Grants to Illinois nonprofit organizations to provide legal services hotlines for residents throughout the state. Funding is intended for regional hotlines that offer free legal advice, information, related materials, and referrals to low-income individuals. Eligible uses of funding include operating costs, such as employee salaries and benefits, and other expenses directly related to the provision of advice and referral services to callers. Requests will be accepted from qualifying nonprofits that serve Cook County or have a designated service area of at least 25 Illinois counties.
The IEJF makes grants to provide legal advice and referral services in civil matters to Illinois residents via regional legal services hotlines. A regional legal services hotline is an Illinois-based not-for-profit organization that:
Provides callers with general information on how to use the legal system;
Offers free legal advice and self-help materials to low-income callers;
Refers low-income callers to appropriate civil legal services providers.
Provides coordinated intake and referral services.
In the Telephone Advice and Referral Services category, the IEJF will only consider applications from Illinois-based not-for-profit organizations that:
- Provide free legal advice and referral services to low-income persons.
- Serve Cook County or have a designated service area of at least 25 Illinois counties;
- Provide legal advice and referral services on one or more civil legal issues.
- Use licensed attorneys to provide legal services to callers.
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.
The IEJF will not make grants to support the client screening and intake systems of individual legal services programs if they do not provide direct service in the form of legal advice, brief services and/or referral.
- 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.
- 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 www.iejf.org 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.