Program Description

Following the September 15, 2018, application deadline, the Illinois Speaks micro-grants program is on hiatus while we rework the guidelines. We plan to announce new guidelines in 2019.

This does not affect the Envisioning Justice “Justice Dialogues” micro-grants that are designed to support community dialogues on the mass incarceration system and the “Studs Terkel Radio Archive” micro-grants that are available only to public libraries in the state of Illinois. In addition, this does not affect “Vision, Action, and Multiplier (VAM) Grants.”

Illinois Speaks Micro-Grants are $250 and $1,000 grants to individuals and organizations to host public discussions about contemporary issues. These grants allow more people to act as trained facilitators or moderators of public discussion across the state of Illinois. The money goes toward:

  • compensation for moderators
  • support for the host organization or venue
  • refreshments
  • outreach
  • recording an event

Illinois Humanities cares that public events are as inclusive as possible; Illinois Speaks applicants can check a box to request an additional $100 to provide accessibility services (e.g., American Sign Language translation).

How it works

Anyone over the age of 15 can apply for an Illinois Speaks micro-grant. They simply need to fill out an Illinois Humanities grant proposal form, which asks

  • who they are
  • the topic they would like to discuss
  • their experience hosting or moderating discussion
  • how they plan to get 10 or more people to attend
  • who their partner host institution is
  • how they would use the Illinois Speaks micro-grant

The grants will not be paid to individuals, but to the host nonprofit, school, library, church, university or college, or other nonprofit civic institution with which they partner.

Proposals to host Illinois Speaks dialogues should be sent before one of our four 2018 deadlines: by 5PM on February 15, June 15, September 15. If a group has already hosted an Illinois Speaks dialogue or is particularly experienced in facilitating such public conversations, it can apply to host a series of four meetings for a grant of $1,000. We will try to respond to applicants within 4 weeks. Please note that your event’s start date should be no earlier than the 15th of the month following the application deadline. For example, if you are applying for the January 15th deadline, than your event must take place on or after February 15th.

Special Categories & Guidelines

More Information

Awarded Organizations

Illinois Humanities has awarded 113 Illinois Speaks micro-grants in 22 Illinois Counties. Below is a list of organizations receiving an award.