Lolly Bowean is a program officer on the Creativity and Free Expression team focused on making grants in the US to support journalism and storytelling.

Prior to joining Ford in the winter of 2021, she managed the Media & Storytelling portfolio at the Field Foundation in Chicago.

Lolly has more than 20 years of experience as a journalist and writer contributing to a number of print publications, podcasts and television news programs. Most recently, she worked as a general assignment reporter at the Chicago Tribune for more than 15 years and had a particular focus on urban affairs, youth culture, housing, minority communities and government relations. She wrote primarily about Chicago’s unique African-American community and the development of the Obama Presidential Center.

During her tenure at the Chicago Tribune, she covered the death of Nelson Mandela; how violence was lived and experienced in troubled neighborhoods; and the 2008 election and inauguration of President Barack Obama; The election of Chicago’s first African-American woman mayor, Lori Lightfoot; Hurricanes Katrina and Rita; and the last gathering of the original Tuskegee Airmen.

Before working in Chicago, Bowean covered suburban crime, government and environmental issues for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans. She has been published in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, Lenny Letter, Chicago Magazine and Longreads.

She has served as a contributing instructor for the Poynter Institute and lectured at the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

At the Field Foundation, Lolly delivered support to a collective of local news outlets that served Chicago’s overlooked minority communities. During her time, she doubled the size of the portfolio and helped guide the investments of new partners.

She was a 2017 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. She is a Studs Terkel Award winner. She holds a Gene Burd Urban Journalism Award and an Anne Keegan Award for excellence in writing about the common man.

Lolly is a graduate of Howard University and attended the University of Maryland.