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Civil Legal Assistance Grant

Grants to Illinois Nonprofits to Provide Legal
Services to Low-Income 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 assist low-income residents in hiring an attorney. Priority will be given to services that will cater to families in crisis as well as elderly residents. Funding is intended to support staff positions at legal services providers, including paralegals, attorneys, and pro bono coordinators.

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, guardianship, 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; guardianship; health care; consumer and credit issues; housing; and public benefits programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

Grants will be made to support 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 persons in one or both of the priority areas.

Grant applications in the Civil Legal Assistance 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; current unmet demand; and requests for assistance from other community agencies serving the target populations.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 144784

Term of Contract:

The grant period will be September 1, 2020 – August 31, 2021.

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 their 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.

- 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:

Timeline for Application & Review:
- July 6, 2020: Applications are available.
- August 17, 2020: Completed Applications Submitted on Online Portal
- September – October 2020: Grant review & site visits
- December 2020: Board decisions announced

Grant payments will be disbursed in December, April, and June. Payments are dependent on receipt of funds from the state.

Eligible organizations may submit more than one request under this category

General guidelines:
Application information:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply online:
Leslie Corbett, Executive Director
(312) 938-2381

Zach Zarnow, Program Director

Illinois Equal Justice Foundation
180 North Stetson, Suite 820
Chicago, Illinois 60601

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Illinois

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