Other Grant Opportunities

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Other Grant Opportunities

Below is a list of grant and loan program opportunities that may be beneficial to your community and projects you are working on.   Other grant programs that NCICG works with regularly can be found on our website under the Grants tab.  Please contact NCICG at info@ncicg.org  or 815-433-5830 if your community needs assistance applying for these programs.   

Grant Opportunities

Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program    

Start planning now!  The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will be accepting applications for the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP) from October 2 – December 1, 2017.  The program provides funding to complete transportation infrastructure projects.

Proposed projects must be related to surface transportation, expand transportation choices, and enhance the transportation experience.  The program has several project categories including the following:

  1. Pedestrian/bicycle facilities.
  2. Landscape/streetscape and other scenic beautification.
  3. Conversion of abandoned railroad corridors to trails.
  4. Historic preservation and rehabilitation of historic transportation facilities.
  5. Vegetation management practices in transportation rights-of-way.
  6. Archeological activities relating to impacts from implementation of a transportation project.
  7. Storm water management, control and water pollution prevention or abatement related to highway construction or due to highway runoff.
  8. Reduce vehicle-caused wildlife mortality or restore and maintain connectivity among terrestrial or aquatic habitats.
  9. Construction of turnouts, overlooks, and viewing areas.

Applicants may apply for up to $2 million. This is a reimbursable match program funded 80% federally and 20% locally for most projects.  Street lighting and land acquisition will be 50% federally-funded. It is a highly-competitive program.

The program is federally-funded through the 2015 transportation bill, “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act” (FAST ACT).

For more information, please visit http://www.idot.illinois.gov/transportation-system/local-transportation-partners/county-engineers-and-local-public-agencies/funding-opportunities/ITEP.

Application Deadline: December 1, 2017

The Home Depot Community Impact Grants

The Home Depot supports volunteer efforts across the country to improve the physical health of neighborhoods and communities to create an environment where families can thrive.  The Community Impact Grants Program provides grants of up to $5,000 to 501c tax-exempt public service organizations that utilize volunteers to improve their community.  Grants are provided in the form of The Home Depot gift cards and can be used for the purchase of tools, materials, or services.

Proposals for the following community improvement activities will be considered:

  • Repairs, refurbishments, and modifications specific to ADA compliance or safety regulations to low-income and/or transitional housing, or community facilities (schools, community centers, senior centers, etc.)
  • Weatherizing or increasing energy efficiency of low-income and/or transitional housing, or community facilities
  • Engage community members as volunteers to help other veterans in their community through service projects focusing on the renovation, repair and improvement of homes and other properties:

For more information, please visit http://homedepotfoundation.org/page/applying-for-a-grant.

 Application Deadline: December 31, 2017

Federal Recreational Trails Program- Illinois Department of Natural Resources

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources administers the Federal Recreational Trails Program, a program funded by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).  The program provides up to 80 percent funding (20 percent non-federal match required) for the acquisition, development, rehabilitation, and maintenance of motorized and non-motorized recreational trails.  The maximum grant award for non-motorized projects is $200,000.  There is not a maximum grant award amount for motorized projects.  Highest priority projects will be those that promote the development or enhancement of the Grand Illinois Trail, which runs through several communities in NCICG’s region, (see map below) and the American Discovery Trail.

This is a reimbursement program.  While this is a federal program, the State of Illinois cannot award grants until a state budget is approved.  For more information, visit https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/AEG/Pages/FederalRecreationalTrailsProgram.aspx.

Application Deadline: April 3, 2017

Lending Tree $50,000 Cash Prize Contest for Small Businesses

Lending Tree, a loan provider, is accepting applications from small businesses to have the opportunity to win $50,000 in cash to overcome financial obstacles and expand. Applicants are required to provide an explanation the business’ activities, financial obstacles, and impact they have had in their community. For rules and eligibility requirements, please visit https://www.lendingtree.com/info/business-grant-terms. To submit an application, please visit https://www.lendingtree.com/about/business-grant/registration.

Application Deadline: January 15, 2017  

Five Star Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Wildlife Habitat Council in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, USDA Forest Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, FedEx, Southern Company and Alcoa Foundation are soliciting applications for the 2017 Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program. The program aims to build stewardship of local natural resources, encourage preservation, and enhance habitat for wildlife. The focus of the program is on ecological improvements, wildlife conservation, and water quality. Restoration of coastal, wetland, and riparian ecosystems is a priority. Applicants must establish or enhance diverse partnerships, commit to educational and outreach activities, and note measureable benefits. Average grants are $30,000. Applicants must be 501c (3) organizations, state government agencies, municipal governments, Indian Tribes, or educational institutions. For more information, please visit http://www.nfwf.org/fivestar/Pages/2017rfp.aspx.

Application Deadline: January 31, 2017

 K-12 Solar Schools Grant – Illinois Clean Energy Foundation

The Illinois Clean Energy Foundation is accepting applications from Illinois K-12 public schools to provide up to $6,700 funding for the purchase and installation of solar energy systems. The on-site systems show students how solar energy is converted to electricity through hand-on learning. Installation coordination, real-time monitoring, and curricular support are provided with the grant. For more information, please visit http://www.illinoiscleanenergy.org/energy-program/k-12-solar-schools.

Application Deadline: February 16, 2017

FY 2016 Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response Grants – FEMA (Application Opening Soon)

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency is now accepting applications for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants. For FY 2016, $345 million has been made available by Congress to provide financial assistance to retain and to increase trained frontline firefighters in communities. The purpose of SAFER is to ensure fire departments meet national staffing standards and have 24-staffing to protect their communities. For more information, please visit https://www.fema.gov/staffing-adequate-fire-emergency-response-grants.

Application Deadline: Not Yet Announced

Big Read Program – grant opportunity for local community orgs

Is your community focused on youth engagement and adult literacy, or building civic cohesion? The NEA Big Read is a program that might be a great fit to complement your work. The program supports approximately 75 community reading programs every year, each designed around a single book in the NEA Big Read library, with themes such as racism, immigration, multiculturalism, work, art, family relationships, and surviving an apocalypse. Grants range from $5,000-$20,000.

Eligible applicants include arts centers, housing authorities, literary centers, community organizations, historical societies, environmental organizations, trade associations, resettlement agencies, faith-based organizations, museums, school districts, and tribal governments. Grantees are provided with resources, outreach materials, and training on various aspects such as working with local partners, developing public relations strategies, and leading book discussions and Q&As. Guidelines for 2017-18 are now available. Join us for a public webinar about the books on November 16th, at 3 pm ET.

Please share far and wide with your local partners. Feel free to reach out to us at the NEA with any further questions about the program!

Jennifer Hughes
Community Solutions Specialist
National Endowment for the Arts
400 7th Street
Washington, DC 20506
hughesj@arts.gov / 202-682-5547 (p) / 202-682-5721 (fax)
Celebrating the NEA’s 50th Anniversary at arts.gov/50th.

Illinois Housing Development Authority Abandoned Properties Program (APP) – Round 2 Funding

The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) is pleased to announce that applications for Round 2 of the Abandoned Properties Program (APP) are now being accepted. Under this program, IHDA will make grants to municipalities and counties for securing, rehabilitating (exterior), maintaining, or demolishing abandoned residential properties within their jurisdiction. Funds will be distributed throughout the state geographically as determined by the enabling legislation. To be eligible, applicants must be a municipality or a county located in the State of Illinois. The maximum grant award will be $75,000. Grants will be awarded for future expenses and for prior expenses that occurred after January 1, 2015.

Applications will be ranked according to:

  • Need- Have abandoned properties placed a burden on the jurisdiction?
  • Capacity- Does the jurisdiction have the ability to properly administer the grant?
  • Impact- How will the jurisdiction benefit from receiving this grant? Does the community have an existing revitalization program in place?
  • Budget/Cost Effectiveness- Is there a complete and cost-effective budget for the project?
  • Project Readiness

The highest ranking applications in each geographic set-aside will be awarded until funds are exhausted. Applications are available at: https://www.ihda.org/my-community/revitalization-programs/.

An informational webinar about the program will be held on Wednesday, September 28, at 10:00 a.m.  Please contact NCICG for more information.

Deadline: October 14, 2016

Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG): U.S. Department of Homeland Security

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFA) for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program which provides funding to fire departments, non-affiliated Emergency Medical Service (EMS) organizations, and state fire training activities. The AFG program funds three activities: Operations and Safety, Vehicle Acquisition, and Regional Projects. The purpose of the program is to protect the public, foster interoperability, and support community resilience. Eligible entities may apply for up to $1 million. A cost share of up to 15% is required. Financial need/distress must be demonstrated. For more information visit: http://www.fema.gov/welcome-assistance-firefighters-grant-program.

Deadline: November 18, 2016

Spirit of Blue Foundation Safety Equipment and Training Grants

The Spirit of Blue Foundation is dedicated to protecting law enforcement agencies on all levels by ensuring access to equipment and training.  By working with corporate sponsors, the foundation has provided grants that have served a variety of law enforcement needs including, but not limited to trauma kits, ballistic vests and helmets, the purchase of a new K9, and dialogue training to aid officers in interacting with minority youth.  For more information about the foundation and this grant, please visit http://www.spiritofblue.com/grants/.

Deadline: Ongoing

Our Town: Arts Engagement, Cultural Planning, and Design Projects Grant

The National Endowment for the Arts is accepting grant applications to fund collaborative projects between non-profit cultural organizations and local governments. The projects must address community priorities such as public safety, health, blight and vacancy, environment, job creation, equity, local business development, civic participation, and/or community cohesion. Projects may include arts engagement, cultural planning, and design projects. The goal of the grant program is to improve the livability of communities through creative placemaking. Local governments and 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for up to $200,000 in funding. For more information, please visit https://www.arts.gov/grants-organizations/our-town/introduction.

Deadline: September 12, 2016

Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation Grants

The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation is now accepting applications for the following programs: Capacity Building, Planning for Land Acquisition, and Land Acquisition.

Capacity Building: Grants are awarded to help increase the organizational capacity of non-for-profit organizations that work to protect natural areas and wildlife habitat in Illinois. Eligible applicants may apply for up to $40,000 for 2-year grant project.

Planning for Land Acquisition: Grants are awarded to map acquisition priorities, divide responsibilities, and to develop strategies that will protect natural areas and wildlife habitat in Illinois.

Land Acquisition: Grants are provided to 501(c)(3) non-for-profit organizations and local government agencies to purchase wildlife habitat and natural areas in Illinois. Eligible applicants may apply for up to 80% of direct costs of the land and up to $10,000 for restoration activities to be completed within the first year.

For more information visit: http://www.illinoiscleanenergy.org/natural-areas-program

Deadline: July 1, 2016

 U.S. EPA Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Grant

The United States Environmental Protection Agency is soliciting requests for proposals (RFPs) from eligible entities “to conduct research and/or technical assistance activities that culminate in an area-wide plan for brownfields assessment, cleanup, and subsequent reuse.” Funds will be awarded for specific high-priority brownfield sites. Cities, counties, states, tribes, and non-for-profit organizations are eligible to apply. Applicants are eligible for up to $200,000. For more information visit: https://www.epa.gov/grants/fy2017-brownfields-area-wide-planning-grant.

Deadline: August 10, 2016

PeopleForBikes: Bicycle Infrastructure and Advocacy

PeopleForBikes is a coalition of bicycling suppliers and retailers as well as a charitable foundation that is dedicated to making bicycling better. The organization is offering grants of up to $10,000 to non-for-profit organizations and government agencies to provide infrastructure that will make it easier for all people to ride bicycles in their communities. Projects may include, but are not limited to bike paths, lanes, trails, bridges, racks, parking, and storage. Grants may also be used to programs and initiatives that transform city streets and promote ridership. This is a match program. Grant funding cannot equal 50% or more of the total project cost. For more information visit: http://www.peopleforbikes.org/pages/grant-guidelines.

Letter of Intent Deadline: July 29, 2016

Environmental Justice Grants – USEPA 

The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Justice invites Requests for Proposals to receive funds that will help communities address environmental issues.  The intent of the Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) program is to help communities, through a collaborative process with stakeholders, address local environmental and other public health issues.  Grants of up to $120,000 will be awarded in the form of cooperative agreements. Non-for-profit organizations, tribal governments, and Native American Organizations are eligible to apply.  For more information visit: http://www3.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/grants/ej-cps-grants.html.

Application deadline: February 12, 2016

Walmart Foundation – State Giving Program

The Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program works to create opportunities to help people live better.  Organizations with 501(c)(3) status are eligible to apply.  Organizations requesting funds must be serving low-income and underserved populations.  Funds are available to support hunger relief and healthy eating, career opportunity, disaster preparedness, and other programs that assist underserved low-income populations.  For more information visit: http://corporate.walmart.com/_foundation_/apply-for-grants/state-giving-program.

Application Deadline: Varies by state and program funding request. Please visit their website.

Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program

The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities is seeking applications for the Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program.  The program’s goal is to accelerate the protection of healthy, freshwater ecosystems and their watersheds.  Grants will be awarded to fund key protection projects, build sustainable organizational infrastructure, social support, and for projects that will advance watershed protection.  A webinar will be held on January 26, 206 to learn about the program.  For more information visit: http://www.usendowment.org/images/2016_HWC_Webinar.pdf.

Application Deadline: March 14, 2016

Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support

The Substance Abuse & Mental Health services Administration offers grants through the Drug-Free Communities Support Program to establish and strengthen collaboration among communities, public and private non-profit agencies, and federal, state, local, and tribal governments to prevent and reduce substance abuse among youth.  Grants are awarded to community-based coalitions that are working to address youth substance abuse.  Other entities, organizations, and state and local governments are eligible to apply.  Grant requests must not exceed $125,000.  For more information visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/Drug-Free-Communities-Support-Program.

Application Deadline: March 18, 2016

National Trust Preservation Funds

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is seeking applications for grants ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 to USA member nonprofit organizations to support planning and educational preservation efforts.  Project priority areas include building sustainable communities, re-imagining historic sites, promoting diversity and place, and protecting historic places on public lands.  Grants are for planning and educational activities only and cannot be used for construction activities.  For more information visit: http://www.preservationnation.org/resources/find-funding/preservation-funds-guidelines-eligibility.html#Application.

Application Deadline: February 2, 2016

 Gro1000 Grassroots Grants

Scotts Miracle-Gro provides grants of up to $1,500 to nonprofit organizations, universities, government agencies, and school districts to plant public greenspaces, edible gardens, and to pollinator habitats in neighborhoods throughout the US.  For more information visit: http://scottsmiraclegro.com/the-power-of-greenspace/.

 Application Deadline: February 22, 2016  

Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program: Application Period Opens December 7, 2015

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) award grants to fire departments and non-affiliated emergency medical service organizations across the U.S. annually. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program offers grants for equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources.  The application period will begin on December 7, 2015 and end on January 15, 2016 at 5:00 P.M. EST. Be ready to apply by reviewing the grant application guidelines and checklist now available on FEMA’s website.  To find out if your project is eligible and to find out more about the program, please visit: Assistance to Firefighters Grant

Application Deadline: January 15, 2016 at 5:00 P.M. EST 

Project Orange Thumb Garden Grant 

Fiskars Brands, Inc. is providing grants of $3,500 ($1,500 in-kind) to schools, municipalities, and nonprofit organizations to help communities beautify neighborhoods, strengthen community collaboration, and create sustainable food sources.  Grants are provided to plant new gardens and to expand existing gardens in new space.  For more information, please visit: Project Orange Thumb

Application Deadline: October 28, 2016 (Note: There is a pre-application that must be filed). 

Kars4Kids Grants 

Kars4Kids, the nonprofit organization with the catchy jingle “1-877 Kars4Kids,” supports educational initiatives around the world through the Kars4Kids Small Grant Program.  The organization offers grants ranging from $500 – $2,000 to USA and Canada nonprofits to support educational and youth development.  Grants have been provided to support youth mentorship, cultural events, extracurricular programs, etc.  Only 501(c)(3) nonprofits are eligible to apply. For more information, please visit: Kars4Kids Grants

Application Deadline: Ongoing

U.S. EPA Brownfield Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grants

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is offering grants to eligible applicants (states, communities, tribes, and non-profits) to “prevent, inventory, assess, clean up and reuse brownfield sites.”  Three (3) types of grants will be funded under the agency’s Brownfields Program including: Brownfields Assessment Grants, Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Grants, and Brownfields Cleanup Grants.  The amount of funding that can be requested varies by grant.   For more information about these grant opportunities, visit http://www2.epa.gov/brownfields/new-request-proposals-fy-2016-brownfields-assessment-revolving-loan-fund-and-cleanup.

Application Deadline (for all three (3) grants) is December 18, 2015.

Municipal Greenscapes Grants

Scotts Miracle-Gro and the United States Conference of Mayors are promoting the addition and expansion of greenscapes across the country.  To that end, the organizations have developed Gro1000, a program to provide municipalities funding to add or expand a public garden, edible garden, or other green space in their community.  Focus areas of the program include Outdoor Play, Urban Revitalization, Nature Gardens, and Food Deserts.  Four (4) communities will be awarded $40,000 in funds and Miracle-Gro products over three (3) years.  For more information, visit http://scottsmiraclegro.com/the-power-of-greenspace/.

Application Deadline: November 23, 2015

Rural Community Design Workshops

Rural communities with populations under 50,000 are eligible to apply for the Citizen’s Institute of Rural Design (CIRD) to host a community workshop to build their design capacity.  Six (6) small towns or rural communities will receive 2.5 day workshop valued at $35,000.  For more information, visit http://www.rural-design.org/apply.

Application Deadline: January 12, 2016

Spirit of Blue Foundation Safety Equipment and Training Grants

The Spirit of Blue Foundation is dedicated to protecting law enforcement agencies on all levels by ensuring access to equipment and training.  By working with corporate sponsors, the foundation has provided grants that have served a variety of law enforcement needs including, but not limited to trauma kits, ballistic vests and helmets, the purchase of a new K9, and dialogue training to aid officers in interacting with minority youth.  For more information about the foundation and this grant, please visit http://www.spiritofblue.com/.

Application Deadline: Ongoing

Illinois Buffer Partnership

Trees Forever is a non-profit environmental group that connects people to the environment through volunteer planting events of trees, prairies, and natural areas.  The organization works with local landowners who are willing to plant strips of native trees and plant species on their land to improve water quality.  Plantings stabilize the soil, reduce erosion, improve permeability, reduce the ability of invasive species from establishing a foothold, and provide critical habitat for wildlife.  Landowners with a stream or body of water on their property are eligible to apply.  For landowners and farmers that participate in the federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the Illinois Buffer Partnership provides reimbursement of costs up to 2,000 or 50% of the remaining costs after CRP or other federal, state, or local funding has been provided.  All other applicants must have a minimum total project cost of $4,000.  For more information visit http://www.treesforever.org/Illinois_Buffer_Partnership.

Application Deadline: December 31, 2015. 

Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program: Application Opening Soon!

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) award grants to fire departments and non-affiliated emergency medical service organizations across the U.S. annually. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program offers grants for equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources.  The application period is expected to open soon.  Be ready to apply by reviewing the grant application guidelines and checklist now available on FEMA’s website.  To find out if your project is eligible and to find out more about the program, please visit:Assistance to Firefighters Grant

Application Deadline: TBA

Grants for Outdoor Music Series

Levitt Pavilions is a national non-for-profit organization that provides free concert series across America.  The organization is providing 10 grants in the amount of $25,000 to put on concerts between April – November 2016 in 10 lucky cities.  Municipalities must partner with a 501(c)3 non-profit organization to apply.  All concerts are to be outdoors at an accessible location without fixed seating.  Concerts are to be free to the public.  There is a $20,000 match required to receive the grant.  $10,000 may be considered an in-kind match.  The municipality must have a track record of hosting professional quality concerts or community events.  For more information, visit https://www.levittpavilions.org/.

Application Deadline: October 15, 2015 

Capacity Building Grants for Volunteer Non-Profits that Care for Public Lands 

Public Lands Every Day: A National Environmental Education Foundation Program with support from Toyota is offering up to twenty-five (25) $5,000 grants to strengthen the capacity of 501(c)3 organizations who have a mission to serve public lands.  The organization must have an established relationship with the public land site (federal, state, regional, county, city, or other public land areas) for at least one year.  For more information, visit http://www.publiclandseveryday.org/grants/capacity-building-grants.

Application Deadline: October 30, 2015

Grants to Plant a Community Orchard 

The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation offers grants to non-profit organization, non-governmental organizations, public schools, and government entities to partner with the Foundation to plant fruit trees and plants where produced fruits will best serve the community.  Trees, shrubs, equipment, and expertise will be provided by the Foundation. An educational component will also take part on planting day.  The recipient must be committed to the long-term care of the orchard and fulfill its charitable mission.  The site must be horticulturally appropriate to host the orchard.  For more information, visit http://www.ftpf.org/apply.htm.

Application Deadline: Ongoing

Grants to Promote Environmental Responsibility and Sustainability 

The Cornell Douglas Foundation is a non-profit foundation established in 2006 to provide small grants to organizations that advocate for the care, health, stewardship, and sustainability of the environment.  The Foundation offers $10,000 grants to 501(c)3 organizations that believe in these causes.  For more information, visit http://www.cornelldouglas.org/about.

Application Deadline: Ongoing 

Firefighters Charitable Foundation 

The Firefighters Charitable Foundation offers grants used to assist victims of fires and disasters, for fire prevention education, fire department equipment, and community safety programs. Most grants awarded are under $1,000. Grants are available for implementing an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) program, for the purchase of fire department equipment, for implementing a smoke detector/battery replacement program in a community, and for starting up a program for the prevention and intervention of setting fires by juveniles. To apply visit: http://www.ffcf.org/phpforms/grantform.php and contact NCICG (815) 433-5830. 

Applications accepted on an ongoing basis. 


The OSLAD program provides funding assistance to local government agencies for acquisition and /or development of land for public parks and open space.

Eligible Activities include:

Acquisition of land for new park sites or park expansion, water frontage, nature study, and natural resource preservation.

Development/Renovation of:

  • picnic and playground facilities;
  • outdoor nature interpretive facilities;
  • sports courts and play fields;
  • swimming pools, beaches and bathhouses;
  • campgrounds and fishing piers;
  • winter sports facilities;
  • park roads and paths, parking, utilities and restrooms; and
  • architectural/engineering (A/E) services necessary for proper design and construction of

approved project components.

What are the funding limits? 

Maximum grant funding for an approved acquisition project is limited to $750,000 and approved development projects are limited to $400,000. The OSLAD program will cover up to 50% of approved project costs. It is a reimbursable grant program. The community must be able to fund the entire project and be reimbursed upon project completion.

How can I receive more information regarding the OSLAD grant program?

Contact NCICG at (815) 433-5830 or

By contacting DNR’s Division of Grant Administration: (217) 782-7481, or e-mail:


On the web at: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/grants/Pages/default.aspx