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Community Grants Program

Grants to Illinois Nonprofits, IHEs, and Agencies in
Eligible Counties for Activities that Benefit Local Residents

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Community Foundation of Northern Illinois (CFNIL)

Deadline Date:

09/13/21 5:00 PM


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Grants to Illinois nonprofit and faith-based organizations, agencies, and IHEs in eligible areas for programs, projects, and events that benefit local communities. Funding is intended to support activities within the focus areas of education, sustainable communities, health, arts and humanities, human services, and youth and families. Within Education, CFNIL’s strategy is to invest in complementary education and career pathways, and to support a regional education system that continually produces healthy and productive citizens. Programs should primarily benefit residents in the counties of Boone, Ogle, Stephenson, or Winnebago.

Generally, 50% of CFNIL's grants will be allocated for Education while 10% will be for each of the other Focus Areas. The focus areas and funding priorities are:

Arts and Humanities:

  • Increase the availability and access to artistic and cultural experiences, especially those that represent the community’s diverse culture
  • Celebrate the region’s history and preserve historical integrity


  • Align with CFNIL’s Education Works guidelines
  • Provide creative and systemic approaches to educational improvement
  • Support the education of current and future medical professionals


  • Improve the quality of and access to health services
  • Support community wellness
  • Conduct research to promote the health and well-being of our community

Human Services:

  • Serve the basic needs of individuals and families
  • Provide services to persons with disabilities, especially activities that promote inclusion
  • Promote the equitable treatment of others

Sustainable Communities:

  • Promote neighborhood and economic development
  • Support efforts to ensure safety and access to quality, affordable, and permanent housing
  • Preserve our natural environment, especially activities that increase the region’s understanding and appreciation of the environment

Youth & Families:

  • Provide pathways to self-sufficiency
  • Strengthen families
  • Support intellectual, emotional, physical, and social development

Grants can support events, projects, programs, and capital/commodity. For additional information about types of proposals, see:

For information about eligible expenses see:

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 175272

Term of Contract:

Funds will be awarded by the end of December for use after January 1, 2021.

An organization can only apply for a multi-year grant if seeking funding for charitable activities that align with the following criteria:
- Education Works (see page 6 of the Guidelines below)
- Medical education (see Education Focus area on page 2 of the Guidelines, below)
- Medical research (see Health Focus Area, on page 2 of the Guideline, below)

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible to apply for funding from the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, an applicant must be a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization or a religious organization, unit of government, or public university/college

The proposals must describe charitable activities that primarily, but not exclusively, benefit the residents of Boone, Ogle, Stephenson, or Winnebago Counties.

- Must be in active service to the public for at least one as of December 1st of the year in which they are applying. For 501(c)(3) organizations, active service begins on the "Effective Date" found in an organization's IRS Determination letter.
- Must be current on all interim and final reports for grants from CFNIL. If the organization is currently being funded with a CFNIL grant and a final report is not yet due, the organization must submit an interim report
- If working with a school district, must submit a Pre-Authorization Form from the district describing the extent of the partnership
- May submit up to three unique proposals.

CFNIL will not fund proposals requesting funding for general operations; budget deficits; individuals; for-profit organizations; partisan political activities; or proposals that discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, national/ethnic origin, political beliefs, veteran’s status, disability, or any other factor prohibited by applicable law.

Pre-Application Information:

Fall 2021 Timeline:
- Application opens: August 2
- Application deadline: September 12
- Notification: By the end of December 2020

Resources and FAQ:

Presentation recording:

Contact Information:

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

Apply online:

For grant questions, contact:
James Patterson
+1 (779) 210-8206

946 North Second Street
Rockford, IL 61107

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Illinois: Boone, Ogle, Stephenson, and Winnebago Counties

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