Healing Illinois Request for Proposals (RFP)

RFP Release Date: 

September 30, 2020

Information Sessions:  

  • September 29, 2020 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
  • October 8, 2020 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
  • October 15, 2020 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

Application Deadlines: 

  • First Cycle: October 14, 2020 at 11:59 PM
  • Second Cycle: October 30, 2020 at 11:59 PM

Funding Decisions: 

  • First Cycle: Late-October
  • Second Cycle: Mid-November


Healing Illinois is a racial healing initiative of the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), in partnership with The Chicago Community Trust, designed to distribute $4.5 million grants to organizations across the state to begin, or continue, the work of racial healing.

The goals of Healing Illinois are to:

  • Build and advance knowledge and understanding of racial healing and racial equity in communities across the state
  • Increase trust and relationship building, among the residents of Illinois
  • Provide opportunities for communities and individuals to begin to heal from the harms caused by racism
  • Build the foundation for long-term racial healing and anti-racism in Illinois

The time for Healing Illinois is now. The disparate impact of COVID-19 on Black and Latinx communities, coupled with the continued disregard for Black lives and the resulting and unprecedented international response to the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery, are the latest call to action to address racism. These dual pandemics have laid bare the need to address underlying systems that have created conditions allowing vast racial disparities to exist. As we move ahead with the work of systemic change, we must also lay the groundwork for community healing. Acknowledging the harms done to communities of color, and providing the space for healing is a first step in that journey. Healing Illinois represents that first step to promote racial healing for everyone, and to advance racial justice and equity in Illinois.

Priority Strategies and Activities

Healing Illinois grants will fund projects that advance racial equity by:

  • Promoting dialogue: Supporting and facilitating conversations that build connection, understanding, and empathy within and across communities
    • Examples: On the Table-type events, facilitated conversations, opportunities to engage in dialogue with the broader community.
  • Encouraging collaboration: people coming together in person or virtually to connect and engage in racial healing activities
    • Examples: racial justice campaigns; creative artistic activities, including community-wide murals, virtual artistic events, storytelling, and discussion.
  • Facilitating learning: Engaging in projects that build and/or enhance knowledge and understanding of racial justice
    • Examples: trainings, technical assistance, (external) purchase of educational materials for community-wide programming, (internal) purchase of educational materials for staff, board, volunteers and stakeholders.
  • Seeding connection: Building community through deeper interpersonal interactions
    • Examples: racial healing circles, peace circles, restorative justice activities.

Project/Activity Conditions:

  • Healing Illinois applicants should consider the following as proposals are developed:
    • Community engagement should be a key element to any project and/or activity;
    • Different communities will approach and address racial healing in different ways;
    • Project and/or activity documentation will be required.
  • All projects/activities must follow the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) health and safety guidance related to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Grant funds have to be expended by January 31, 2021.

If an organization is not GATA certified but would like to be, visit Illinois.gov/Sites/GATA to learn more.

Eligible Applicants

We encourage any organization interested in working on racial healing to consider applying. There are multiple ways to participate in Healing Illinois.

To be eligible for a grant award, an applicant must be:

  • A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in good standing with the Illinois Secretary of State.
  • At the time of application, applicant must be Grant Accountability and Transparency Act/GATA certified. For more details about GATA certification, visit Illinois.gov/GATA.
    • If an organization is not GATA certified but would like to be, visit Illinois.gov/GATA to learn more.
    • If an organization is not GATA certified and would like to participate in Healing Illinois, please contact the Healing IL team at healingil@cct.org.

Grant Amounts Available:

GATA certified organizations

  • Operating budget under $1M may apply for up to $15,000
  • Operating budget over $1M may apply for up to $50,000*

* There will be a small number of grants above $50,000 for organizations that can conduct activities in multiple locations across the state. For more information on this opportunity, please contact healingil@cct.org.

Application Process

Applicants must complete their application via GrantCentral, The Chicago Community Trust's online grants management system. To access an application, grant seekers must log into GrantCentral at https://cct.smartsimple.com.

Applicants must complete an Organization Profile, which is on the last tab within their GrantCentral account. If the Organization Profile was completed for a previous funding opportunity, it must be reviewed and, if needed, updated and certified prior to application submission.

Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

Information Sessions:

Healing Illinois Info Session #1
When: September 29, 2020 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Register in advance for this session:

Healing Illinois Info Session #2
When: October 8, 2020 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Register in advance for this meeting:

Healing Illinois Info Session #3
When: October 15, 2020 11 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
Register in advance for this meeting:

Contact Information

Definition of Terms

  • Racial healing circle: A process that can facilitate trust and help build authentic relationships that bridge divides created by real and perceived differences. The racial healing process is composed of three parts: 1) listening, 2) becoming open to one another's perspectives and experiences, and 3) allowing yourself to be impacted and/or transformed by the experience.
  • Restorative justice: A philosophy that assists restoration of harm, bringing together the individual who was harmed, the person who allegedly harmed them, and community members to settle on an agreement for making amends. It reflects a theory of justice that emphasizes repairing the harm caused by conflict and places resolution in the hands of those who have been most affected by a wrongdoing, giving equal concern to the harmed, the offender, and the surrounding community.
  • Peacemaking circles: Circles are a process grounded in the shared values of those in the circle that creates understanding, builds and repairs relationships and assists with solving conflicts and disputes. They create a safe place for problem solving and conflict resolution in communities and schools as well as in workplaces. Rather than being led by a facilitator, a Circle has one or more "keepers" whose role is primarily to hold the container of the circle in a safe way so that all can be heard and can listen. Circles may include those who have been harmed, those who have harmed others, their support people and community representatives.
  • Racial justice: Racial justice focuses on the deepest, most complex aspects of addressing the ways racism permeates political, cultural, and economic norms and what is truly required to uproot it. https://racialequity.org/.

About the Illinois Department of Human Services

The Department of Human Services is one of Illinois' largest agencies, with more than 13,000 employees. Illinois created IDHS in 1997 to provide our state's residents with streamlined access to integrated services, especially those who are striving to move from welfare to work and economic independence, and other who face multiple challenges to self-sufficiency. For more information, visit www.dhs.state.il.us.

About The Chicago Community Trust

As the region's community foundation, The Chicago Community Trust unites generous donors, committed nonprofits, and caring residents to effect lasting change that moves the entire region. For more than 100 years, donors have entrusted their philanthropic resources and visions to our stewardship. Guided by deep knowledge of the community, the Trust funds, leads, convenes and collaborates to address the greatest and most critical needs facing the Chicago region. For more information, visit www.cct.org.