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Small Grants Program

Grants to Illinois Nonprofits, Schools, and Municipalities in Eligible
Regions to Educate Consumers about Smart Energy Usage

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Illinois Science and Energy Innovation Foundation (ISEIF)

Deadline Date:

03/14/19 4:00 PM


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Grants ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 to Illinois nonprofit organizations, municipalities, schools, universities, and research institutions in the West Central region and Cook County for educational programs on smart energy consumption. Applicants must contact the Foundation before submitting an application. Funding is intended to support projects that educate low-income consumers about the smart grid.

ISEIF’s purpose is to support a well-rounded program of consumer education with innovative projects about the smart grid throughout the State of Illinois. Special attention is to be given to educating low-income people and low-income senior consumers. The ISEIF is also interested in making sure that every type of community in the State is reached for educational efforts regardless of the barriers of culture, economics, language or geography.

ISEIF has made some initial grants to several organizations with the technical experience and ability to teach consumers the details of the grid, smart meters, and how to make an informed selection from among the different products being made available to customers as the smart grid is deployed around the state. ISIEF will pair grantees receiving small grants with these ISEIF-funded organizations that have the technical expertise to provide content at the events.

In particular, the Foundation is interested in hearing from nonprofits in good standing who can:

- Gather at least 200 consumers (adults) for a single event or a series of events to learn from the larger ISEIF grantees about the Smart Grid. (Organizations with the capacity to gather 200 people should be applying at the $5,000 end, and organizations that can reach 500 should be applying at its upper end of $15,000. Organizations that have the capacity to reach more than 500 people on a regular basis should contact the Foundation to see whether they might be better suited to the Foundation's large grant program. )

- Reach low-income communities, low-income seniors and other hard-to-reach populations (hard-to-reach by language, by rural geography, etc.).

The small grants process is designed to allow a community organization to devote specific staff time to organizing a gathering, perhaps to rent a venue for an occasion, to provide incentives (prizes and gifts), and to provide refreshments or even transportation for those who attend. Grants may be used to cover any expense directly related to the organizing and hosting of a community event or series of events focused on energy education, to which ISEIF-funded large educational organizations are invited to provide specific smart-grid content.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 146257

Estimated Size of Grant:

Grants are limited to between $5,000 and $15,000.

Term of Contract:

Grants are awarded to community-based organizations that have the capacity to pull together 200 or more residents in a given community for educational events, over the course of 12 months.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The applicant must be a qualified not-for-profit organization with 501(c)(3) status other than a religious organization. Organizations like schools, universities, municipalities, and research institutions are also eligible to apply for the small grants program.

The geographic focus for small grant submissions should align with the initial rollout areas for smart meters and the overall smart grid deployment plan in Illinois, including those areas in which meters have already been deployed. The areas that already have smart meters or that are to receive them soon are West Central Illinois in Ameren territory and Cook County in ComEd territory.

Organizations are therefore encouraged to look at the schedules for deployment of the smart grid by ComEd and Ameren, in order to be sure that they are proposing work in an appropriate area. Small grants applicants should have the capacity to perform their proposed work themselves, with the funds provided, rather than to contract out work to for-profit entities or consultants.

Pre-Application Information:

2018 Cycle 2:

Proposals Due: September 11, 2018, 4:00 PM
Board Decision: December 2018

2019 Cycle 1:

Opens: January 2, 2019
Proposals Due: March 14, 2019, 4:00 PM
Board Decision: June 2019

The small grant program requires a phone call to the Foundation to discuss the applicant's interest, followed by a simplified online application. Applicants should therefore contact the Program Director Clare Butterfield before applying. Applications received from groups that have not contacted the Foundation will not be considered. After discussing the work they are interested in proposing, applicants will be directed to the online application process . There is likely to be a site visit by Foundation staff to the applicant's facility prior to the board meeting where approval is made by the Board of Directors. After the board meeting, applicants will be notified whether or not their grants were approved.

Organizations that succeed in offering well-attended events with content provided by larger ISEIF-funded organizations will be eligible to apply for additional funding one year after their first application.


Review Process and Deadlines:


Contact Information:

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

For the online application portal:

Applicants should contact:

Clare Butterfield, Program Director
Telephone: 312-239-6752

Illinois Science & Energy Innovation Foundation
18 South Michigan Avenue, 12th Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60603
Phone: (312) 324-3999

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Illinois: West Central region and Cook County