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$4.5 million awarded for racial healing efforts across IL

IL Dept. of Human Services and The Chicago Community Trust partner to award funds to 179 nonprofit organizations

Information provided by the Illinois Department of Human Services

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (December 19, 2020) – The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) announced the recipients of $4.5 million in funding for community-based activities to advance racial healing.

Healing Illinois, an initiative to engage residents of communities across the state that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 in meaningful dialogue, has selected 179 organizations to receive awards. The organizations will use the funding to create community-centric, inclusive spaces to talk, learn and grow, supporting the initiative’s overarching goals: to build and advance knowledge and understanding of racial healing and racial equity in communities across the state; increase trust and relationship building among the residents of Illinois; and provide opportunities for communities and individuals to begin to heal from the harms caused by racism.

“Systemic racism affects all Illinois residents, and COVID-19 has made addressing it more urgent than ever before. I am so pleased to see the work, dedication and commitment by hundreds of community leaders to join Healing Illinois in tackling racism and the need to heal from its effects,” said Grace Hou, Secretary, IDHS. “With all 179 organizations on board, we will make tremendous progress in developing more compassion, racial understanding and equity across the state.”

Funding details

The State of Illinois allocated $4.5 million for Healing Illinois projects. About 85% of the funding was used for direct awards. Additional funding details include:

  •  Of the direct awards, four organizations are serving as intermediaries, receiving $477,550. Intermediaries are nonprofit organizations that will re-grant the funds to smaller organizations across the state.
  •  Seventeen organizations are sub-contractors, receiving $590,000. Sub-contractors will host events, recruit participants and conduct specific racial healing sessions.
  •  There are $102,665 in funds reserved for nonprofit organizations in southern Illinois counties.

Grant recipients are in 25 counties across the state, and include:

  •  Boys and Girls Club of Elgin, for its Raise Your Voice social justice program for teens, which will focus on establishing a Social Justice Club in middle and high school sites in Elgin
  •  Illinois Public Health Association in Sangamon County for expansion of its Healing Ambassadors program and amplifying of healing stories
  •  Westside Justice Center of Chicago for Healing Justice activities using digital storytelling and conversations about race, community defense, food justice, and healing

For a full list of grant recipients, intermediaries and subcontractors, visit

Managed by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) in partnership with The Chicago Community Trust, Healing Illinois was launched in October. Since then, hundreds of people have attended public webinars to learn more about the grants, and nearly 500 grant applications were submitted by the final deadline. The first round of $2.53 million in awards was disbursed in early November; and the second round of $1.86 million in awards is being disbursed this month. Award recipients are located in 25 counties across the state’s five regions.

Racial healing activities

Awards will support four types of activities:

  •  Promoting dialogue: conversations to build understanding and empathy
  •  Encouraging collaboration: activities that bring people together in person or virtually to connect and to act together on a project or idea
  •  Facilitating learning: activities designed to build or enhance knowledge
  •  Seeding connection: racial healing circles, peace circles, or restorative justice activities

All Healing Illinois award recipients are 501(c)(3) organizations and Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) certified or working with a GATA-certified intermediary. All awardees must expend funds and complete projects by March 31, 2021.


Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS)
Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS)
The Department of Human Services is one of Illinois' largest agencies, with more than 13,000 employees. IDHS provides residents with streamlined access to integrated services, especially those who face challenges to self-sufficiency. IDHS sends news releases to The Lansing Journal, and we publish those that are informative for our readers.


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