If you would like to make a donation to the fund, please download the donation form in Word or PDF.
The ISBA YLD Children’s Assistance Fund, in concert with the Illinois Bar Foundation, seeks to provide grants to organizations across the state related to children and law. Nonprofit organizations wishing to submit proposals to the ISBA YLD Children’s Assistance Fund should review these guidelines to determine their eligibility and the application process.
The ISBA YLD Children’s Assistance Fund awards grants to 501(c)(3) organizations serving the State of Illinois. Bar Associations, though 501(c)(6) organizations, are encouraged to apply for project support.
The ISBA YLD Children’s Assistance Fund prefers projects that:
- Encourage and promote legal assistance to children
- Encourage pro bono legal work in child related legal matters
- Reduce the incidents of domestic violence in families with children
- Make the court system more accessible and transparent to the public, specifically those projects involving children (i.e. Children’s Waiting Rooms)
- Reduce recidivism of juvenile offenders
- Promote the study, research and continuing education of the law
* Children are defined as individuals ages 0-17 or 18 and older if individual is senior in high school.
The Children’s Assistance Fund may also fund programs that:
- Strengthen the court system or the administration of justice as it relates to children
- Help members of the public understand their rights and responsibilities under the law as related to children (i.e. children’s rights)
- Foster and improve programs relating to and benefitting children
The ISBA YLD Children’s Assistance Fund prefers projects that have a statewide or regional impact. Programs with a local impact must show evidence of the significance of the program to the locality and local support for the project.
The ISBA YLD Children’s Assistance Fund prefers projects that are new or innovative approaches that require “seed money” to launch and programs that are the result of collaboration between multiple organizations.
Disfavored or Excluded Activities
The ISBA YLD Children’s Assistance Fund does not favor grant awards for:
- Additions to endowments.
- Continuing legal education programs, unless they are experimental or promote pro bono services.
- Operating expenses, unless the organization’s mission fits squarely within the preferred activities of the Children’s Assistance Fund.
The ISBA YLD Children’s Assistance Fund will not fund grant applications for:
- Projects with no nexus to the State of Illinois
- Political campaigns, election activities or other political activities that are inconsistent with the organization’s tax-exempt status.
- Fundraising benefits or mass appeal solicitations (However, the Foundation reserves the right to participate in organizations’ fundraising benefits with funds outside the traditional grants program when it deems necessary or appropriate).
- Individuals (unless made through the Foundation’s Subsistence Program)
- Fraternal groups
- Individual places of worship
- Sectarian organizations (unless participation in the program is not limited by religion)
- Individual pre-K – 12 schools (public or private)
- Individual Scouting organizations
- Scholarships for individuals (unless made through the Foundation’s regular scholarship program)
Instructions for Completing a Grant Application
- Submit only one application per organization per fiscal year.
- Send the application and required materials.
- Do not fax grant applications.
- Do not use spiral binding, folders or special covers.
- Review Application Check List to ensure the submission of all materials. Applications will not be considered complete until all materials are received.
Applications for grants from ISBA YLD Children’s Assistance Fund are accepted on a rolling basis.
Timeline for Application & Review
Once a grant request is received, it is reviewed by our grant committee. The ISBA YLD council meets approximately six times per year. The grant committee presents the grant to the council and makes a recommendation, after which time the council votes approve, reject, amend or table the grant. If the ISBA YLD recommends the grant be approved, it forwarded to the Illinois Bar Foundation Board of Directors for final approval. You will be notified once your grant has been approved or rejected. The Children’s Assistance Fund generally receives substantially more requests than it can fund and there is no guarantee that any particular project or organization will receive funding. We encourage you to call the ISBA Director of Bar Services if you have questions about these guidelines or about a particular proposal.
Grant Evaluation Criteria
Proposals submitted to the ISBA YLD Children’s Assistance Fund will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
- The relative importance of the program to the Children’s Assistance Fund’s preferred activities.
- The impact of the program on the issue it addresses.
- The availability of funding from other sources.
- Whether the organization is efficient and well managed.
- The capability of the program to successfully manage the program.
- Whether the organization is doing an effective job of coordinating its services with other similar organizations.
- The involvement of the legal community in the program.
- Whether the organization has mechanisms in place to regularly evaluate and improve the services it provides.
- Whether the Children’s Assistance Fund grant will have a material impact on the organization’s operating budget.
Conditions of ISBA YLD Children’s Assistance Fund Grants
- All materials submitted to the Children’s Assistance Fund become the property of the Children’s Assistance Fund and will not be returned. Information contained in the proposals submitted may be shared with third parties and outside organizations as part of the Children’s Assistance Fund’s review process.
- The Children’s Assistance Fund, in its discretion, may request a site visit and/or additional information to assist in its review and evaluation of the proposal.
- The ISBA YLD Children’s Assistance Fund reserves the property rights, copyrights and all other rights of reproduction with respect to any intellectual property for which service is provided as a condition of this grant
- Grant awards must be used strictly in accordance with the proposal and budget submitted in writing to the Children’s Assistance Fund. A grant recipient must petition the Children’s Assistance Fund/Illinois Bar Foundation for permission to make any changes or alternate use of grant funds.
- If there are significant changes in a grant recipient’s mission, structure or personnel (especially management staff) during the grant period, that grant recipient must notify the Children’s Assistance Fund/Illinois Bar Foundation as soon as possible.
- Children’s Assistance Fund grants must be expended within 12 months of the date of the award. The Executive Director may grant a six-month extension if there has been a good-faith effort to complete the project.
- Grant recipients are responsible for the proper expenditure of funds and for maintaining adequate supporting records consistent with generally accepted accounting practices.
All grant recipients must submit a detailed final report on their activities within 12 months. Grant recipients of awards greater than $10,000 must submit a brief mid-term report on their activities within 6 months. No checks will be released without the submission and approval of mid-term reports. Please do not submit reports via e-mail or fax. Please do not submit reports in binders or otherwise bind the report.
Download the Application
Download the application in Word or PDF
For More Information
For more information about the ISBA YLD Children’s Assistance Fund’s grant guidelines and procedures, contact Lynne Davis, ISBA Assistant Director of Professional Services (217) 525-1760.