Illinois doles out $3.5 million in summer violence prevention grants


CHICAGO—Using revenue generated from adult-use cannabis sales, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) today announced 21 grants totaling $3.5 million to organizations offering young people and adults (ages 10 to 25) pro-social activities that may reduce violence and victimization or provide increased street intervention this summer.

Grant awards will support three months of programming, from July 1 to September 30.

The grants are part of the Restore, Reinvest, and Renew (R3) Program, created to promote equity within the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, signed by Governor Pritzker in 2019. The Act states 25 percent of all cannabis revenue must be used to support communities harmed by violence, excessive incarceration, and economic disinvestment.

“We have to address the root causes of violence and invest in communities and the people who deserve more resources and opportunities than they have historically been given” said Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton. “These grants will increase programming, job opportunities, provide safe spaces, and other positive outlets for youth and emerging adults. When we empower people, we change lives and communities.”

Chicago Police Department crime data recorded monthly over the past decade show violent crime totals are routinely highest from June to August. Other large urban areas across the state also experience high crime and anticipate an increase in violent crime during the summer months. Funding was made available to organizations that serve communities in Aurora, Bloomington, Champaign, Chicago, Decatur, East St. Louis, Joliet, Peoria, Rockford, Springfield, Suburban Cook County, and Waukegan.

“Using a public health approach, this emergency response to summer violence will expand and increase resources aimed at addressing the risk of escalating violence, which is experienced each year in the state’s most vulnerable communities,” said Acting ICJIA Executive Director Delrice Adams.

Funded organizations have at least two years of experience providing violence prevention, intervention, or reduction services and the capacity and ability to independently operate and expand the program. Current R3 grantees and subgrantees were not eligible for the grants.

Applications were reviewed by of ICJIA staff, external experts, and community members from R3 zones. Additional points were given to organizations headquartered in communities they proposed to serve, whose composition resembled that of the community they proposed to serve, and whose models incorporated community members in service delivery. Organizations with operating budgets of less than $2 million also received additional points.

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