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Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC)

Grants to Illinois Schools and Community Organizations
for Educational Enrichment Programs

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE)

Conf. Date:


LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

05/28/21 5:00 PM Receipt


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Grants to Illinois LEAs, community organizations, tribes, and other public and private entities for educational programs that improve student success. Grants may be used to support a wide range of academic enrichment programs and services during non-school hours. Funding is primarily intended to benefit students from low-performing schools. Eligible activities may focus on areas that include, but are not limited to, youth development, physical fitness, tutoring, nutrition, health education, STEM, and drug and violence prevention.

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program is designed to provide academically focused after-school opportunities, particularly to students who attend high-poverty, low-performing schools, to help those students meet state and local performance standards in core academic subjects and to offer families of participating students opportunities for literacy and related educational development.

The purpose of 21st CCLC programs is to provide opportunities for communities to establish or expand activities in community learning centers that:

  1. Provide opportunities for academic enrichment, including providing tutorial services to help students (particularly students who attend low-performing schools), to meet the challenging state academic standards;
  2. Offer students a broad array of additional services, programs, and activities, such as youth development activities; service learning; nutrition and health education; drug and violence prevention programs; counseling programs; arts, music, physical fitness, and wellness programs; technology education programs; financial literacy programs; environmental literacy programs; mathematics, science, and career and technical education (CTE) programs; internship or apprenticeship programs; and other ties to an in-demand industry sector or occupation for high school students that are designed to reinforce and complement the regular academic program of participating students; and
  3. Offer families of students served by community learning centers opportunities for active and meaningful engagement in their children’s education, including opportunities for literacy and related educational development. 

The purposes listed above for 21st CCLC are aligned to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). 

21st CCLC programs may provide services for children in grades prekindergarten through 12. 

21st CCLC funds are available for professional development activities that support the delivery of high-quality programs.

For information about program objectives, see

For allowable activities, see

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 130091

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Annual grant awards will be a minimum of $50,000 and a maximum of $600,000, with individual awards not exceeding $150,000 per site (i.e., the physical location where grant-funded services and activities are provided to participating students and adults).

Term of Contract:

The grant period will begin no sooner than July 1, 2021, and will extend from the execution date of the grant until June 30, 2022.

Applicants who propose to offer summer programs may request a two-month extension period from July 1 to August 31 in each year of the grant

Successful applicants may reapply via continuing application for up to four additional years (i.e., FYs 2023, 2024, 2025, and 2026).

Funding in subsequent years will be contingent upon compliance with federal and state law, state grant-making rules, passage of sufficient appropriations for the program, and satisfactory performance in the preceding grant period. Funding in subsequent years will also be contingent upon a grantee’s ability to spend 85 percent of their funds in Year 1 and 92 percent in Year 2.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible Applicants:

Public and private entities, including Local Education Agencies (LEAs), such as public school districts, public university laboratory schools approved by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), state-authorized* charter schools, area vocational centers, Regional Offices of Education, Intermediate Service Centers; community-based organizations (CBOs), including faith-based organizations (FBOs), Indian tribes or tribal organizations (as such terms are defined in section of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Act); and other public and private entities or a consortium of two or more such agencies, organizations, or entities are eligible to apply.

* Refers specifically to charter schools that are authorized by ISBE as opposed to charter schools authorized by LEAs. Charter schools authorized by LEAs are not eligible to apply independently from their authorizing LEAs.

Note: A charter school that is a 501(c)(3) may apply with a Regional Office of Education or Intermediate Service Center that is recognized as an LEA.

An applicant is not required to have previous experience in providing after-school programs; however, applicants lacking such experience must demonstrate in their proposals that they can be successful in providing educational and related activities that will increase academic achievement and enhance positive youth development of the students to be served.

A consortium of two or more eligible applicants may apply as co-applicants by submitting a joint proposal. Co-applicants in a consortium may submit multiple proposals.

Proposals may address the following priority areas:

1. Comprehensive or Targeted Eligible Schools and Joint Applications
2. Tier 1 or Tier 2 School Districts Not Served
3. Middle and High Schools
4. Rural Schools

Population to be Served: The law requires that 21st CCLC awards be granted only to applicants who will primarily serve students who attend schools with a high concentration of students from low-income families (defined as not less than 40 percent of the students being eligible for free or reduced-price meals). Each applicant must propose to serve high-poverty schools or schools eligible for schoolwide programs. Applications proposing services to schools with less than 40 percent low-income students as reported on the 2019-20 Illinois Report Card will not be considered.

All programs and services provided to students and their families must be secular, neutral, and non-ideological. No funds provided pursuant to the 21st CCLC program may be expended to support religious practices, such as religious instruction, worship, or prayer.

For Non-Allowable Uses of Funds, see

Pre-proposal Conference:

A technical assistance session will be held on April 26, 2021 at 1:00 pm. Registration information is found at Attendance is not required.

Pre-Application Information:

Proposals must be received by mail no later than May 28, 2021, at 5:00 pm.

It is anticipated that successful applicants will receive a Notice of Award via email approximately 90 days after the application deadline.

Applicants who plan to submit a proposal are asked to send a letter of intent by May 7, 2021. The letter is not required to submit a proposal but is highly encouraged. Letters of intent may be emailed to the email address indicated in Contact Information below.

All questions asked concerning this NOFO/RFP will be responded to in a Frequently Asked Questions document found at the URL for Full Text link below so all respondents can see all questions and the responses to the questions. Changes to the FAQ will not be made after May 21, 2021. Applicants are advised to check the site before submitting a proposal.

Applicants will need to use their Region, County, District, Type (RCDT) code when applying. Applicants may verify their RCDT code at by selecting “RCDTS Lookup” under “System Quick Links.” Applicants that do not have an RCDT code may email Kathryn Elvidge for information on how to establish an RCDT code.

Applicants are required to be registered in SAM before submitting an application, and to provide a valid DUNS number in the application.

Applicants may submit multiple proposals. Applicants who are administrative agents with operating budgets under $750 million will be restricted to receiving a maximum of three funded grants. Administrative agents with budgets of more than $750 million may be awarded up to six grants.

Note: An applicant cannot propose to serve any school already receiving services under a 21st CCLC grant.

Faith-Based Rule:

Legislation, Regulations, and Guidance:

Webinar recording:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Mail the original and two paper copies plus an electronic copy of the proposal on a USB flash drive to:

Kathryn Elvidge
Illinois State Board of Education
Wellness Department
Mail Code E-222
100 North First Street
Springfield, Illinois 62777-0001

Phone: (217) 782-5270

For more information, contact Kathryn Elvidge at the phone number or email address indicated above. Email is the preferred method of contact.

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:

CSFA No. 586-46-0423

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Illinois

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