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Grants to Illinois Nonprofits to Provide Legal Services to Low-Income Residents

Civil Legal Assistance Grant


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
Array ( )

Geographic Focus
USA: Illinois

Important Dates
Deadline: 07/28/23 Save

Grant Description
Grants to Illinois nonprofit organizations to provide legal services for low-income residents. Priority will be given to services that cater to families in situations of crisis as well as to elderly residents. Funding is intended to support staff positions at legal services providers, including paralegals, attorneys, and pro bono coordinators.

The IEJF makes grants to provide legal assistance to low-income Illinois residents who cannot afford to hire an attorney.

The IEJF grants will focus on two priority areas:

  • Legal Assistance to Families in Crisis: This includes civil legal assistance in cases involving family law (e.g., orders of protection, child custody, guardianships, dissolution of marriage and post-decree matters), housing law, consumer law, and veterans’ and disability benefits. 
  • Legal Assistance to Older Illinoisans: This includes efforts to provide civil legal assistance to protect people 65 and older from physical and financial abuse and financial hardship.  It includes civil legal assistance in cases involving orders of protection; guardianships; health care; consumer and credit issues; housing; and public benefits programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

Grants will be made to support direct service staff positions at eligible legal services providers. Grant funds can be used to pay for salaries, benefits, and limited overhead costs (10%) directly related to supporting the position.  The applicant must demonstrate how the proposed staff position will help the organization provide efficient and effective legal assistance to people in one or both of the priority areas.


Additional Eligibility Criteria
In the Civil Legal Assistance category, the IEJF will only consider applications from Illinois-based not-for-profit organizations that:
- Serve persons in one or both of the two priority areas listed above (Legal Assistance to Families in Crisis and Legal Assistance to Older Illinoisans).
- Have been in continuous operation for at least two years prior to the date the application is submitted to the IEJF.
- Have received and expended at least $200,000 for the provision of civil legal assistance to low-income persons in its most recently completed fiscal year.
- Employ four or more full-time, licensed attorneys who provide civil legal assistance to low-income persons at the time the application is submitted to the IEJF; or have provided legal representation to at least 200 low-income persons through the services of pro bono attorneys in their most recently completed fiscal year.

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.

Eligible organizations may submit more than one request under this category, but must submit a separate proposal for each request.

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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