGuides.

If your organization is a Forefront member, send research requests to If you are not affiliated with a member, please see this guide about Foundation Directory Online Essential or send general questions to

About our Research Guides

What are LibGuides?

LibGuides is the platform we use to create our research guides. It's also another name for the pages themselves, since they are Library Guides curated by our Library Team. More importantly, they are a tool to get you started on your research. They include links to books and print journals in the Library, as well as our databases. They also include links to websites and publications that are freely available online.

Do I need to be a Forefront member to use LibGuides?

You don’t need to be a member, but some content may be for members only.

Can I access LibGuides remotely?

Yes, you can access LibGuides remotely, but you may not be able to access all the content remotely.   

So how can LibGuides help me?

LibGuides can help you plan how to use the Library before your visit by suggesting resources that best fit your needs. They provide general assistance on topics like starting a nonprofit, database tutorials, antiracism in philanthropy, and many other subjects. A list of all guides can be found here

How do I use LibGuides?

With many guides there are tabs along the top to help navigate between sections. Otherwise, LibGuides are just like any other web page. Click on links open the shared resources, download available PDFs, and play embedded videos. Explore and learn!

Other Resources

While there are services we do not provide, we are happy to point out some resources on those topics.

Looking for assistance writing a proposal or other specific guidance? Candid Learning offers more in-depth courses on grantwriting and the Association of Consultants to Nonprofits or Chicago African Americans in Philanthropy have directories of advisors searchable by area of expertise. 

Need help starting a nonprofit? The Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights have many resources for those just starting out and operate a bootcamp to walk through the whole process. You may also be interested in some of the resources on our guide for the Forefront published Illinois Nonprofit Principles and Best Practices as well as our recorded session of Is Starting a Nonprofit Right for You. 

Is your organization a for-profit venture and you're looking for resources? Check out SCORE Chicago, an organization dedicated to getting small businesses off the ground, or some of the business resources from the Chicago Public Library

Are you only interested in looking at currently open RFPs (requests for proposals) from grantmakers? Try the RFP page on Philanthropy News Digest, the weekly email newsletter from GrantStation, or for federal opportunties.. 

Location and Contact Info

Address: Forefront is located in the FBRK Impact House at 200 West Madison Street, 2nd Floor Chicago, Illinois 60606

Phone: You can reach us at 312-578-0175. Please leave your name, message, and, if possible, an email where you can be reached. For many questions, we will want to be able to send you a link or other virtual resources.

Email: General questions can be sent to Forefront member research requests should go to

Hours: Currently, the Library is closed for in person visits. See the "Schedule an Appointment" box on the right hand side of this page to make an appointment to speak with a member of the Library Team virtually.

General Questions

The Library is not currently open for in-person visits. Our research guides, videos, and virtual events are still available.

Do I need to be a Forefront member to visit the Library? No, the Library provides services to the general nonprofit sector as well as our member organizations.

Can I bring my laptop to the Library? Yes! When we are accepting in person appointments again, you will be able to let us know if you're bringing your own laptop or if we should reserve a machine for you.

Can you lend me headphones? Unfortunately we do not have headphones for visitors. Please bring your own and please restrict video viewing to Forefront sites or related nonprofit research information.

Will you teach me how to use the databases? We can get you started but you can also check out our tutorial guides, view videos of past workshops including intros to some of our resources, and keep an eye on our Events calendar to register for upcoming sessions.

Will you do research for my organization? Forefront member organizations can request remote research assistance by emailing For everyone else, we can provide access to basic resources but we will not complete research for your organization.

How can the Library Team help me? We can help you learn about the types of resources available to you, what types of resources are best for your particular research needs, and how to use databases more skillfully.

Can't find the answer to your question?

Email general questions to us at If appropriate, we will add it to our FAQs. Don't worry - we will not include your name if we decided to include it.

Appointments and Visits


What is needed to schedule an appointment with the Library Team? The buttons in the "Schedule an Appointment" box on this page will walk you through the information we need to best answer your questions during a chat. Be sure to choose the correct option between Member and Non-Member! Since all appointments are currently virtual, you will be sent a Zoom link. If you are not able to access Zoom, please let us know so that a phone call can be scheduled instead.

Can I schedule a time for the Library Team to present to my college class, nonprofit colleagues, or other charitable association about researching the grant process for nonprofits? Absolutely! Please contact us through to discuss availability and needs.