In The News

Illinois Humanities announces changes to grant program

This article appeared in the Alton Telegraph on March 24, 2016. You may access the original article here.


CHICAGO — Illinois Humanities recently announced changes to their long-established Community Grants programs. These changes are meant to promote the public humanities, support Illinois nonprofits, and spark community conversations across the state – they will affect the next application deadline on May 15, 2016.

The revised Community Grants program will accomplish these goals through four grant categories – Vision Grants, Action Grants, Multiplier Grants, and Illinois Speaks Micro-Grants. More than revisions to grants’ categories, the new Community Grants program has also become more digital-friendly and agile to better respond to potential applicants. All applicants should visit for applications and more information. Illinois Humanities cares about access – because of this grant applicants may check a box to request an additional $100 to provide accessibility services (e.g., ASL translation).

Illinois nonprofits or nonprofits doing work in Illinois are encouraged to send a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) by May 15, 2016 for the following grants:

Vision Grants — ($2,000) grants to Illinois nonprofit organizations to carry out planning projects related to their work in the humanities. These grants are intended for smaller organizations and applicants must have an annual budget of $1 million or less.

Action Grants — project grants (up to $4,000) to nonprofit organizations located in Illinois or doing work impacting Illinois audiences. Action Grants are meant to provide support to groups that want to try out innovative approaches to public humanities programming. Applicants must be nonprofit organizations, and can include churches, libraries, colleges or universities, and others. Action Grants cover projects or initiatives that explore the digital humanities, apply new techniques in audience engagement, and explore ways of targeting new audiences and building diversity.

Multiplier Grants — the largest grant category (up to $15,000) is meant to support collaborative projects in the public humanities. Examples of Multiplier Grants might include a number of groups coming together in a given city or town to form a working group trying to attract young families, the development of a citywide plan for nurturing the humanities, or a group of libraries or historical societies working collectively to bolster their public engagement in creative ways.

In addition to these grants, Illinois Humanities is pleased to announce a new grants initiative, Illinois Speaks, which provides micro-grants or stipends ($250) to individuals and organizations to host public discussions about contemporary issues. The grants will come with facilitation training, helping to increase the number of trained facilitators/moderators of public discussion across Illinois.

The first deadline for these new grant categories is May 15, 2016. Potential applicants should read more about these grants guidelines on our website ( or reach out to Mark Hallett(; (312) 374-1555) for more information.