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Grants to Illinois Nonprofits to Provide Legal Dispute Resolution Services to State Residents

Mediation Services Grant


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
Array ( )

Geographic Focus
USA: Illinois

Important Dates
Deadline: 07/28/23 Save

Grant Description
Grants to Illinois nonprofit organizations that provide dispute resolution services to state residents as an alternative to the traditional legal process. Funding is intended to provide access to free and efficient conflict resolution services for those who might not otherwise have such access. Funds may be used to support either new or existing dispute resolution centers that offer mediation services to the public.

Grants supporting mediation services will be made to dispute resolution centers, which are not-for-profit organizations that offer free mediation services to the public that are provided by trained volunteers.  Due to COVID-19 restrictions, virtual mediation services and centers will be considered.

For the purposes of these guidelines, mediation is defined as a voluntary process in which an impartial mediator actively assists disputants in identifying and clarifying issues of concern and in designing and agreeing to solutions for those issues.   A mediator is defined as a person who has received at least 30 hours of training in the areas of negotiation, nonverbal communication, agreement writing, neutrality and ethics.

The IEJF will consider support for:

  • New Dispute Resolution Centers: To increase the availability of mediation services throughout Illinois, the IEJF will consider applications for “start-up” grants to new dispute resolution centers – including those that have begun operation and those that will begin offering services during the grant period – that can demonstrate the ability to provide mediation services in accordance with these guidelines.
  • Existing Dispute Resolution Centers: The IEJF will consider applications for operating support from existing dispute resolution centers. These operating expenses include staff salaries and benefits, as well as other costs directly related to providing mediation services.


Additional Eligibility Criteria
Grants to support mediation services will be made to dispute resolution centers, which are not-for-profit organizations that offer free mediation services to the public that are provided by trained volunteers.

In the Mediation Services category, the IEJF will only consider applications from Illinois-based not-for-profit organizations that:
- Provide free mediation services to disputants.
- Provide mediation services using volunteers who have received at least 30 hours of training as mediators.
- Have operating procedures in place that demonstrate compliance with Section 5 of the Illinois Not-for-Profit Dispute Resolution Center Act (710 ILCS 20/5), including:
(i) Operating an ongoing peer review program for mediators;
(ii) Scheduling mediations within 30 days of the commencement of a case;
(iii) Maintaining records on mediated cases;
(iv) Advising parties of the objectives of mediation, their roles and the mediator’s role;
(v) Considering disputes resolved when there is a written agreement.

Organizations are eligible to apply for a grant from the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation if they:
- Are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code;
- Provide services to low-income people free of charge or on a sliding scale based on income. Low-income is defined as a household income of up to 150% of the federal poverty guidelines. Applicants who charge fees for their legal services are required to provide the IEJF with a copy of their fee schedule. However, legal information for the public, self-help legal assistance and mediation services must be provided free of charge.

- 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
- June 30, 2023 – Applications are available
- July 28, 2023 – Completed applications & proposals due
- July/August 2023 – Grant review & site visits
- September 2023 – Board decisions announced

Applications must be submitted electronically by the due date indicated above.

Application procedures and forms will be available by June 30, 2023 at under the Civil Legal Aid Grants tab. From there you can login to the grant portal.

Grant payments will be disbursed in December, April and June.

Civil Legal Aid Grants information:


Term of Contract
All funds must be expended by August 31, 2024.

Contact Information
Apply online:

For questions, please contact Program Officer Tyrina Newkirk at or (312) 546-6086.

Illinois Equal Justice Foundation
65 E. Wacker Drive, Suite 1900
Chicago, IL 60601

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