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Telephone Advice and Referral Services Grant

Grants to Illinois Nonprofits to Provide Support for
Free Legal Information Hotlines for 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 to provide operating support for regional legal services hotlines in Cook County or throughout the State. Eligible operating expenses include staff benefits and salaries, and other operating costs that are directly related to providing referral and advice services to callers.

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; and
-Provides coordinated intake and referral services.

Grant applications in the Telephone Advice and Referral Services category will be evaluated based on:

- Demonstrated need for the proposed services, as reflected in the number of eligible clients in the applicant’s service area; the volume of calls received; and current unmet demand.

- 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.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 144783

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 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.

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.

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: Cook County or a service area of at least 25 Illinois counties.