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Mediation Services Grant

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

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Illinois Equal Justice Foundation (IEJF)

Deadline Date:



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Grants to Illinois nonprofit organizations that provide dispute resolution services to State residents as an alternative to the traditional legal process that is both cost-effective and efficient. Funding is intended to provide access to fair conflict resolution services for those who might not otherwise have such access.

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.

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.

Grant applications in the Mediation Services category will be evaluated based on:

- Demonstrated need for the proposed services, as reflected in the actual or anticipated demand for mediation services; the support of actual or potential referral sources, such as judges, legal services providers, social service agencies, and local government officials; and the extent to which mediation services are otherwise available in the program’s service area.

- Applicant’s ability to provide mediation services, as indicated by the experience levels and qualifications of key staff; the number of trained volunteers and/or the ability to attract new volunteers; the numbers of mediations held in prior years; the ability to provide the required training to potential volunteers.

- Efficient delivery of mediation services, which takes into consideration factors such as the methods for receiving case referrals; the number of cases referred to mediation compared to the number of cases actually mediated; and the relative costs of the applicant’s services.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 144782

Term of Contract:

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

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

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 Illinois residents in one or more of the five areas set forth in the “Purposes” section. To determine if a particular project qualifies for a grant, see the specific guidelines for each of the five categories noted above.
-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. Legal information for the public, self-help legal assistance and mediation services, however, must be provided free of charge.

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 operating an ongoing peer review program for mediators; scheduling mediations within 30 days of the commencement of a case; maintaining records on mediated cases; advising parties of the objectives of mediation, their roles, and the mediator’s role; and considering disputes resolved when there is a written agreement.

-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