Illinois will distribute $31.5 million in grants over the next year to local nonprofits, faith- or community-based organizations and governmental bodies to address issues in historically underserved parts of the state.
The money for these grants comes from 25% of the tax revenue the state collects from recreational marijuana sales.
It’s part of Illinois’ Restore, Reinvest and Renew program, known as R3, which aims to fund local projects around civil legal aid, economic development, re-entry from prison, violence prevention and youth development.
This initial funding is one of the first indications of how Illinois plans to help address longstanding issues in underserved communities, which was key to the success of passing cannabis legalization.
“That’s the spirit of this program, to shift resources and power back into communities that have suffered historically from the war on drugs,” said Quinn Rallins, state director of justice, equity and opportunity initiatives at a town hall about the program last week.
To determine where funding should go, Illinois used data from rates of gun injury, unemployment, child poverty and incarceration and areas of the state already identified as being disproportionately affected by historic economic disinvestment. In the Metro East, that means areas in and around East St. Louis, Alton, Granite City and parts of Collinsville. [Read more at KBIA]