Blog Article

A New Round of Illinois Speaks Microgrants Approved

Illinois Humanities approved 14 new microgrants for community dialogues.

A few of the topics are:

  • A dialogue on the relationship between law enforcement and community hosted by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP),  Springfield chapter.
  • A discussion of the relationship between Polish and Haitian immigrant communities in Chicago hosted by the Haitian American Museum of Chicago.
  • Forums on free speech and the freedom of information act hosted by Citizen Advocacy Center in Elmhurst.
  • A discussion on homeschooling at the River Valley Library in Port Byron.
  • The Lincoln Library, the public library of Springfield, will  host a discussion of Terkel’s 1970 interview with author Maya Angelou.  This special niche program within Illinois Speaks, launched in July 2017, provides audio of interviews from the 9,000 hours of radio content from Terkel’s 45 years on WFMT radio.

Here is the full list of microgrant winners:

  • Challenge Day (Carol Stream) – The opioid problem
  • MDH Education Foundation (Decatur) – The education of a race: On the shoulders of black women
  • River Valley Public Library (Port Byron) – Homeschooling
  • NAACP (Springfield) – Relations between community & law enforcement
  • The Planning Coalition (Chicago) – Race and gentrification
  • Wauconda Area Library (Wauconda) – Suicide prevention
  • CivicLab (Chicago) – What if Chicago were not broke?
  • Haitian American Museum of Chicago – Relationship between Polish and Haitian cultures
  • Links Hall (Chicago) – Eclipsing: The politics of light, the politics of night
  • Citizen Advocacy Center (Elmhurst) – Skills for public participation
  • Lincoln Library (Springfield) – Studs Terkel interview with Maya Angelou
  • Hoyleton Youth Family Services (Fairview Heights) – Human trafficking
  • Center for Alternative Studies (Chicago) – Breaking the cycle of poverty
  • Metropolitan Housing Organization (Chicago) – Embracing the struggle dinner and discussion

Please check individual websites for date and time information.

In this program, launched in May 2016, organizations across the state apply for a microgrant to hold a
community dialogue on the topic of their choice. IH provides a stipend, training in facilitation,
and support with outreach and evaluation. Topics vary quite a bit – the Peoria Public Library
recently hosted a series on the opioid crisis, followed by another on fake news. The group Edgar
Miller Legacy hosted discussions for artists on the idea of risk taking and the Jacoby Arts
Center in Alton hosted a film screening and discussion on racial relations. (To see resources for
moderators click here and to see a map of all the locations where IH-funded Illinois Speaks
dialogues have taken place so far, click here.)


2016 Illinois Speaks participants hosted by the Chicago group Edgar Miller Legacy.

The 2018 applications for IL Speaks microgrants are February 15, June 15 and September 15. To apply, go to

If you have questions about the program, contact Mark Hallett at 312.374.1555 or by email at