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Governor announces new initiative to promote racial healing

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton on Tuesday announced the Healing Illinois initiative in response to the racial disparities highlighted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Launched in partnership with the Chicago Community Trust (the Trust), the Healing Illinois initiative will provide an opportunity for residents of communities across the state that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 to engage in meaningful dialogue. The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) will oversee the new grant program.

“In order to truly fight inequities and build a better, more inclusive Illinois, we have to be able to articulate the history of personal, institutional and structural racism that got us here – and, just as importantly, the modern iterations of personal, institutional and structural racism that hold us back today,” Pritzker said.  

“As a part of my commitment to healing, we’ve allocated $4.5 million to provide grants to community-based organizations of all sizes to help create community-centric, inclusive spaces to talk, learn and grow. The Chicago Community Trust has stepped up as our intermediary for this work and will be distributing our funds around the state, and I’m genuinely grateful for their assistance,” Pritzker said.

“We are dealing with two pandemics — COVID-19 and systemic racism. Healing Illinois will advance the conversation and shine a light on the process of collective healing,” Stratton said. “What we know is hurt people hurt people, and healed people heal people. In Illinois, we are leading the way; moving with all deliberate speed in the direction of justice, equity and opportunity for all.”

State-funded grants will fund activities in four areas:

•  Promoting Dialogue: conversations to build understanding and empathy.
•  Encouraging Collaboration: activities that bring people together in person or virtually to connect and to act together on a project or idea.
•  Facilitating Learning: activities designed to build or enhance knowledge.
•  Seeding Connection: racial healing circles, peace circles, or restorative justice activities.

Visit Healing Illinois for more information on grant eligibility, application tools, frequently asked questions, and the RFP.  Further inquiries can be answered on the website or during the following informational session from 12:30 to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15. click here to register in advance for this session.

IDHS is working with the Trust to distribute $4.5 million in grants to organizations located across the state that will facilitate racial healing activities. The application deadlines are Oct. 14 and Oct. 30. 

Organizations can apply once, and all grant applicants must be a 501(c)(3) in good standing with the Illinois Secretary of State and Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) certified. Organizations that are not GATA-certified, may be eligible to work with an intermediary. Healing Illinois has identified intermediaries across the state. Additional information on how to apply for grants is available online at www.healing.illinois.gov.

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