The IEJF makes grants to provide legal assistance to low-income Illinois residents who cannot afford to hire an attorney.

Priority Areas

The IEJF grants will focus on two priority areas:

  1. Legal Assistance to Families in Crisis: This includes civil legal assistance in cases involving family law (eg., orders of protection, child custody, guardianships, school hearings, dissolution of marriage and post-decree matters), housing law, consumer law, and veterans and disability benefits.  There is a preference for housing work not already funded by Eviction Help IL, Cook County Legal Aid for Housing & Debt, the Chicago Right to Counsel and the IHDA HAF Foreclosure Project.
  2. Legal Assistance to Older Illinoisans: This includes efforts to provide civil legal assistance to protect people 65 and older from physical and financial abuse and financial hardship. It includes civil legal assistance in cases involving orders of protection; guardianships; health care; consumer and credit issues; housing; and public benefits programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

Use of Grant Funds

Grants will be made to support direct service staff positions at eligible legal services providers, including attorneys, paralegals and/or pro bono coordinators, and social/caseworkers that are performing duties directly supporting to the civil legal services being delivered by direct service staff. Grant funds can be used to pay for salaries, benefits, and limited overhead costs (10%) directly related to supporting the position.  The applicant must demonstrate how the proposed staff position will help the organization provide efficient and effective legal assistance to persons in one or both of the priority areas.


In the Civil Legal Assistance category, the IEJF will only consider applications from Illinois-based not-for-profit organizations that:

  • Serve persons in one or both of the two priority areas listed above (Legal Assistance to Families in Crisis and Legal Assistance to Older Illinoisans).
  • Have been in continuous operation for at least two years prior to the date the application is submitted to the IEJF.
  • Have received and expended at least $200,000 for the provision of civil legal assistance to low-income persons in its most recently completed fiscal year.
  • Employ four or more full-time, licensed attorneys who provide civil legal assistance to low-income persons at the time the application is submitted to the IEJF; or have provided legal representation to at least 200 low-income persons through the services of pro bono attorneys in their most recently completed fiscal year.

Eligible organizations may submit more than one request under this category, but must submit a separate proposal for each request.

Evaluation Criteria

(see criteria listed in Overview Section as well)

Grant applications in the Civil Legal Assistance category will be evaluated based on:

  • Demonstrated need for the proposed services, as reflected in the number of eligible clients in the applicant’s service area; current unmet demand; and requests for assistance from other community agencies serving the target populations.