Illinois Grant Resources

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It’s Pop Quiz Time: Do you know where the Ice Cream Sundae, one of the world’s greatest desserts, comes from? It got its start in Evanston, right here in Illinois! 

Looking for another delicious treat for your organization? Just look below for links to different types of Illinois Funding Sources, including state and federal Government Departments, Community Foundations, Private Foundations and Corporations.

Now that you have those lists, what’s next? Learn how to narrow your search to find the specific funders who support your type of organization, as well as how to approach them. Who teaches that? We do! Check out our Grantsmanship Training Program! It’s a fast-paced and inspiring 5-day workshop, packed with the skills-training and guidance you need to approach and impress your potential funders. Applying for grants is a challenging task, and high-caliber training makes the difference between success and endless searching.

Now that you know the direction to take moving forward, here are three more steps for preparing outstanding proposals!

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Questions? Contact: Gail Brauner: (213) 482-9860 X1





Government Offices:

Governor JB Pritzker - (217) 782-6830, Springfield, IL

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin - (202) 224-2152, Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth - (202) 224-2854, Washington, DC

Attorney General Kwame Raoul - (217) 782-1090, Springfield, IL

The Charitable Advisory Council - Created under the Solicitation for Charity Act (225 ILCS 460/23) to serve, study and advise on issues regarding charitable giving, volunteerism and fundraising in the state of Illinois. The council is a permanent body composed of citizens chosen by the Attorney General.

If you’d like to know the names and addresses of other elected officials that represent you and your area, click here to locate them: Illinois Elected Officials.

Illinois Community Foundations:

Brace yourself for good news here: Illinois has 28 Community Foundations providing funding and other services to nonprofits, schools, artists, churches and other groups through their own endowments and through their donor advised funds. Click on the link above to see a list of them on our website, or simply click on the specific Foundation names below. Both rosters indicate the counties and communities served by each organization.

Want to learn more about Community Foundations before approaching your nearest one for funding, or to learn about their other offerings? Click here on What’s a Community Foundation? The explanation will put you on a more solid foundation of understanding (pardon the pun!).

Boone County Community Foundation

Chicago Community Trust

Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln

Community Foundation for McHenry County

Community Foundation of Central Illinois

Community Foundation of East Central Illinois

Community Foundation of Grundy County

Community Foundation of Kankakee River Valley

Community Foundation of Macon County

Community Foundation of Northern Illinois

Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley

Community Foundation Serving West Central Illinois & Northeast Missouri

DeKalb County Community Foundation

DuPage Foundation

Edgar County Community Foundation

Edwardsville Community Foundation

Evanston Community Foundation

Freeport Community Foundation

Galesburg Community Foundation

Illinois Prairie Community Foundation

Lake County Community Foundation

The Moline Foundation

Morton Community Foundation

Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation

Quad Cities Community Foundation

Rochelle Area Community Foundation

Rock Island Community Foundation

Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation

Starved Rock Country Community Foundation

Illinois Resources & Tools:

In addition to Community Foundations, there are additional organizations that provide a wide variety of help to nonprofits and other community service efforts, such as legal guidance, volunteer matching, sustainability workshops, and many more. Illinois has a lot of ‘em! Check out the list below and click away on whichever ones offer the type of services and support you’re looking for.

Arts Alliance Illinois - The leading voice for the cultural sector and creative industries. Through civic engagement, arts education, and cultural equity initiatives, we promote the value of the arts and give voice to a creative state.

CapinCrouse - A for-profit consulting firm specializing in nonprofit clients. In addition to their fee-based services, CapinCrouse offers free webinars across a variety of topics.

Chicago Cares - Matches volunteers with 200 nonprofit organizations and projects each month. Chicago Cares bridges divides and helps everyone see that every neighborhood has assets and challenges. Volunteers from diverse communities come together to meet critical community needs while learning about each other and one another’s neighborhoods.

Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights - Based in Chicago, CLCCR consists of civil rights lawyers and advocates working to secure racial equity and economic opportunity for all. They provide legal representation through partnerships with the private bar and collaborate with grassroots organizations and other advocacy groups to implement community-based solutions that advance civil rights. They’re website provides an impressive list of Resources designed specifically for nonprofit organizations.

New Coast Foundation - NCF was founded in 2016 as a public philanthropic venture fund to accelerate the impact of promising emerging organizations working to bring possibility to the communities and people of Chicago. Through its Investment Readiness approach, they identify emerging organizations that are demonstrating success, and, with the infusion of an investment to accelerate impact, help multiply their efforts to grow and influence meaningful change for Chicago.

Crain's Chicago Business - Here’s an article entitled, “We have too many nonprofits. Here's why that matters,” which includes a description of Forefront’s work -- see their description and link immediately below. It’s not what any of us expected to list here, but it provides an explanation of several important options available to nonprofit organizations dealing with a highly competitive and difficult fundraising environment. If you’re facing increasing challenges, it’s worth a read.

Forefront - The nation’s only statewide membership association for nonprofits, grantmakers, public agencies, advisors, and allies, Forefront provides education, advocacy, thought leadership, and facilitates collective action around issues that are important to its Members and to the sector. Earlier this spring, Forefront launched Mission Sustainability, a program that offers counselling and resources to nonprofits wishing to merge or otherwise collaborate.

GRIT HQ - Grit HQ uses image-centered storytelling to more powerfully connect nonprofits and small businesses with their ideal audiences. GRIT also assists in writing successful grant proposals, conducts nonprofit training (all for a fee), and also provides free content resources to help nonprofits improve their fundraising, social media and branding & marketing game. They get potential supporters to understand what you do, care about the issues you address, and get involved with your organization.

Illinois Legal Aid Online - Offers a variety of articles and videos on how to organize and run a nonprofit Board of Directors, an explanation of their elected officer positions and responsibilities, employee salary issues, etc.

Illinois Partners - A coalition of more than 800 human service organizations located in every county and district throughout Illinois, IP’s partners represent fields across the sector, including education, economic opportunity, healthcare and public safety. They take the lead on some of the most complex issues, such as protecting funding and fair policies, and building public support for investments and innovation in human services. The IP team provides important research, information and updates on policy, and builds capacity in the human service community across Illinois.

Non-profit Development Center - An online resource to provide you with the tools and connections you need to build capacity and impact at your non-profit organization. Provided by Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington.

Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence - Created by and housed at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, NICNE strengthens nonprofits by providing education, training, technical assistance, and assessments, and encourages collaboration resulting in a strong, vibrant nonprofit sector critical to a healthy community.

United Ways of Illinois:

Now, this is impressive: Who else knows the tremendous needs of local neighborhoods as well as Community Foundations do, and also provide funds and volunteers to address them? United Way Chapters! All United Way organizations around the country are dedicated to supporting projects within the four main areas of Health, Education, Financial Stability and Disaster Recovery of Individuals. While they share this common focus, each UW chapter also provides funding and support for programs customized to the needs of its home area. To find out more about a specific UW and its resources and nonprofit funding opportunities, please click on the links below:

Barrington Area United Way

Batavia United Way

Bureau County United Way, Inc.

Colona-green Rock-orion United Way, Inc.

Fox Valley United Way

Genoa-kingston United Way, Inc.

Heart Of Illinois United Way

Kewanee Area United Way

Kishwaukee United Way

Massac County United Way

Mcdonough County United Way

Prairieland United Way

Streator Area United Way, Inc.

The United Way Of Central Illinois, Inc.

United Way For Spoon River Country, Inc.

United Way Of Adams County, Inc.

United Way Of Boone County

United Way Of Brown County

United Way Of Champaign County

United Way Of Christian County

United Way Of Coles County, Inc.

United Way Of Danville Area, Inc.

United Way Of Decatur & Mid-illinois

United Way Of Eastern Lasalle County

United Way Of Edgar County, Inc.

United Way Of Effingham County

United Way Of Elgin

United Way Of Greater Beardstown

United Way Of Greater Mchenry County, Inc.

United Way Of Grundy County

United Way Of Illinois Valley, Inc.

United Way Of Illinois, Inc.

United Way Of Kankakee & Iroquois Counties

United Way Of Knox County, Inc.

United Way Of Lake County, Inc.

United Way Of Lee County, Inc.

United Way Of Livingston County

United Way Of Logan County

United Way Of Mclean County

United Way Of Metropolitan Chicago

United Way Of Northwest Illinois, Inc.

United Way Of Pekin

United Way Of Rock River Valley

United Way Of South Central Illinois

United Way Of Southern Illinois

United Way Of Whiteside County

United Way Of Will County

Warren County United Way, Inc.


New Year's Proposal Writers Resolutions

As the developer, writer and steward of funding proposals, you might consider approaching 2024 with new ideas and new energy for the task. It’s a wonderful/terrible tradition that we make resolutions at this time of year, so why not think about these for your proposal-writing list.

A Classical Approach to Grant Proposals

Before campaign advisors, spin doctors, influencers or ad men, there was the Greek philosopher, Aristotle. His treatise, The Rhetoric, laid out a durable blueprint for creating persuasive arguments and the elements he described are as useful today as they were in 4th century BC Greece. As proposal writers, we sometimes get lost in the weeds of data, logic models, detailed methods and other granular stuff. Preparing persuasive proposals can benefit from reviewing these classical principles.

Logic Models, in Plain English

There comes a time when a proposal needs to include a logic model. Many foundations don’t require one but an increasing number are asking applicants to go beyond objectives and show, in a descriptive chart, the route you plan to take to get to the destination.

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