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 that are designed to operate as a “starting point” for people who are trying to access the legal system and determine eligibility for cannabis expungement through coordinated outreach efforts. Preference will be given for efforts to conduct outreach in 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 legal information projects, including personnel costs.
  • The distribution and delivery of outreach and self-help materials on cannabis expungement and criminal records relief.
  • Information to support registration of individuals for New Leaf Illinois services through the statewide registration portal.
  • 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; know-your-rights presentations 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 Community Outreach category, the IEJF will only consider applications from Illinois-based not-for-profit organizations that:

  • Provide legal information free of charge.
  • Conduct community outreach and 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 and conduct community outreach on questions commonly faced by members of the public in understanding eligibility for cannabis expungement and impacts of a criminal record.
  • Provide legal information and conduct outreach in locations that are accessible to the public.

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

  • Telephone-based services or civil legal services programs’ efforts to provide legal information and self-help assistance as part of their screening and intake systems; and
  • General efforts to inform the public about the law, such as Law Day activities; the development and dissemination of law-related curricula to schools; essay contests; or other community legal education initiatives that are not designed to help people address specific legal problems.

Evaluation Criteria

Applications in the Legal Information for the Public 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.
  • History of community engagement and clear strategies on targeted audiences and forums.
  • Preference will be given to projects that are either statewide or are developing materials or models that can be replicated by other legal information projects in Illinois.
  • Preference will be given for efforts to launch new community outreach efforts or provide legal information in counties where none exist.