Illinois Humanities Awards Over $55,000 in Grant Funding to 21 Organizations and Individuals

Kuumba Lynx We Fly

by Illinois Humanities

Read Time 5 minutes
April 23, 2024

Twelve organizations across seven counties in Illinois received grant funding through our Vision and Action Grants for their exceptional project proposals that utilize the humanities as a tool to engage their communities; amounting to a total of $47,450.  

Illinois Humanities also awarded $7,750 in Activate History Microgrants to nine organizations and individuals across six counties. These grants support groups and individuals working with archival materials to engage audiences with historical content. 

Meet our 21 latest grantee partners! 

Vision and Action Grants

Illinois Humanities awarded 12 Action and Vision Grants to nonprofit organizations for their creative programming initiatives that meet their communities’ diverse needs—these grants celebrate bold projects that harness the humanities in innovative ways. One Vision Grant was awarded for the organization’s pursuit of improved strategic planning and operations. 

This impressive group of grantee partners includes performing arts groups, LGBTQ+ healthcare facilitators, historical societies, and more. Their missions range from providing access to trained life coaches for young adults, to increasing representation of Pan-Asian, North African, and Muslim experiences in the arts.  

Check out our grantee partners’ projects below. Among them are several workshop series that explore storytelling, visual art, and cultural awareness for a variety of age groups. Multiple organizations are also funding the production of documentary films and podcasts.

Silk Road Cultural Center

Theatre performance by Silk Road Cultural Center

All grantee partner below received Action Grants, with the exception of one Vision Grant, noted with an asterisk* 

  • ¡Anímate! Studio (Chicago) for “Unearthing Layers, Connecting Stories,” which brings together Southwest Side residents to witness, respond to, and connect with each other through creative writings by community-based authors.  
  • Howard Brown Health (Chicago) for “Artful Aging: Sharing the Stories of LGBTQ+ History and Resilience,” eight-week sessions that engage LGBTQ elders with artistic and humanistic expressions.  
  • Narratives QC (Rock Island) for “Second Annual Creative Arts Showcase,” an event where participants will share poetry and self-expression learned from a series of Spoken Word workshops. 
  • Parole Illinois (Chicago) for “Extreme Sentencing in Illinois,” a dozen or more high-quality, graphic zines each covering a sentencing policy to explain the history of mass incarceration in Illinois.  
  • Johnson County Genealogical & Historical Society (Vienna) for “History Goes Virtual in Johnson County,” 15 documentary virtual exhibitions featuring its collection accompanied by historian commentary. 
  • Dwight Historical Society (Dwight) for “Digital Asset Production,” an initiative to expand its digital archive, enhance user experience, and produce a video documenting the history of the town.  
  • The HUB Arts & Cultural Center* (Rushville) for “3 Year Strategic Plan,” which will aid operations and support its robust, all-ages programming. 
  • Kuumba Lynx (Chicago) for “We Fly 2.0,” a multimedia poetry and literacy program for students in grades 3-12 featuring 14 interactive poetry-making installations.  (Featured image: Kuumba Lynx Performer Photo by Eric Michael Clarke, eClark Photo) 
  • Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community (Chicago) for “Creating Our Cultural Stories,” a youth storytelling course and showcase led by storyteller Dr. Ada Cheng.  
  • Elmhurst Art Museum (Elmhurst) for “Muses: An Evening of Jazz,” a curated event of jazz, poetry, and nostalgia that explores the inspirations behind the exhibit, A Love Supreme, a series of works by 35 BIPOC artists and designers.  
  • Gilloury Institute DBA Silk Road Cultural Center (Chicago) for “Polycultural Storytelling Workshops,” four-session programs that center the flexibility of racial and ethnic identities and underline the intricate ties between different communities. 
  • DeKalb County History Center (Sycamore) for “Food: Gathering Around the Table,” five podcasts exploring the theme of food: including rural restaurants, Potawatomi foodways, food trucks, food insecurity, and Latino food.  

Activate History Microgrants

Activate History Microgrants support the preservation and promotion of archival collections through funding groups’ and individuals’ project-specific proposals. By design, these grants take a wide approach to defining what an archive might consist of. The aim of Activate History Microgrants is to allow wider audiences of all ages throughout the state to engage with local history in creative ways. 

This group of 9 organizations and individuals includes film curators, anthropologists, community centers, and more. Their projects seek to document and share vital pieces of history that are overlooked or inaccessible to the greater public—whether they be oral histories, scientific studies, or historic photos and film. 

WCHS archival photo

Winnebago Community Historical Society (WCHS) archival photo

Illinois Humanities is proud to support this latest group of grantee partners.

Action and Vision Grants are offered twice a year, and applications reopen shortly after each application cycle ends. The next deadline is May 15, 2024. Learn more about eligibility, guidelines, and how to submit your work for consideration here

Activate History Microgrants are offered twice a year, and applications reopen immediately after the close of each cycle. The next deadline is September 3, 2024. Learn more about eligibility, guidelines, and how to submit your work for consideration here