Applications are now open for the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation grant program.
The Illinois Equal Justice Foundation (IEJF) is a not-for-profit corporation established in 1999, pursuant to the Illinois Equal Justice Act (30 ILCS 765/1 et. seq.). The IEJF supports initiatives to increase Illinois residents’ access to the legal system. The IEJF provides grants to nonprofit legal aid providers through a state appropriation housed in the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.
The Illinois Equal Justice Foundation makes grants in five categories:
- Legal Information for the Public
- Self Help Legal Assistance Projects
- Mediation Services
- Telephone Advice & Referral Services
- Civil Legal Assistance
An organization may apply for funds in more than one category. Organizations seeking support for more than one of the five purposes must submit a separate application for each category.
- The legislature approved $1.4M for the IEJF’s civil legal aid appropriation for FY 21. The grant budget is $1,330,000. Grant awards/payments are contingent on the timely receipt of the funds from the State of Illinois.
- 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.
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 Illinois residents in one or more of the five areas set forth in the “Purposes” section. To determine if a particular project qualifies for a grant, see the specific guidelines for each of the five categories noted above.
- 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. Legal information for the public, self-help legal assistance and mediation services, however, must be provided free of charge.