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Nonprofits Eligible for Back2Business Grant

NICNE is the Community Navigator providing support to nonprofit organizations in Winnebago, Boone, Ogle, Stephenson, and surrounding counties to guide them through the application process.

Program Overview:

As part of Governor JB Pritzker’s overall economic recovery strategy, the $250 million Back to Business (B2B) grant program aims to deploy recovery grants for nonprofit organizations and small businesses hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. The B2B grant program builds on the success of last year's Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program – an equity focused business relief program, which directed $290 million to 9,000 businesses in 98 communities across Illinois. B2B is a key component of the Governor’s $1.5 billion economic recovery plan, aimed toward a swift and equitable deployment of American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) funds that have been designated for Illinois to assist in recovery from the COVID pandemic.

Funding available:

  • $250 million to nonprofits and small businesses across the state that experienced losses in 2020 due to COVID-19, including the following set-asides:

    • $100 million – Organizations located in Disproportionately Impacted Areas (DIAs). (See DIA Map here)

    • $30 million – Arts and Entertainment Organizations that didn’t receive Shuttered Venue Operators grants

    • $25 million – Restaurants and taverns that didn’t receive the Restaurant Revitalization Fund

    • $25 million – Hotels

    • $25 million – Organizations that didn’t receive a BIG grant due to exhaustion of funds

  • Grants will range from $5,000 to $150,000 per organization and can be used to cover a wide range of operations/staff/overhead cost. Hotels may request up to $250,000.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Revenues of $20 million or less in 2019 and a reduction in revenue in 2020 due to COVID-19; $35 million or less for hotels.

  • Priority will be given to the following categories:

    • Hard-hit industries (see eligibility guidelines for a full list of priority industries and their definitions)

    • Hard-hit areas – DIAs comprising of 176 zip codes

    • Organizations or businesses who have yet to qualify for state funding or federal assistance (including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), Business Interruption Grant (BIG), Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG), and more

    • Organizations or businesses that had less than $5 million in revenue in 2019

  • Learn about eligibility guidelines (also available in Spanish, Polish, Chinese, Hindi, and Arabic)

  • Upon receiving an award, all grantees will need to sign the program Certification Agreement.

How to apply:

Find Assistance to Complete your Application:

Nonprofit organizations are eligible for this grant program. The Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence (NICNE) is a Community Navigator, providing application support to nonprofit organizations in Winnebago, Boone, Ogle, Stephenson, and surrounding counties. NICNE, in partnership with the United Way of Rock River Valley (UWRRV), is available to assist organizations via phone, email, or in person. Each Friday, between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., we are offering 1:1 in-person application assistance* at NICNE's office: Northern Illinois University, Rockford, 8500 E State St, Rockford, IL 61108

To learn more or to schedule 1:1 assistance, contact:

*When visiting NICNE's office for 1:1 support, please bring any necessary documents, and if available, a laptop computer.



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