Businesses and Non-Profits

Rebuild Distressed Communities

What: Rebuild Distressed Communities is a $25 million economic recovery program to support economically distressed Illinois businesses and communities that have sustained property damage due to civil unrest on or after May 25th, 2020. DCEO has partnered with two community organizations, Local Initiative Services Corporation (LISC) and Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, Inc. (CNI), to operate the program on behalf of DCEO. The Rebuild Distressed Communities grant program will reimburse the cost of repairs for structural damages, including repairs to storefronts and entrances, improving electrical systems, and restoring exterior work. For work yet to be completed, LISC and CNI will partner with local contractors and pay for them to perform the work.

Potential applicants: Businesses and non-profits that have sustained property damage as a result of civil unrest during protests and demonstrations on or after May 25, 2020. Businesses located in the zip codes listed here are eligible to apply.  Businesses not listed in those zip codes may still be eligible if they operate in an economically distressed area, listed here, and may apply to have their zip code included.

How Much: $25 million total. Grants will be made in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $200,000.

Due: Round 1 has closed, but Round 2 will be open in the coming weeks. In the meantime, applicants can prepare their application and receive technical assistance.

Apply: To prepare an application, click here

Wet Lab Capital Program

What: Wet labs are laboratories with specialized ventilation and utility connections to allow for research of chemicals and materials. They are critical for life sciences innovation to thrive but require large amounts of physical space and are costly to build. Available wet lab space is scarce throughout Illinois, which limits the competitiveness of the state’s life sciences sector, despite our other advantages. This grant will encourage the development of wet lab space that will be multi-tenant shared space available to incubators, corporations, university researchers, and start-ups.

Potential applicants: Likely non-profits or businesses that have experience in development of wet lab facilities, but all are eligible.

How Much: $9 million. We anticipate awarding 1 to 4 grants.

Due: January 27th, 2021 at 5pm

Apply: Applicants can apply online here. They can submit questions on this NOFO by clicking here.


Downstate Local Governments

Downstate Manufacturing Training Academies

What: Illinois will establish two new innovative Manufacturing Trainings Academies that will expand opportunities for skills training, boost retention of manufacturers in downstate communities, and attract more investment by manufacturing companies throughout Illinois. These academies will offer specialized training that’s not widely available at downstate community colleges for high-demand manufacturing jobs such as machinery mechanics and computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine operators and programmers.

Potential applicants: Community college districts or coalitions of community college districts in downstate Illinois.

How Much: $15 million for two grants.

Due: January 31st, 2021 at 5pm

More Info: Original press release here.

Local CURE’s Economic Support Payments Grant Program

What: This program will reimburse local governments for providing grants to businesses that have experienced interruption of business attributable to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Potential applicants: Local governments outside of Cook, DuPage, Lake, Will, and Kane Counties.

How Much: $15 million, but there will likely be more money added to the program next month.

Due: Applications will be evaluated every two weeks until the funding is exhausted

More Info: FAQs can be found here.



Connect Illinois Broadband Grant Program (Round 2)

What: Connect Illinois will support expanded broadband connections in new communities across the state. The application for the second round of funding largely mirrors requirements of the first application – including a 50 percent match in most cases. To ensure an equal playing field, the administration has instituted an exemption allowing a lower nonstate match for project proposals concerning economically distressed communities. This program change acknowledges the difficulty of connecting the hardest-to-serve areas of Illinois, and the compounding challenges created by the COVID-19 crisis, allowing underserved communities to be competitive when applying for critical infrastructure dollars.

Potential applicants: Eligible applicants include internet service providers, rural cooperatives, nonprofits and local governments.

How Much: $50 million. Up to $5 million per project.  

Due: March 1st, 2021 at 11:59 PM  

More Info: Original press release here.

Illinois Connected Communities Grant Program

What: The Illinois Connected Communities (ICC) program underwrites the cost of expert consultative services, and access to best practice curriculum, will be made available to assist with planning and progress around broadband access, adoption, and utilization.  A first round of state grant funding, combined with a philanthropic match, was directed to 12 community-based organizations in July to assist with planning to ensure access, adoption and utilization of high-speed broadband. This latest round will allow communities to apply for up to funding that will support community based broadband planning and capacity building.

Potential applicants: Local governments, libraries, schools, and various local organizations.

How Much: $150k, grant awards up to $15k.

Due: January 25th, 2021

Broadband Regional Engagement for Adoption and Digital Equity (READY)

What: Broadband READY grants will direct funding to identify current digital inequities as well as next steps in creating a digital inclusion ecosystem through regional collaboration among community and economic development organizations, education, local leaders and other related stakeholders.

Potential applicants: Public hospitals, libraries, park districts, and schools, senior citizen homes, and other public and private nonprofit or for-profit agencies and organizations.

How Much: $250k, grant awards up to $50k.

Due: December 23rd, 2020 at 5pm


Digital Navigator Collaboration

What: Navigators will work to address the digital inclusion process – including home connectivity, devices, and digital skills. Digital navigators will assess residents’ needs and connect with them to resources that match their households’ lifestyles. These navigators can be volunteers or cross-trained staff who already work in social service agencies, libraries, healthcare, and more and who will offer remote and socially distant in-person guidance.

Potential applicants: Local governments; libraries; schools; churches; or similarly oriented nonprofit organizations already serving communities with low broadband adoption, including institutions of higher education.

How Much: None. Membership in the Illinois Connected Community Digital Navigator Program is a non-monetary award to eligible applicants.

Due: January 11th, 2021

Category: Latest

Earlier this week I hosted a discussion with representatives from the Social Security Administration, Illinois Department on Aging, Bradley University, CEFCU, and OLLI at Bradley University so they could provide details about the unique resources available to those transitioning into retirement.

If there's a particular agency you'd like to hear from, feel free to skip ahead to:
1:00 - Megan Forristall with Social Security Administration on Medicare
12:00 - Kelly Dehlinger with the Department on Aging on the Senior Health Insurance Program
21:00 - Dr. Amit Sinha from Bradley University on estate planning and taxes in retirement
33:25 - Eric Pilat from CEFCU on refinancing mortgages and other ways to reduce debt
43:01 - Catheryn Lawless with OLLI at Bradley University on staying educated and active within the community.

Disclaimer from the Social Security Administration: Participation in this presentation does not constitute an endorsement by the Social Security Administration (SSA) or its employees of the organizations and information and products not provided by SSA.

Category: Latest

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The 3rd lottery application period is now open for Illinoisans who wish to deer hunt this fall. Applications close August 21, 2020.

Illinois residents and nonresidents can apply and find more information by visiting:

Category: Latest

Dear Community Partners:

In recent days, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) has received many important questions about participation in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), such as who should apply, and whether certain organizations meet the PPP’s economic requirements.

First, any IDHS provider whose ability to provide services has been impacted, either in whole or in part, by the COVID-19 pandemic, is strongly encouraged (i) to apply for PPP funding and (ii) if successful in applying, to keep the federal PPP funds provided. If you need additional clarification on this, please reach out to your program division.

IDHS makes this recommendation to maximize funding for State providers and to ensure that limited State funding is stretched as far as possible, particularly in light of increasing economic uncertainty and diminishing State revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As noted previously, providers cannot seek and receive payments from both the State and the federal PPP program for the same cost (i.e. a provider cannot be paid twice for the same obligation). To do so, could result in criminal, civil, regulatory, and/or audit issues for the provider.

Providers whose ability to perform has not been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e. providers who are able to fully perform and to be paid for that performance) are not encouraged by IDHS to apply, but must make their own, independent determination as to whether they should.

While providers will need to make their own, independent determinations, providers who are unable to perform, either in whole or in part, due to the COVID-19 pandemic should meet the PPP program “current economic uncertainty” requirements, making their “loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the applicant.” This letter can be used in support.

As providers know all-too-well, IDHS and its providers are living through significant economic uncertainty. While IDHS is trying to support providers with retention payments, federal support is necessary to ensure the long-term operations for many providers and to maximize IDHS’s and the State’s limited funding.

We do not know how long the COVID-19 pandemic will last, but we do know that without ongoing federal support, IDHS retention payments for services not performed will not be sustainable. With reduced State revenues, there is uncertainty as to IDHS’s funding capacity, cash flow, and when IDHS’s service delivery system will be able to return to something close to normal.

So, while IDHS is committed to maintaining retention payments, at a minimum, for FY2020, while the pandemic continues, “current economic uncertainty” supports federal funding for providers whose performance has been impacted, both to support providers and to maximize limited State funds.

IDHS is grateful to every provider making good faith efforts to secure and to retain federal funding. Both directly and indirectly, this helps the provider, IDHS, the State, and the social and human services system everyone is counting on to get Illinois through this unprecedented challenge.

Thank you,
Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS

Category: Latest

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Springfield Office:
323B Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8250

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400 NE Jefferson, Suite 200
Peoria, IL 61603
(309) 677-0120