Neighborhood Grants and Community Leadership Training


Neighborhood Grants Program

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The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois (CFNIL) and NW HomeStart are accepting applications for the Neighborhood Grants Program until 5 p.m. on Monday, April 2. The Neighborhood Grants Program is available to neighborhood-based groups and nonprofit organizations operating in Boone, Ogle, Stephenson, and Winnebago Counties.


CFNIL has operated a neighborhood grants program since 1995, distributing more than $657,000 to build better neighborhoods in Rockford and beyond. This is the second year the two organizations are collaborating in order to expand the opportunity to the four-county region. The Neighborhood Grants Program funds neighborhood projects, including but not limited to beautification, crime prevention, surveys, clean ups, newsletters, organizing, reforestation, and resident-focused education. The maximum award from the Neighborhood Grants Program is $2,500. Recipients will be announced in May 2017.


Applications must be submitted through CFNIL’s Web Portal ( from now until April 2, 2017. HomeStart administers the Neighborhood Grants Program, including awarding the grant funds. To learn more about the application, grant guidelines, and how to apply, visit:


The 2017 recipients of the Neighborhood Grants Program were: Capron Lions Club, Center for Non-Violence and Conflict Transformation Inc, Church School Neighborhood Association, Coronado Haskell Neighborhood Association, Emmanuel Lutheran, Galapagos Rockford Charter School NFP, Miracle Mile Rockford, North End Square Neighborhood Association, Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity, Rockford Park District Foundation, Rolling Green Neighborhood Association, West Gateway Coalition, and Zion West Neighborhood Association.

Community Leadership Institute

Every year hundreds of people from all around the country gather to learn about new ways to improve neighborhoods. The three-day NeighborWorks Community Leadership Institute (CLI) event focuses on sharing ideas and successful solutions to the problems and issues facing many communities across the country.  At the CLI, participants will attend workshops designed to inspire, build their skills, and get new ideas that they can bring back to their own communities.  This year’s Institute will be held in October, 2018.  For more information, go to

This grant opportunity offers the chance for a team of up to 7 community representatives to attend this event in order to work for positive changes within their neighborhood or community.   The grant award covers tuition, airfare, ground transportation, food, and shared hotel costs. This year the training will take place in October, and at least 3 members of the awarded group’s leadership must be able to attend this training. (If your group only has 3-4 members that attend, you must be willing to work with an additional neighborhood group during the conference.) This grant is a part of the Neighborhood Grant Program in partnership with the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, and is available to residents of Boone, Ogle, Stephenson, and Winnebago counties.


After the team(s) attends the event and meets some additional requirements, they will work with HomeStart to apply for an additional $2,000 to implement a community-based project. Possible projects include neighborhood festivals, community clean-ups, neighborhood safety projects, etc.


HomeStart will select 1-2 teams per year for this opportunity.


** The Community Leadership Institute Grant Application for 2018 will be available May 1. **