Grants to Support Arts Engagement and Learning

East St. Louis Community Arts Access, a re-granting program run by the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation (JJKF) with funding from the Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA), awards grants to local cultural organizations and nonprofits offering arts programming. Schools and individual artists are also eligible for funding.

This grants program seeks to provide East St. Louis residents with more opportunities to participate in quality visual, literary, and performing arts experiences. Through project-based funding, the program supports public engagement with, and access to, various arts disciplines, the creation of art, learning in the arts at all stages of life, and the integration of the arts into the fabric of community life.

An East St. Louis Community Arts Access project may consist of one or more specific events or activities performed or presented to engage or benefit the residents of greater East St. Louis. The projects may be a new initiative or part of the applicant’s regular season or activities.

The East St. Louis Community Arts Access program has a total of $5,000 in grant dollars to distribute in 2022. Maximum grant awards are expected to be no more than $1,500 per project. An independent community-based panel will review the proposals and select the recipients.

The application deadline is February 24, 2022. Find the online application form

For questions or technical support related to the grant application, please contact grants@jjkfoundation.org.


February 9      Virtual Application Writing Workshop, 5:30 PM. Attendance is optional.

February 18    Optional Courtesy Review (project description) deadline

February 24    Applications due by 5:00 PM. Late applications will not be accepted.

March 2           Panel Review and Allocation Recommendations

March 7           Awards Announced by email

March 10         Contracts sent

March 21         Signed contract due back to JJKF.

April 15            Funds Available

August 31        Project Completion Date

Sept. 12           Final Report Deadline


Applications must be submitted using the online form. The application deadline is February 24. For questions or technical support related to the grant application, please contact grants@jjkfoundation.org.

Funding Priorities
• Supporting the quality, quantity and visibility of the arts in the greater East St. Louis community
• Increasing access to the arts for underserved populations
• Elevating artists as integral and essential to a healthy and vibrant community

Eligibility and Policies
• Nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations must be in good standing with the Illinois Secretary of State.
• Individual practicing artists and collectives may apply for community-based projects that are open to the general public.
• K-12 schools and school-affiliated organizations may apply for after-school or summer arts programs that involve paid professional artists working with a target group of learners.
• Programs must take place in greater East St. Louis.
• Programs must begin no earlier than April 1, 2022 and be completed by August 31, 2022.
• Applicants may submit proposals for in-person programs and events and/or “virtual” public activities.
• Grants must be matched on a 1:10 basis in cash (10% match).
• East St. Louis Community Arts Access grant funds must be used for arts programming or project costs. Funds cannot be used for capital expenditures; permanent equipment; private events that are closed to the general public; fundraising events; projects that serve only congregations of a religious organization; scholarships; programs already directly funded by the Illinois Arts Council or the National Endowment for the Arts; deficit or debt reduction; and/or projects completed or in process before April 1, 2022.
• Proposals must be submitted using the online form. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.
• Applicants may apply for only one East St. Louis Community Arts Access grant per year.
• Funded applicants that fail to return a complete and correct grant agreement within 30 days of the date on the award letter will have their grant recommendation rescinded.
• Grant recipients must credit JJKF and IACA in all promotional material and public notices.
• Grantees will be required to complete and submit a final report no later than September 12, 2022.

Evaluation Criteria
• Clarity of the program description
• Commitment to creativity, artistic excellence and community engagement
• Involvement of paid local artists
• Consistency of the proposed program with the mission of the applying organization, if applicable
• Plan for executing the project virtually in the event that it is not safe to gather in-person
• A feasible and balanced budget
• Evidence that the applicant is part of the East St. Louis community fabric
• Plan for raising the required matching funds
• Plan for effective promotion and publicity
• Completeness of the application

If you would like assistance with the application or have questions, please contact grants@jjkfoundation.org.

About JKKF
The mission of the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation is to instill youth in the greater East St. Louis area with the dream, drive, and determination necessary to succeed in academics, athletics, and leadership. The Foundation’s multi-purpose center opened in 2000.

About IACA
The mission of the Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA) is to build a strong, creative, and connected Illinois through the arts. IACA serves the people of Illinois through a variety of grant programs and special initiatives meant to: support Illinois’ arts sector, advance arts education and foster creativity and the work of individual artists. Resources to support the Illinois Arts Council Agency are provided by the Governor and General Assembly of Illinois and the National Endowment for the Arts.

St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts (VLAA), which serves the bi-state region, is assisting with the management of the 2022 East St. Louis Community Arts Access Grants program.