The Illinois Equal Justice Foundation (IEJF) makes grants to help Illinois residents understand how to access and use the legal system to resolve a problem.  In the Community Outreach category, the IEJF will consider support for projects and organizations that are designed to operate as a “starting point” for people to learn about cannabis expungement, New Leaf Illinois’ statewide services, and register for legal assistance. Preference will be given for efforts to expand or launch new community outreach programs serving communities disproportionately impacted, as identified by the R3 areas.

Use of Grant Funds

In the Community Outreach category, the IEJF will make grants to support:

  • Operating costs for community outreach projects, including personnel costs, marketing, and related events costs.
  • Technology investments to provide for the registration of individuals for New Leaf Illinois.
  • The creation, distribution and delivery of legal information and self-help materials.
  • Marketing materials for events and other associated costs related to public forums.
  • Projects that will offer printed, video and/or web-based materials on cannabis expungement and related topics and how individuals access services through New Leaf Illinois.
  • Projects can include the preparation and distribution of materials; targeted outreach to community organizations and members; legal information classes taught by attorneys or under the supervision of a licensed attorney; know your rights or community education events conducted by staff with approved materials; and/or other creative efforts to help give Illinois residents the information and resources to seek legal relief through cannabis expungement.


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

  • Provide legal information and community outreach services free of charge.
  • Provide legal information as described in the Purpose section of these guidelines. For organizations that do not have licensed attorneys, applicants will agree to confirm the provision of accurate legal information through Network legal organization grantees and commit to training resources on the unauthorized practice of law.
  • Provide legal information on questions commonly faced by members of the public in understanding eligibility for cannabis expungement and impacts of a criminal record.
  • Provide legal information in locations that are accessible to the public.

In the Outreach category, the IEJF will not consider proposals for:

  • Telephone-based services or legal services programs’ efforts to provide legal information and self-help assistance as part of their screening and intake systems

Evaluation Criteria

Applications in the Community Outreach category will be evaluated based on:

  • Demonstrated need for the proposed services, as reflected by factors such as the number of individuals impacted by arrest and conviction within a service area as designated by the R3 Board by data provided through the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA), found at
  • Evidence of support for the project from the community, including local government officials, community agencies and others who deal with members of the public who are seeking legal information and resources.
  • History of community engagement and outreach, with clear strategies on targeted audiences and forums.
  • Preference will be given to projects that prioritize the registration of individuals through New Leaf Illinois.
  • Preference will be given to projects that are either statewide or are developing materials or models that can be replicated by other outreach projects in Illinois.
  • Preference will be given for efforts to launch new outreach projects in counties or communities where none exist.