Loves Park Pulse, 2020 Neighborhood Grants Recipients

Neighborhood Grants

Grant Information Grant Status: Closed Applications Open: March 1, 2021 Applications Close: April 19, 2021 Awards Announced: May 2021 Learn How to Register & Apply

The Neighborhood Grants Program exists to:

  • Encourage and support the work of neighborhood-based groups and organizations trying to preserve and/or improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods;
  • Promote resident participation and leadership in neighborhood-based groups/organizations;
  • Invest in and build on the existing strengths and assets of the region’s neighborhoods; and
  • Promote civic pride in our community.

The Neighborhood Grants Program is a collaborative grant making effort of CFNIL and NW Homestart.

HomeStart Logo     CFNIL Logo

View an informational webinar to learn more about Neighborhood Grants!

In advance of the opening of the 2021 Neighborhood Grants Program application, CFNIL and HomeStart staff provided an informative webinar to share more about these grants as well as other resources that are available to support neighborhood organizations. View a recording of the webinar at the bottom of this page.



2021 Neighborhood Grant Recipients: Neighbors strengthening neighborhoods. Neighborhoods strengthening communities.

2021 Neighborhood Grant Recipients

The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois and NW HomeStart are proud to announce the recipients of the 2021 Neighborhood Grants Program. The grants will be awarded to 12 neighborhood organizations working to improve the quality of life in their communities. The grants are worth $22,000. 

Meet the 2021 Neighborhood Grant Recipients

Applications for the Neighborhood Grants Program will be accepted from March 1 to April 19, 2021. Applications must be submitted through CFNIL’s Online Application Portal. View the application questions and work on your submission offline using the Word document version of the application:

Application Questions

This webpage reflects the 2021 Neighborhood Grants Program guidelines, which may found condensed into one document here:

Grant Guidelines

To be eligible for funding, an applicant must:

  • Be a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, not-for-profit agency and/or an organized group carrying out a charitable purpose for the common good (e.g., neighborhood organizations);
  • Have a minimum of three active leaders (e.g., President, Treasurer, Secretary, etc.);
  • Have an established process to manage grant funds, including a current checking account in the name of the organization/group;
  • Be operated and organized so that there is no discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, veteran’s status, disability, or any other factor prohibited by applicable law;
  • Be a neighborhood or neighborhood-based organization that is located within Boone, Ogle, Stephenson or Winnebago County;
  • Have a plan to implement a project that will benefit residents of a defined geographic area;
  • Have the capacity to complete the proposed project by the end of the year; and
  • Be current on all final reports for previously awarded grants from the Neighborhood Grants Program.

Projects that:

  • Are generated, led, and executed by residents of the neighborhood to the extent possible;
  • Build on the assets existing in the neighborhood, including using the skills of residents, involving youth or working with an existing neighborhood group; and
  • Encourage partnerships between residents, businesses, non-profits and institutions (e.g., schools) within the neighborhood.

The maximum amount granted by the Neighborhood Grants Program is $2,500.

  • Resident-Focused Seminars
  • Community Gardens
  • Organizing & Newsletters
  • Reforestation Projects*
  • Neighborhood Clean Ups
  • Neighborhood Activities & Surveys
  • Crime Prevention
  • Beautification Projects*

*Beautification Projects

  • Permanent fixtures (i.e., trash receptacles, planters) must be installed on public property or common areas.
  • Landscape projects must be permanent improvements to the area (i.e., shrubs, trees, perennials).
  • Landscape projects must have a maintenance plan (i.e., watering, weeding).

*Reforesting Neighborhoods: Trees can only be planted on public or common areas (not on private property).


  • If requesting funds for a project similar to previously funded projects, you will need to provide a sustainability plan for future years.
  • If there is a potential that your project would be impacted by COVID-19 mitigation requirements, the applicant should make note of what modifications will be made to ensure the project will comply with local health department mandates in order to provide a safe experience for any and all participants. As it is impossible to anticipate what mitigations may be in place throughout 2021, we encourage all applicants to consider what modifications might be appropriate for their project and make note of this within their application. 

Grants are not made from the Neighborhood Grants Program for the following:

  • Landscaping private property
  • Refreshments for neighborhood meetings
  • Entertainment
  • Activities that primarily benefit non-resident organizations including nonprofit and for-profit organizations
  • Projects and programs that promote a religion or require participation in a religious activity as a condition for receiving services. However, grants may be made to faith-based organizations for other purposes.

Neighborhood Grant applicants should use this budget template when submitting their application:

Budget Template for Neighborhood Grants

Budget Template Example

Sample Budget Narrative

Grant recipients will be asked to complete an online Final Report by December 31st of the funded year. Past grant recipients will be excluded from future grant consideration if the final report has not been submitted for prior funding.

The online Final Report form is available soon after award notification and submitted via CFNIL’s online grants portal. You can access the Final Report Form from the Applicant Dashboard within your portal account. Contact Program Director James Patterson with any questions, or (779) 210-8206.


Screenshot of the grant applicant's Applicant Dashboard with red circle around blue link "Edit"

Applications for the Neighborhood Grants Program will be accepted from March 1 to April 19, 2021. Applications must be submitted through CFNIL’s Online Application Portal.

Please Note: CFNIL has moved to a new online application portal since the previous Neighborhood Grants cycle. Even if you have submitted an application for a Neighborhood Grant in the past, if you have not yet used the new portal you will need to create a new account. Please follow the instructions on the portal login page to create your account. If you need more help creating your account or utilizing the portal, visit our Grant Resources page or contact James Patterson, CFNIL Program Director, at 779-210-8206 or

The Neighborhood Grants Program awards travel grants for individuals to attend the Community Leadership Institute, a three-day training event that aims to strengthen the voices and skills of community, resident, and volunteer leaders. To learn more, visit NW HomeStart’s website.

Question about the Neighborhood Grants program should be directed to Janessa Wilkins, HomeStart, at 815-962-2011 or

Questions about the Web Portal (online application) should be directed to CFNIL Program Director James Patterson.

James Patterson
James Patterson
Program Director
Phone: 779-210-8206
Email: James Patterson
This video provides more information about Neighborhood Grants, including a history of the program, details about the new online application, and the types of projects that are a good fit. It was recorded on February 18, 2021, in advance of the opening of the 2021 Neighborhood Grants Application. The application will be open from March 1 - April 5, 2021.