Healing Illinois grant money available for racial equality projects

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Native American
Information provided by the Illinois Department of Human Services

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (October 6, 2020) – Governor JB Pritzker and Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton announced Tuesday the Healing Illinois initiative in response to the racial disparities highlighted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Launched in partnership with the Chicago Community Trust (the Trust), the Healing Illinois initiative will provide an opportunity for residents of communities across the state that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 to engage in meaningful dialogue by providing grant opportunities for nonprofit organizations.

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) will oversee the new grant program, which will distribute $4.5 million in grants to organizations located across IL that will facilitate racial healing activities. Healing Illinois grants will be awarded in two rounds. The application deadline for the first round is Oct. 14; the deadline for the final round is Oct. 30. Organizations can apply once, and all grant applicants must be a 501(c)(3) in good standing with the Illinois Secretary of State and Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) certified. Organizations that are not GATA-certified, may be eligible to work with an intermediary. Healing Illinois has identified intermediaries across the state. Additional information on how to apply for grants is available online at www.healing.illinois.gov.

“Healing Illinois is a bold new initiative pioneered by our own Department of Human Services to support meaningful dialogue regarding race and racism—conversations that we must have in order to move us toward the progress we seek. In order to truly fight inequities and build a better, more inclusive Illinois, we have to be able to articulate the history of personal, institutional, and structural racism that got us here – and, just as importantly, the modern iterations of personal, institutional, and structural racism that hold us back today,” said Governor JB Pritzker.

State-funded grants will fund activities in four areas:

  • Promoting Dialogue: conversations to build understanding and empathy. Examples: On the Table-type events, facilitated conversations, opportunities to engage in dialogue with the broader community.
  • Encouraging Collaboration: activities that bring people together in person or virtually to connect and to act together on a project or idea. Examples: racial justice campaigns; creative and artistic activities, including community-wide murals, virtual artistic events, storytelling, performance, and discussion.
  • Facilitating Learning: activities designed to build or enhance knowledge. Examples: trainings, technical assistance, (external) purchase of educational materials for community-wide programming, (internal) purchase of educational materials for staff, board, volunteers and stakeholders.
  • Seeding Connection: based on personal truths: reaffirm the humanity in each of us and uplift what unites us rather than what divides us. Examples: racial healing circles, peace circles, or restorative justice activities.

Visit Healing Illinois for more information on grant eligibility, application tools, frequently asked questions, and the RFP. Further inquiries can be answered on the website or during informational session on October 15, 2020, from 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM; click here to register in advance for this session.

“Our city, our region and our nation are at a pivotal moment where we must do the work necessary to rebuild stronger than where we started prior to COVID-19,” said Helene Gayle, president and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust. “We stand committed to working alongside community partners and leaders to dismantle systemic racism and the structures that led to the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on Black and Latinx communities and that perpetuate inequity.”