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Self Help Legal Assistance Project Grant

Grants to Illinois Nonprofits to Provide Free Legal Assistance
that Helps State Residents Navigate the Legal System

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Illinois Equal Justice Foundation (IEJF)

Deadline Date:



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Grants to Illinois nonprofits to provide free legal advice and assistance to litigants or potential litigants to allow them to effectively navigate the legal system regarding non-criminal and traffic matters. Eligible assistance programs must be based in a publicly accessible location, such as a library, courthouse, or community organization.

Applications in the Self-Help Legal Assistance category will be evaluated based on:

- Demonstrated need for the proposed services, as reflected by factors such as the number of pro se filings in the applicant’s service area, and evidence of support for the project from judges, court clerks, legal services providers, bar leaders, librarians, local government officials and others who deal with members of the public who are seeking legal assistance.

- Efficient service delivery, which takes into consideration factors such as the relative costs of the applicant’s services; the use of volunteers; the availability of appropriate client self-help materials; and the use of technology to increase client access and streamline case-handling procedures.

- Preference will be given for efforts to establish new self-help assistance projects in counties, or divisions of the court within larger counties, where no self-help legal assistance projects currently exist.

- Preference will be given to projects that are developing materials or models that can be replicated by other self-help legal assistance projects in Illinois.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 144781

Term of Contract:

The grant period will be September 1, 2018 – August 31, 2019.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The IEJF will only consider applications from Illinois-based 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organizations that:
-Provide self-help legal assistance free of charge.
-Provide legal advice or self-help assistance as described in the Purpose section of the guidelines.
-Provide legal advice or self-help assistance in areas of the law that include problems commonly faced by members of the public (e.g., family law, consumer and credit issues, housing, immigration), including areas of the law that affect lower-income Illinois residents.
-Provide legal advice or self-help assistance in a location that is accessible to the public, like a courthouse, library or community organization.
-Use licensed attorneys to provide services, who can be supplemented by law-students or other non-attorneys acting under the supervision of licensed attorneys, or for legal matters where accredited non-attorney representatives are permitted to provide services (e.g., immigration and tax matters), a representative accredited by the appropriate administrative agency to provide services in matters pending before that agency.

In the Self-Help Legal Assistance category, the IEJF will not consider proposals for:

-Telephone-based services;
-Civil legal services programs’ efforts to provide legal information and self-help assistance as part of their screening and intake systems.
-General efforts to inform the public about the law, such as Law Day activities; the development and dissemination of law-related curricula to schools; essay contests; or other community legal education initiatives that are not designed to help people address specific legal problems; and
-Legal information and self-help projects involving issues of criminal law.

General Grant Limitations
- Funds appropriated by the Illinois General Assembly, including funds distributed by the IEJF, may not be spent on a sectarian purpose.
- Said funds may not be used for the purpose of lobbying; encouraging political activities, labor or anti-labor activities, boycotts, picketing, strikes or demonstrations; or investigative or legal compliance activities related to a pending dispute.
- A recipient may not use funds received under the Illinois Equal Justice Act to file an individual action or class action under the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act or other labor laws.
- No more than 10% of grants awarded by the IEJF can be used for overhead costs. Failure to abide by this may jeopardize future funding from the IEJF.

Pre-Application Information:

Grant payments will be disbursed in December, April and June. Payments are dependent on receipt of funds from the state.

The application and review process will follow this schedule:

- July 3, 2018: Applications are available.
- August 15, 2018: Completed applications submitted on online portal
- September – October 2018: Grant review and site visits
- December 2018: Board decisions announced

Grant payments will be disbursed in December, April, and June. Payments are dependent on receipt of funds from the state.

General grant guidelines:

How to apply:

Contact Information:

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

Apply online:

Zach Zarnow, IEJF Program Director
(312) 938-2016

Illinois Equal Justice Foundation
180 North Stetson, Suite 820
Chicago, Illinois 60601

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Illinois