Over the next three years (2020-2022), Illinois Humanities will commission local artists and humanists to create new work that responds to and grapples with mass incarceration in impacted communities and will develop an interactive digital tool that people throughout the state can use to spark conversation, exploration, and action within their own communities.

Grantmaking is a critical component of Envisioning Justice. Through the Envisioning Justice grants program, Illinois Humanities plans to partner with groups throughout the state to use the arts and humanities to spark statewide conversations about the impact of mass incarceration as well as to envision a truly just society.

ENVISIONING JUSTICE GRANTS will support projects that:

  • spark dialogue about the impacts of mass incarceration on Illinois communities
  • offer public programming with a particular focus on the experiences and points of view of system-impacted individuals and communities
  • aim to shift the narrative around mass incarceration by connecting the arts and humanities with public policy
  • aid in network-building and nurturing partnerships amongst groups and individuals working to envision and actualize a truly just society.

The three grant categories support work happening at the local, grassroots level in the arts, humanities, and related areas, as well as by policy and other groups that harness the arts and humanities to explore fresh ideas. We look forward to seeing proposals from organizations of any size.




What is the grant application process?

The process is relatively straightforward. Simply submit an application using the form for the Envisioning Justice grant category you are interested in applying for. You will be asked to describes who you are, what you plan to do, how you plan to carry it out, and how support from Illinois Humanities would help make it possible. We encourage you to contact us with questions or ideas well before the stated grant deadlines.

How long will projects be given?

Illinois Humanities is flexible about this. In general, Illinois Humanities grants are paid out in one payment, and are active for one year. However, we are happy to discuss possibilities with you if an extension is required.

Is this a one-time grants program?

These are one-time grants. Illinois Humanities intends to offer Envisioning Justice grants again in 2021, and applicants are welcome to submit additional or repeat proposals again at that time.

Can we apply to more than one of the Envisioning Justice grant categories?

Yes, you can apply to more than one category, however, you will only be awarded one grant. Also, please be sure to pay attention to the geographic requirements for the Envisioning Justice Place-Based Grants and Justice Dialogue Grants. However, organizations from the specific communities for these grants are encouraged to apply for Envisioning Justice Action Grants for larger projects requiring more than $2,500 in funding support.

If you are interested in learning more about the grants categories, the type of work that will be funded, and completing an application reach out to Tyreece Williams, Project Manager, Envisioning Justice, at

Please sign-up for the Envisioning Justice Digest and the Illinois Humanities newsletter to get the latest updates about Envisioning Justice and our other programs and grant opportunities.

You can see past Envisioning Justice grantee projects here.