Take Advantage of Funding Opportunities!

Does your organization want to engage more in workforce development or energy efficiency, but you lack the funds to do so? The Ameren Illinois Energy Efficiency Market Development Initiative is partnering with the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC) to offer grant writing services for MDI Community Partners. Community-based organizations and Community Action Agencies who work with the Market Development Initiative are eligible to apply for this no-cost service.

We know grant applications take time and resources. The goal of this project is to lighten the load for our partner network while still helping you to pursue new opportunities that would benefit your organization and your clients.

Ameren Illinois Energy Efficiency Programs and SEDAC

Are you interested in grant writing services?

Here are the steps to get started:

  1. Identify a funding opportunity you would like to apply for. If you are not sure where to start, we have created a list of grant opportunities for you to choose from (scroll down below).
  2. Fill out this interest form to give us a general sense of your plan for the funding opportunity. What will you be proposing? The details will come later, but we want to see that you have an overall idea of what you are proposing.
  3. SEDAC will schedule an initial phone consultation to assess grant readiness.
  4. If the project is deemed eligible and “grant ready,” we will work with you to help you research, write, review, and submit the grant. SEDAC agrees to work with the organization for a 30-day time period to develop the grant.

What kind of funding is eligible?

Grant opportunities are available from a wide range of federal, state, regional, corporate, or foundation entities. To be eligible for this project, the funding opportunity must align with one or more of Ameren Illinois Energy Efficiency Market Development Initiative goals:

  1. To engage customers who have not previously benefited from energy efficiency programs (or other programs to improve the health, comfort, safety, and resilience of buildings)
  2. To increase the number of energy efficiency jobs available to local and diverse candidates
  3. To support new or growing energy efficiency businesses.

How do you determine if a project is ready?

The SEDAC team will review your interest form and make sure that the proposal aligns with the Ameren Illinois Market Development Initiative goals. During our initial consultation with you, we will discuss the following questions:

  • Organizational readiness. Is your organization in a position to apply for this grant and deliver the program? Do you have the staff capacity? Administrative or board approval? Experience in delivering similar projects/programs?
  • Project articulation. Do you have a clearly articulated project idea? The details don't need to be finalized, but you will need a clear idea of what you are proposing.
  • Funder fit. Does the project meet the stated focus areas and eligibility requirements of the funder? Is the project consistent with the funder's mission and goals?
  • External relationships. Does the project require partnerships with other organizations, and are these partnerships in place?

After the initial consultation, we will meet with our MDI advisory committee and determine if we should proceed with providing services.


Once we decide to move forward, we'll match you with one of our grant writers who has the skills and experience to assist you with your proposal. Here's our process.

  1. Assess: First, we'll look over any existing grant materials, the application and timeline to develop an overall timeline for the project.
  2. Research: Next, we'll work to fill any gaps in existing grant materials, doing additional research as needed.
  3. Write: Working closely with your team, we will assist with writing the grant application to fit the requirements.
  4. Review: We will review and finalize the grant, making sure it is accurate and responsive to the funder requirements.
  5.  Submit: You will submit the proposal.
  6. Follow-up: We will follow up at a determined date to find out if your project was funded, for reporting purposes.

Potential Funding Opportunities

Below we've listed some funding opportunities that your organizations may be interested in applying for. We will be updating this list every month.

Are you aware of a funding opportunity that we have not listed? Contact Linda Larsen at lflarsen@illinois.edu and we'll add this opportunity to our list. Thanks for helping us keep the list up to date!

Rebuild Illinois: Corridor Improvements for Rebuilding Distressed Communities

  • Funding organization: LISC Central Illinois/Chicago and Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives on behalf of IL DCEO
  • Description: Provides funding to rebuild businesses impacted by civil unrest during protests and demonstrations. The purpose is to repair and improve surrounding areas and increase economic opportunities for impacted businesses. Non-profits and community economic development organizations are eligible to apply for new capital improvement projects in areas where civil unrest occurred
  • Due date: 7 June 2021

Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Cooperative Agreement Program

  • Funding organization: EPA
  • Eligible entities: Community-based organizations, environmental justice networks, faith-based organizations, tribal governments
  • Max. funding per award: $160,000
  • Due date: May 7, 2021
  • Description: Provides financial assistance to eligible organizations working on or planning to work on projects to address local environmental and/or public health issues in their communities. The program assists recipients in building collaborative partnerships with other stakeholders (e.g., local businesses and industry, local government, medical service providers, academia, etc.) to develop solutions that will significantly address environmental and/or public health issue(s) at the local level.

Environmental Justice Small Grants Program

  • Funding organization: EPA
  • Eligible entities: Community-based organizations, environmental justice networks, faith-based organizations, tribal governments
  • Max. funding per award: $50,000
  • Due date: May 7, 2021
  • Description: The EJSG program awards grants that support community-driven projects designed to engage, educate, and empower communities to better understand local environmental and public health issues and develop strategies for addressing those issues, building consensus in the community, and setting community priorities. EPA anticipates awarding approximately 56 grants ( about 5 per EPA region) of up to $50,000 each. These grants are for one-year projects. This opportunity places special emphasis on projects focusing on COVID-19 impacts, as well as climate and disaster resiliency. Additionally, EPA is emphasizing projects addressing diesel pollution in underserved communities living near ports and railyards as part of EPA’s Ports Initiative. Finally, to promote equitable accessibility to EPA grant funding and to assist small entities, approximately half of the total available funding under this announcement is intended to be reserved for small non-profit organizations as defined in the announcement.

Veteran Housing Grants Program

  • Funding organization: Home Depot Foundation
  • Description: Supports new construction or rehabilitation of multi-family, permanent supportive housing for veterans. Covers physical construction costs. At least 20% of housing units must be reserved for veterans, and the target population must be at or below 80% AMI.
  • Due date: July 9, 2021

Community Development Block Grants

  • Funding organization: HUD/IL DCEO
  • Description: There are a variety of different grant types for public infrastructure, housing rehabilitation, economic development, and disaster response.
  • Eligibility: Must be in rural, non-metropolitan areas.
  • Submission date: Latest round of funding has ended. Stay tuned for future funding opportunities.

Joyce Foundation Education, Economic Mobility, and Environment Grants

  • Funding organization: Joyce Foundation
  • Description: The Education & Economic Mobility Program works to increase the number of historically underserved young people who move up the economic ladder by ensuring equitable access to high-quality education and jobs. We invest in local, state and federal policies that ensure historically underserved young people have effective educators, graduate high school with academic and career momentum, and attain college credentials with economic value. We also support policies that help ensure low-wage workers achieve economic stability, dignity, and mobility. In the short term, we will invest in research, policy development, and advocacy to help the education systems recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Environment Program works to solve long-term environmental challenges that threaten the next generation in the Great Lakes region. The program has two focus areas: Climate Solutions and Great Lakes & Drinking Water.
  • Due date: Letters of Inquiry and Proposals are accepted throughout the year.

Construction/Renovation to Buildings, Additions, or Structures

  • Funding organization: DCEO
  • Description: The intent of this grant is to fund capital improvements to school district facilities in St. Clair County, Illinois including, but not limited to: upgrades tennis courts; elevators; concessions; restrooms; and an auditorium facility. The funded project must meet bondable requirements as set forth in 30 ILCS 425 The Build Illinois Bond Act.
  • Due date: May 27, 2021

Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans and Grants

  • Funding organization: Rural Energy for America Program
  • Eligible entities: Agricultural producers with at least 50 percent of their gross income coming from agricultural operations and small businesses in eligible rural areas.
  • Description: The program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. Agricultural producers may also apply for new energy efficient equipment and new system loans for agricultural production and processing.
  • Due date: Funding deadline past, but loans are accepted on a continuous application cycle.

Rural Business Development Grants

  • Funding organization: USDA Rural Development
  • Eligible entities: Rural public entities including, but not limited to towns, communities, state agencies, authorities, non profit corporations, institutions of higher education, federally-recognized tribes, rural cooperatives
  • Description: This program is designed to provide technical assistance and training for small rural businesses. Small means that the business has fewer than 50 new workers and less than $1 million in gross revenue. Enterprise grants must be used on projects to benefit small and emerging businesses in rural areas as specified in the grant application. Uses may include:
    • Training and technical assistance, such as project planning, business counseling and training, market research, feasibility studies, professional or/technical reports or producer service improvements.
    • Acquisition or development of land, easements, or rights of way; construction, conversion, renovation of buildings; plants, machinery, equipment, access for streets and roads; parking areas and utilities.
    • Pollution control and abatement.
    • The capitalization of revolving loan funds, including funds that will make loans for start-ups and working capital.
    • Distance adult learning for job training and advancement.
    • Community economic development.
    • Technology-based economic development.
    • Feasibility studies and business plans
    • Much more...
  • Due date: Last funding cycle ended in February, 2021

Community Foundation Grants

  • Funding organization: Private Foundation
  • Eligible entities: Typically nonprofits, units of local, county, state governments, schools
  • Description: Depending on the location, offers many small grants (usually under $50,000) in a variety of funding priorities, including community development, capacity building, and education. The website lists the all the different community foundations in Illinois.
  • Due dates: Multiple throughout the year.