Civil Legal Aid Grants: Resolving Life-Changing Legal Problems (US)

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IL Grant Funds Recovery Act

Please note these funds are subject to the IL Grant Funds Recovery Act. Please familiarize yourself before submitting an application.


  • 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.

Grant Disbursement

Grant payments will be disbursed in December, April and June.  Payments are dependent on receipt of the funds from the state and IEJF acceptance of the Mid-Year report.

General Evaluation Criteria

(see funding category for more specific criteria)

  • Demonstrated need for the proposed services.
  • Applicant’s experience in providing said service, as indicated by the experience levels and qualifications of key staff and the numbers of persons served in prior years.
  • Efficient service delivery, which takes into consideration factors such as the relative costs of the applicant’s services; cooperation and coordination with other entities to avoid duplication of effort; the use of volunteers; and the use of technology to increase access to services and to maximize productivity.
  • Sound organizational management, including indices such as the fiscal health of the sponsoring organization; realistic income and expense budgets for the project; evidence of active involvement and oversight by a qualified advisory board and/or board of directors; and demonstrated technical efficiencies and protection of client data.
  • Use of evaluative and measurement techniques that measure success, effectiveness and efficiency as it relates to organizational mission and that are used for learning and improvement. Some non-exhaustive examples:
    • Goal: Decrease the number of seniors suffering from abusive debt collection practices in service area.
      • Objective: During the grant period, file 20 Fair Debt Collection Practice Act claims on behalf of seniors in our service area.
      • Objective: During the first six months of the grant period, secure debt modifications or eliminations for 35 seniors.
      • Outcome measurements: Number and value of debts forgiven, amount of attorney fees awarded to organization, client satisfaction and quality of life improvements.
    • Goal: Increase the knowledge and understanding of area homeless about their educational rights.
      • Objective: Mobilize volunteer attorneys to create know-your-rights materials on Public School regulations, producing a comprehensive pamphlet within six months.
      • Objective: Distribute 125 copies of the know-your-rights materials to homeless youth and their families in service area from June to August.
      • Outcome measurements: Increase in knowledge/understanding/confidence in system use by recipients, increased use of educational system by recipients, increase in legal representation and/or requests for assistance from homeless population that now understands their rights regarding education.
    • Goal: Decrease the burden on families and courts during divorces in service area.
      • Objective: Train 10 new family-law mediators in three cities in the county over the course of the grant period.
      • Objective: Provide mediations to completion for 70 clients across the county over the course of the grant period.
      • Outcome measurements: Participant feedback on fairness/equity/satisfaction/speed/confidence building, agreement rates, reduction in divorce related court hearings and/or filings.
    • Goal: Increase access to justice for self-represented litigants at the local courthouse.
      • Objective: Recruit 40 new volunteers to staff the organization’s self-help desks by conducting two outreach events and training sessions in September at the local law school.
      • Objective: Over the next six months, pilot new self-help center software by providing services to 1,500 clients.
      • Outcome measurements: Increased service speed and volume at desk, decrease in number of SRL forms rejected by the court, increase in success rates for SRL, improvements in collaboration with clerk staff.
    • Performance under previous Illinois Equal Justice Foundation grants. For organizations that received grants in fiscal year 2023 and are seeking a renewal, information on how the grant is being used, what services are being provided and if/how the funds increased the capacity of the organization.

Grant requests will be evaluated on the factors listed above, the criteria listed under each funding category as well as those outlined in the Illinois Equal Justice Act.

The IEJF is committed to equitable salaries for legal aid providers and encourages applicants to develop a reasonable pay scale, training and support program for its personnel to ensure that client services are not interrupted by unplanned staff turnover.

Application And Reporting Requirements

Applications must be submitted electronically by July 28, 2023.

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. The “Apply” button on the top left will allow you to select your funding category and apply.

Grant reports are also submitted via the online portal.

All grantees must submit a brief mid-term report on their activities on or by April 15, 2024.  Grantees must state whether or not they can spend the grant funds in the time and manner allocated in this report. Payments for April and June are contingent on receipt and acceptance of the mid-term report. All funds must be expended by August 31, 2024. The IEJF reserves the right to re-grant funds if deemed necessary.

A detailed final report will be due on or by September 30, 2023. Failure to submit reports in a timely manner may jeopardize future IEJF funding.

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