State-Funded Matching for Illinois Applicants Will Increase Competitiveness for Federal Grants

federal grant support program

CHICAGO – Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today launched a $15 million Federal Grant Support Program to assist Illinois-based businesses and organizations seeking federal grants that align with the State’s economic development objectives. The state-funded grant match program will encourage more Illinois-based businesses, organizations, and local governments to apply for federal grants while increasing their competitiveness by committing state dollars.

“For far too long, extraordinary Illinois businesses and organizations have struggled to secure federal grants simply because they didn’t have a matching funder. Today, that all changes,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “In partnership with the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, my administration’s Federal Grant Support Program won’t just help Illinois businessowners obtain federal funding, but will also advance the economic development of our entire state.”

Competitive federal grants typically require a match, which is the non-federal share of the project costs that a grantee must contribute. Additionally, in cases where matching funds aren’t required, applicants with matching funding often receive additional points during the competitive review processes for federal grants. The State’s Federal Grant Support Program commits matching funds of up to $2 million for entities applying for federal grants that align with Illinois’ economic development goals and priorities. This enables Illinois entities to meet minimum eligibility requirements for federal grants and makes them more competitive during the review process.

“With federal funding widely available in a variety of sectors, DCEO is committed to helping businesses and organizations obtain funding in support of our shared goals,” said DCEO Director Kristin Richards. “Matching programs such as the Federal Support Grant Program will give Illinoisans a critical advantage to secure federal funding and bolster economic development throughout Illinois.”

The grant is open to Illinois entities applying for federal grants in support of projects that are broadly aligned with Illinois’ economic development goals and priorities, including projects that support long-term economic growth, projects focused on reducing the equity gap, efforts to attract more workers and businesses to Illinois, and more.

“Federal agencies play a major role in our region’s economy – whether it is the latest clean energy research, advanced manufacturing, or healthcare innovation, Illinois has it all,” said Sen. Laura Ellman (D-Naperville). “There has never been a better time to access federal grants, and I know this will help push our most innovative projects over the edge.”

Eligible applicants will apply for the match program while they are preparing an application for a federal grant. Successful applicants will receive a letter of commitment for State funding that they can include in their federal grant application. The State’s grant award is contingent upon applicants being selected to receive the federal grant award. Local governments, small businesses, and nonprofit, for-profit, and educational organizations seeking federal grants are eligible to apply for matching grants.

“Our universities and communities can thrive on federal grants, and the impact it has on our companies are enormous,” said Sen. Paul Faraci (D-Champaign). “The opportunities for education, innovation, and economic development are endless.”

Through a competitive Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), qualified entities can apply for up to $2 million in matching grants. Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis until available funds are depleted. Projects located in underserved areas or low-income communities will receive additional points during the review process. To view the NOFO and apply for the grant, please visit the DCEO website. Interested parties are encouraged to reach out to for application assistance.

“During our budget process, we prioritize making sure that we are able to bring home every federal dollar possible,” said Rep. Fred Crespo (D-Hoffman Estates). “I am very happy to see DCEO put forward this opportunity so our communities can compete in a national arena.”

The State of Illinois is committed to helping Illinois’ businesses, non-profits, and educational institutions maximize available federal dollars. This includes the matching grant program for businesses through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs – designed to spur innovation in cutting edge technologies. Additionally, the State recently announced Innovate Illinois – a public-private partnership to increase collaboration to maximize the State’s efforts to secure funding through the CHIPS and Science Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

“I’m proud that my district has recently benefited from significant federal investment, with the Pullman National Historic Park bringing hundreds of thousands of visitors to the South Side every year,” said Rep. Nicholas K. Smith (D-Chicago). “Federal support can make a difference in every community, and I want to thank Governor Pritzker for making this a priority.”