About Us

CLEF: Supporting Lutheran Education in Chicago

A Christian education can transform the life of a child. At Chicagoland Lutheran Educational Foundation (CLEF), we are privileged to be a part of that transformation every day.

CLEF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization funding scholarship support, resources, programs, and consultative services to a community of 22 Chicago-area Christian schools. Ranging from pre-K to high school, these schools offer rigorous academics and enriching educational experiences in a values-based Christian environment. Thanks to the generous support of our Board of Directors, who cover the cost of CLEF’s operating expenses, 100 percent of every donation funds programs and services that directly benefit our schools and the students they serve.

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Our Mission:

To empower urban Lutheran schools to deliver innovative, quality education in a Christian environment.

Our Vision:

Children in Chicagoland have the opportunity to experience Christ’s love and grace through a high-quality, Christian values-based education, in order to reach their potential and fulfill their vocation.


CLEF’s History

A group of Chicago area Lutheran leaders founded CLEF in 1993. Many attended Lutheran schools growing up and shared fond memories of their experiences. When they learned many of these schools were at risk of closing due to lack of funds, together they created a plan to keep Chicago’s Lutheran schools open.

More than a quarter-century later, CLEF remains invested in funding the future of Lutheran education. We have contributed more than $30 million in support of schools, from building repairs and technology to financial assistance for students in need. Our professional development programs and consultative services expand the capacity of our schools to do big things, improving the way they run, and give students, teachers, and administrators the tools to thrive.