***PLEASE NOTE: The New Leaf Illinois hotline and online registration system is already operational. Applicants considering applying under this category are strongly encouraged to contact IEJF staff to discuss before submitting an application.****


The IEJF makes grants to provide legal advice and referral services in civil matters to Illinois residents via statewide legal services hotlines.

A statewide legal services hotline is an Illinois-based not-for-profit organization that:

  • Provides callers with general information on how to use the legal system;
  • Offers free legal advice and self-help materials to low-income callers;
  • Refers low-income callers to appropriate civil legal services providers.
  • Provides coordinated intake and referral services.

Use of Grant Funds

Grants will be made to support the operating expenses of legal services hotlines.  These operating expenses include staff salaries and benefits, as well as other costs directly related to providing advice and referral services to callers, including technological infrastructure costs or maintenance.


In the Telephone Advice and Referral Services category, the IEJF will only consider applications from Illinois-based not-for-profit organizations that:

  • Provide free legal advice and referral services to low-income persons.
  • Use licensed attorneys to provide or supervise legal services to callers.
  • Provide legal advice and referral services throughout the State of Illinois.

In the Telephone Advice and Referral Services category, the IEJF will not make grants to support the client screening and intake systems of individual legal services programs if they do not provide direct service in the form of legal advice, brief services and/or referral.

Evaluation Criteria

(see criteria listed in Overview Section as well)

Grant applications in the Telephone Advice and Referral Services category will be evaluated based on:

  • Demonstrated need for the proposed services, as reflected in the volume of calls received and current unmet demand.
  • Efficient service delivery, which takes into consideration factors such as the relative costs of the applicant’s services; the use of volunteers; the availability of appropriate client self-help materials; and the use of technology to increase client access and streamline case-handling procedures.

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