Funds will support local organizations operating on smaller budgets in communities heavily affected by violence, criminal justice system overuse, and economic deprivation
CHICAGO— Using revenue from adult-use, recreational cannabis sales, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) today announced $45 million in grant funding that will support 148 programs run by organizations in communities hardest hit by the failed war on drugs.
“A modern and equitable cannabis industry requires equity, opportunity, and a robust investment in righting the wrongs of the war on drugs,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “That means investing in our underserved communities who’ve gone far too long without the funding and resources they need and deserve to heal and prosper. We’re proud to use cannabis revenue to directly support community-based organizations invested in creating opportunity.”
The grants are part of the R3 Program, created as a key equity element of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act signed by Governor Pritzker in 2019. The law requires using 25 percent of all cannabis tax revenue to support communities hurt by economic disinvestment, violence, and the severe and disproportionate damage caused by the war on drugs. These issues largely impact low-income Illinoisans and communities of color.
“Illinois is showing what it looks like to work toward repairing the harm impacting our communities, by continuing to build the infrastructure that addresses decades of disinvestment, over-incarceration, and trauma,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “As a tool connecting communities to the resources they need equitably and sustainably, R3 is at the core of our efforts to bring restorative, healing solutions to the people and regions that have for too long been unheard and underserved.”
The funds will be administered in the 2023 calendar year and include approximately $40.5 million to support agencies providing service delivery and $4.5 million to support community planning and capacity building for future R3 funding.
ICJIA received 512 completed applications, which were reviewed by community residents and other stakeholders. All reviewers received implicit bias training and training on application review.
In response to feedback received after the last round of R3 grants was completed, the application included questions designed to build equity in grant distribution. Applicants received additional points for agency leadership that represented the communities they served, program responsiveness to local issues, and community success stories.
Grassroot organizations with operating budgets of less than $2 million were prioritized during this round to ease funding access. This priority helped level the playing field with larger organizations that are heavily resourced to apply for and access funding.
“R3 is about equity, investing in all of our communities, and making sure all service organizations large and small become equipped to create innovative programs and strategies that address the diverse needs of their communities and build a safer Illinois,” said ICJIA Executive Director Delrice Adams. “These organizations share the common goals of diminishing violence and providing economic advancements to as many individuals within Illinois as possible. Their efforts will provide opportunity through constructive programming and innovative activities.”
To build capacity within smaller organizations, ICJIA also offered several training webinars on the application process, creating a budget, how to use the grant application system, and other topics. In addition, once organizations are awarded funding, ICJIA offers immediate administrative support to help new grantees successfully manage their grants and realize their visions of addressing community needs with their programs.
Funded programs will offer evidence-based, promising, or innovative practices within the R3 Program Priority Areas of civil legal aid, economic development, community re-entry from the criminal justice system, violence prevention, and youth development.