The Illinois Equal Justice Foundation will make New Leaf Illinois grants in three categories:

An organization may apply for funds in more than one category.  Organizations seeking support for more than one of the four purposes must submit a separate application for each category.

New Leaf Illinois - Press Conference ThumbnailGeneral Evaluation Criteria

(see funding category above for more specific criteria)

  • Applicant’s experience in providing said service, as indicated by the experience levels and qualifications of key staff and the numbers of persons served through criminal records relief in prior years.
  • Understanding of disproportionate racial and economic impacts of the criminal system, and responses to barriers in reaching most-impacted populations through collaboration or targeted outreach.
  • Primary location of applicant’s service-delivery and alignment with disproportionately-impacted areas designated by the Restore, Reinvest and Renew (R3) Board by data provided through the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA), found at
  • Performance under previous Illinois Equal Justice Foundation grants. For organizations that received grants in previous fiscal years, information on how the grant is being used, what services are being provided and if/how the funds increased the capacity of the organization.
  • Efficient service delivery, which takes into consideration factors such as the relative costs of the applicant’s services; cooperation and coordination with other entities to avoid duplication of effort; the use of volunteers; and the use of technology to increase access to services and to maximize productivity.
  • Sound organizational management, including indices such as the fiscal health of the sponsoring organization; realistic income and expense budgets for the project; evidence of active involvement and oversight by a qualified advisory board and/or board of directors; and demonstrated technical efficiencies and protection of client data.
  • Use of evaluative and measurement techniques that measure success, effectiveness and efficiency as it relates to organizational mission and that are used for learning and improvement.

Some non-exhaustive examples:

  • Goal: Increase access to justice for individuals seeking cannabis expungement.
    • Objective: During the grant period, file 100 Motions to Vacate and Expunge eligible cannabis convictions on behalf of individuals in our service area.
    • Objective: During the first six months of the grant period, secure cannabis expungement relief for 50 individuals.
    • Outcome measurements: Number of convictions vacated and expunged, client satisfaction and quality of life improvements.
  • Goal: Increase the knowledge and understanding of individuals about their rights and eligibility under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.
    • Objective: Deliver know-your-rights presentations on relief for cannabis conviction expungement, training staff, and responding to common questions.
    • Objective: Host six know-your-rights forums and distribute 500 copies of the know-your-rights materials to individuals in the service area from July to September.
    • Outcome measurements: Attendance at events; increase in knowledge and understanding in eligibility for cannabis expungement relief, increased use of network model by recipients to request assistance from individuals that now understand their rights regarding cannabis expungement.

Grant requests will be evaluated on the factors listed above and the criteria listed under each funding category.

The IEJF is committed to equitable salaries for legal aid providers and community outreach staff, and encourages applicants to develop a reasonable pay scale, training, and support program for its personnel to ensure that client services are not interrupted by unplanned staff turnover.