Grant Guidelines &
Program Framework

Economic Development

Will County is committed to supporting the response to and recovery from COVID-19. The County, using the allocation of over $134 million from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF), a part of the American Rescue Plan, has dedicated $10 million to both support programs addressing negative economic impacts of the pandemic (including housing, financial services, and education programs) and to provide direct aid to industries impacted by the pandemic (including businesses and non-profits).

Economic Development Dashboard

Click to see a breakdown of how ARPA funds have been used throughout Will County.

Applications closed on December 30, 2022

For additional information about grant applications, future grant opportunities, or general inquiries, please contact

Aid will address the negative economic impacts of the pandemic and support projects in the following categories:

Housing Programs

Leverage affordable housing initiatives

Financial Services Programs

Foster public/private partnerships for unbanked/underbanked residents

Education Programs

Address instructional learning loss and childcare deserts

Direct Aid

Impacted Industries

Support qualified small businesses in critical supply chain and non-profit organization operating in qualified census tracts 


On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) into law. The $1.9 trillion Fiscal Recovery Funds package is intended to support the responds and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, including public health and economic impacts. Will County has received a total of $134M to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency and its economic impacts.

On September 8, the Will County Executive Committee approved the Economic Development Grant Program, offering $10 million in funds for entities to apply for to support programs addressing negative economic impacts of the pandemic and to provide direct aid to industries impacted by the pandemic. The application period opened on November 1 and will close on December 30.

There is minimum consideration for any applicant which includes:

    1. Located in and/or services Will County residents
    2. Aligns with Department of Treasury guidelines as an impacted non-profit or small business

Additionally, criteria will be considered a priority for applicants which: 

    1. Address a gap in service
    2. Aid disproportionately impacted residents, located within Qualified Census Tract (QCT), or provide a service to households impacted by COVID-19
    3. Expand service, stabilize the critical industry, or establish resiliency efforts
    4. Can be completed by 2026 and sustainable beyond when ARPA is expended 
    5. A collaborative effort with multiple organizations to leverage available funding sources

Economic Development Grant Program

Support for

Impacted Households

The following eligibility is for consideration of grants to support programs that address negative economic impacts of the pandemic. These include programs managed by community groups, childcare agencies, small businesses, and non-profit organizations to address affordable housing progams, financial services (addressing unbanked/underbanked residents), and education (aid to high-poverty districts, child care, and early learning).

Population Served:
Disproportionately Impacted

Treasury presumes the following households and communities are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic:

    • Low-income households and communities
    • Households residing in Qualified Census Tracts
    • Households that qualify for certain federal benefits

Low-income households and communities are those with (i) income at or below 185 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for the size of its household based on the most recently published poverty guidelines or (ii) income at or below 40 percent of area median income for its county and size of household based on the most recently published data. 

Eligible Activities:
Disproportionately Impacted

  • Remediation of lead paint or other lead hazards
  • Housing vouchers & assistance relocating to neighborhoods with higher economic opportunity
  • Improvements to vacant and abandoned properties, including rehabilitation or maintenance, renovation, removal and remediation of environmental contaminants, demolition or deconstruction, greening/vacant lot cleanup & conversion to affordable housing
  • Services to address educational disparities, including assistance to high-poverty school districts & educational and evidence-based services to address student academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs
  • Schools and other educational equipment & facilities

Population Served: Impacted

Treasury presumes the following households and communities are impacted by the pandemic:

    • Low- or-moderate income households or communities
    • Households that experienced unemployment
    • Households that experienced increased food or housing insecurity
    • Households that qualify for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Childcare Subsidies through the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) Program, or Medicaid
    • When providing services to address lost instructional time in K-12 schools: any student that lost access to in-person instruction for a significant period of time
    • When providing affordable housing programs: households that qualify for the National Housing Trust Fund and Home Investment Partnerships Program

Eligible Activities: Impacted

  • Emergency housing assistance: rental assistance, mortgage assistance, utility assistance, assistance paying delinquent property taxes, counseling, and legal aid to prevent eviction and homelessness & emergency programs or services for homeless individuals, including temporary residences for people experiencing homelessness
  • Financial services for the unbanked and underbanked
  • Childcare and early learning services, home visiting programs, services for child welfareinvolved families and foster youth & childcare facilities
  • Assistance to address the impact of learning loss for K-12 students (e.g., high-quality tutoring, differentiated instruction)
  • Programs or services to support long-term housing security: including development of affordable housing and permanent supportive housing 


Impacted Industries

The following eligibility is for consideration of grants to mitigate financial hardship, such as by supporting payroll and benefits, costs to retain employees, and mortgage, rent, utility, and other operating costs.

Assistance to Impacted Nonprofit Organizations

Nonprofits have faced significant challenges due to the pandemic’s increased demand for services and changing operational needs, as well as declines in revenue sources such as donations and fees. Nonprofits eligible for assistance are those that experienced negative economic impacts or disproportionate impacts of the pandemic and meet the definition of “nonprofit”—specifically those that are 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19) tax-exempt organizations. 

Impacted Nonprofits

  • Decreased revenue (e.g., from donations and fees)
  • Financial insecurity
  • Increased costs (e.g., uncompensated increases in service need)
  • Capacity to weather financial hardship
  • Challenges covering payroll, rent or mortgage, and other operating costs

Disproportionately Impacted Nonprofits

  • Nonprofits operating in Qualified Census Tracts

Aid to Small Businesses

Small businesses have faced widespread challenges due to the pandemic, including periods of shutdown, declines in revenue, or increased costs. The final rule provides many tools for recipients to respond to the impacts of the pandemic on small businesses, or disproportionate impacts on businesses where pre-existing disparities like lack of access to capital compounded the pandemic’s effects. Small businesses eligible for assistance are those that experienced negative economic impacts or disproportionate impacts of the pandemic and meet the definition of “small business,” specifically:

    1. Have no more than 500 employees, or if applicable, the size standard in number of employees established by the Administrator of the Small Business Administration for the industry in which the business concern or organization operates, and
    2. Are a small business concern as defined in section 3 of the Small Business Act (which includes, among other requirements, that the business is independently owned and operated and is not dominant in its field of operation).

A focus on six key sectors: the defense industrial base; the public health and biological preparedness industrial base; the information and communications technology (ICT)industrial base; the energy sector industrial base; the transportation industrial base; and supply chains for agricultural commodities and food production.

Impacted Small Businesses

  • Decreased revenue or gross receipts
  • Financial insecurity
  • Increased costs
  • Capacity to weather financial hardship
  • Challenges covering payroll, rent or mortgage, and other operating costs

Disproportionately Impacted Small Businesses

  • Nonprofits operating in Qualified Census Tracts

Application Process & Requirements


  • Loss that bears no relation or is grossly disproportionate to the type or extent of harm experienced due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Contributions to rainy day funds, financial reserves, or similar funds.
  • Payment of interest or principal on outstanding debt instruments.
  • Inherently religious activities, such as worship, religious instruction, or proselytization and/or those that promote or inhibit religious interest.
  • Lobbying, support of candidates for public office, or other political activities.
  • Economic hardship incurred for reasons other than the pandemic
  • Direct reimbursement for invoices, receipts, or expenditures prior to March 3, 2021.
  • Expenses reimbursed or eligible for reimbursement through any other contract or agreement with the City, including but not limited to City Small Business Assistance previously administered or CARES Act funding
  • During the period beginning on March 1, 2020 and ending on the date of your funding application submission to the City, the applicant has not received alternate Federal, State or Local grant funding to cover the same costs, programs, and/or impacts identified in its grant application to the City

Eligible programs or projects will typically be funded for programming beginning March 2023 and ending on or before December 31, 2026. By August 2023, awardees will be required to provide evidence to the County of progress in initiating or funding new or existing programs, and capital. If sufficient evidence is not provided, the County reserves the right to recoup funding that may have been awarded. Funding for programs will end on December 31, 2026 and all funds received by the applicant for these programs will need to be fully expended and reported back to the County.

Application Review Criteria

Award allocations will be based on the total number of applicants, completeness of applications, expense eligibility, organizational need, community benefit, and organizational operating budget size. No cash match is required.

Committee members may consider the following factors in their evaluation:

  • Organization is a qualifying and eligible entity.
  • Impact of COVID-19 is clear and demonstrated and program designed to respond the impact is direct and reasonably proportional.
  • Impact of other Federal, County, or City assistance received, alone or in comparison to other applicants.
  • Fiscal and administrative capacity to administer the funding in compliance with requirements.
  • Grant budget is provided, reasonable, and aligns with eligible expenses.
  • Alignment of the request with the County’s mission and vision.
  • Demonstrated partnership with other community entities.
  • The impact the funding request will have on under-served groups and local community.
  • Program delivery that includes communication in multiple languages, appropriate care around cultural sensitivities, and targeted outreach to underrepresented, underserved, or historically marginalized populations.
  • If the applicant has received, or intends to receive, alternate funding from other federal or state sources for the same request.
  • If the applicant has previously administered or been awarded federal funds.
  • Applicants’ quality of key performance indicators submitted to monitor the program’s success.
  • Anticipated long-term impact the funding will create within Will County.
  • Applicant’s identification of outcomes and impacts that will remain after the program’s initial implementation phase, if funded.
  • Applicants’ readiness to fund and capacity for implementation.
  • Organization and program viability – will the program continue to be sustainable without continued funding support from Will County or other temporary funding sources.
  • Ability to fully expend funds by December 31, 2026.
  • Other factors as deemed appropriate by the panel members.

Below is a list of additional required documentation for all applicants that ARE NOT located within a disproportionately impacted area or QCT area:

  • Copy of 2019, 2020, and 2021 Tax Returns
  • Copy of 2019, 2020, and 2021 fiscal year audited financial statements for the organization including the following:
    • Statement of Financial Position
    • Income statement
    • Cashflow statement
    • Statement of Activities
    • If audited statements are not available, unaudited statements with a certification from the small business owner is required
  • Projected revenue and expenditure totals for fiscal year 2022
  • Additional Evidence to demonstrate a negative economic impact was sustained:
    • Copies of invoices demonstrating an increase in operations cost since March 1, 2020 (If applicable).
    • Past-due Mortgage/Rent Statements (If applicable).
    • Past-due utility bills (If applicable).
    • Evidence of reduced or inhibited fund-raising activities due to COVID-19 (if applicable).
    • Copies of invoices or evidence of COVID-19 related expenses incurred (if applicable).

Evidence or statements demonstrating a loss of funds or income due to COVID-19 (if applicable – must be certified by the business owner).


Will County staff, elected officials, and ARPA consultant, Anser Advisory, will review grant applications for completeness and eligibility. Applicants may be asked to revise proposals or provide additional information.

Complete and eligible applications will then be reviewed by a committee.


All nonprofit, governmental and business organizations offered a grant who choose to accept the grant will be required to sign a non-negotiable affidavit, waiver, and release form prior to payment being made. The affidavit will require the applicant to declare that all information contained in the application is true and correct and can be used as admissible evidence in any legal proceeding against the company if the County attempted to recoup any grant funds provided under false pretenses.


Grant awards will be made in the form of an agreement executed between the applicant and the County. The grant period, scope, allowable budget, and reporting requirements will be outlined in a grant agreement between the applicant organization and the County. All awarded funds for new programming/activities must be expended no later than December 31, 2026. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in disqualification from future grant cycles. Additional information may be required at the County’s discretion, based on the usage of funds.


Reports on expenditures and beneficiaries will be required quarterly. Additionally, an Exit Report will be required at the end of each grant agreement. Awardees must submit the Exit Report to the Will County Executive Office by December 31, 2026. Failure to submit required reporting may result in disqualification from future grant cycles.

Download the Updated Grant Guidelines and Progam Framework

Securing America’s Critical Supply Chains

Published by The White House February 24, 2021

In recent years, American households, workers, and companies have increasingly felt the strainof shortages of essential products—from medicine to food to computer chips. Last year’sshortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) for front-line healthcare workers at thebeginning of the COVID-19 pandemic were unacceptable. Recent shortages of automotivesemiconductor chips have forced slowdowns at car manufacturing plants, highlighting howshortages can hurt U.S. workers.