Historic R3 program awards grants to organizations in communities hit hardest by gun violence, unemployment, and criminal justice system overuse
CHICAGO— Using revenue from adult-use cannabis sales, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) today announced 80 grants totaling $31.5 million to organizations to help the communities hardest hit by the failed war on drugs. The organizations’ work includes violence prevention, legal aid, and re-entry services.
The grants are part of the Restore, Reinvest, and Renew (R3) Program, which was created as a key equity element of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA), signed by Governor Pritzker in 2019. The law requires that 25 percent of all cannabis revenue be used to support communities impacted by economic disinvestment, violence, and the severe and disproportionate damage caused by the war on drugs, largely and disproportionately impacted low income Illinoisans and communities of color.
Awardees include nonprofit organizations, local units of government, tax-exempt faith-based organizations, businesses, and other community organizations that serve residents of—or are based in—designated eligible R3 zones
“Following a successful first year of cannabis sales, the Restore, Reinvest, and Renew grant program is delivering tens of millions of dollars to our communities most impacted by the war on drugs. I’m so proud to see this key equity goal in cannabis legalization move forward and I applaud the leaders in the General Assembly, ICJIA, and stakeholders across the state who made this moment possible,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “By awarding this first round of R3 grants, we are taking another important step toward undoing the harms of the past, and Lt. Governor Stratton and I will continue to ensure equity is a top priority as the cannabis program moves forward.”
“The R3 program will tackle chronic problems that have gone unaddressed for far too long in our underserved neighborhoods,” said Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton. “The collaboration between the Justice, Equity, and Opportunity Initiative and ICJIA is innovative and reinvents the grant process with community inclusion and promotes a standard for equity and success that other states will hopefully take note of and emulate.”
The funds will be administered in the 2021 calendar year and include $28.3 million to support service delivery and $3.1 million for assessment and planning initiatives.
ICJIA received 398 completed applications, which were reviewed by criminal justice practitioners, community stakeholders, and formerly justice-involved individuals. All reviewers received implicit bias training along with training on application review. In addition, the Justice, Equity and Opportunity Initiative played a pivotal role in ensuring equity and restorative justice frameworks were centered in every decision throughout the review process. 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.
“We are incredibly proud of the groundbreaking work we’ve participated in to transform how grantmaking can be used to address local needs and build capacity within our communities,” said ICJIA Deputy Director Charise Williams. “Our research and grants units have worked tirelessly to ensure the organizations on the frontlines of renewing our communities receive the support they need.”
Areas eligible for funding were identified using community-level data on gun injury, child poverty, unemployment, and state prison commitments and returns, combined with disproportionately impacted areas previously identified by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. See the full list of grantees below.
ICJIA is dedicated to improving the administration of criminal justice through work in the areas of grants administration, research and analysis, policy and planning, and information systems and technology. Visit [www.icjia.state.il.us]www.icjia.state.il.us.