The Arc of Illinois is now accepting applications for time-limited demonstration projects to assist providers in filling gaps in services that people with developmental disabilities and families are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This opportunity is possible with funds provided by the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities and is open to community-based organizations that provide supports to people with developmental disabilities who have been affected by the statewide Coronavirus response. There is a total of up to $150,000 available for mini-grants up to $10,000 each with no minimum amount. Our assumption is there will be no more than $10,000 to individual providers, however, we will consider proposals for larger scale projects.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Coronavirus (also known as the COVID-19) pandemic is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. This health crisis is creating unprecedented responses by federal, state, and local governments that impact the lives of people with developmental disabilities and their families. Specifically, the pandemic has resulted in statewide requirements to engage in social distancing, self-isolation, and quarantine. As a result, many providers closed day programs, instituted shelter in place rules, and took other actions necessary to protect the health and safety of the people with developmental disabilities. As a result, more people with developmental disabilities will be isolated, away from friends and family, and will miss out on the many interactions people normally engage in.

The purpose of this funding initiative is to:

  • Respond to emerging needs of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Reduce the amount of anxiety and isolation for individuals with developmental disabilities through innovative projects. 
  • Build and maintain community capacity to support the short-term and long-term needs of individuals with developmental disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Support to direct care staff to be able to continue their work under these unusual circumstances so that the agency operations continue to provide the supports needed for the people they serve. 
  • Inform systems change efforts for future disaster preparedness and emergency response in Illinois and other states. 
  • Ensure people continue to engage with peers during this period of social distancing and isolation. 


Proposals are welcomed from all types of entities and organizations, formal and informal, including service providers, municipalities, service or trade associations, churches, civic or interest-based organizations, human service cooperatives, schools, education cooperatives, or other. The awardee must have a tax ID number in order to receive Council funds.

There is a total of up to $150,000 for multiple investments. Applications will be accepted until normal services are resumed or funds are all allocated. The project will end by August 1, 2021.

No match is required. Indirect cost can be no more than 10% of the project budget.


  1. Provide a summary of what your project will do and costs associated with what you plan.  Make sure to provide details on the purpose of all planned purchases (e.g., re: socialization, anxiety reduction, decreased isolation). 
  2. Explain the need or gap in services and how the funds will help meet the need or address the gap in services. 
  3. How many people with DD will benefit from whatever you’re proposing? 
  4. How will you demonstrate that you achieved your outcomes: How will you know you were successful? (For example, how will you gather the data? Through surveys, direct observation, individuals’ self-reports).


Arc of Illinois in partnership with the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities may choose not to fund or may negotiate and adjust the funding amount of the proposal at the time of an award.

Council funds may be used for items that support the interests or plan goals for individiduals with developmental disabilities to relieve anxiety of the current situation and maintain skill levels (e.g., therapeutic tools or equipment, supported recreation, access to educational, media, and web based social outlets, etc.).

Council funds may not be used for capital expenditures or acquisition (construction, remodeling, or purchase of buildings).


The application will provide information on what is being proposed. Please apply online HERE.


The Arc of Illinois will conduct a due diligence selection process for proposals. Funding decisions are made by the review team at each step of the process. No applicant is guaranteed funding.

Applications will be accepted beginning March 27, 2020. Funding decisions will be made within 2 weeks of receipt of application


The Arc of Illinois and the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities will host an informational webinar on April 1, 2020, from 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm to answer questions from interested applicants regarding the COVID-19 DD Relief Fund opportunity. To RSVP, click HERE. Please contact with questions.

Watch for application details on the ICDD and Arc of Illinois websites or contact Mariel Hamer at to be added to the listserv.  

This project was supported, in part by grant number CFDA 93.630 from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.