cowCHAMPAIGN - To support dairy farmers and dairy-related businesses with financial and technical support, Senate Agriculture Chairman Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is promoting the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance (DBIA).

DBIA, a joint effort coordinated by the Center for Dairy Research and the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, was designed to support and promote the diversification and addition of value-added products to the Midwest dairy industry.

Goals of the program include increasing on-farm diversification, creating value-added dairy products, such as specialty cheeses, and focusing on export opportunities for farm-scale and processor dairy products.

“These grants are designed to foster innovation,” Senator Bennett said. “It’s my hope this program can be used to improve the future for dairy farmers and processors.”

The grant application period is now open. Funds totaling $220,000 will be disbursed and awarded with individual projects receiving up to $20,000. The deadline to complete and return applications is Aug. 14. Selected producers and business owners will be notified on Sept. 4.

For questions or additional information, call DBIA at 608-265-1491 or visit https://turbo.cdr.wisc.edu/dairy-business-innovation-alliance/.

illinois chain o lakes state park bridge in the parkCHAMPAIGN – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) joins the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to announce the application period for grants through the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) program runs from June 1 through July 31, 2020.

“With summer activities for kids still in question and families looking for unique alternatives, our community needs the benefits of this program now more than ever,” Bennett said. “Grants from the LWCF protect and improve access to public spaces and will ensure families can use them.”

The LWCF provides matching funds to units of local government for acquisition of land for public parks and open space. The program is financed nationally by revenue from offshore oil and gas leases and is administered in Illinois by the IDNR. Local governments can apply for funding assistance for up to 50%of the costs of approved projects. Grant awards are capped at $750,000.

Only local government agencies that can acquire land for public park purposes are eligible to apply. Lands acquired using LWCF funds are required to be operated and maintained in perpetuity for public outdoor recreation.

For questions regarding the LWCF program, please call the Office of Grant Management and Assistance at 217-782-7481 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Child Care Restoration Grants FB 1

CHAMPAIGN - To help restore child care in Illinois during the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) announced a $270 million Child Care Restoration grant program, provided by the new state budget.

“Child care services are an essential service to support families as they return to work and it is critical to our state’s economic recovery,” Bennett said. “This grant program will focus on helping child care providers stay in business.”

The Child Care Restoration grant program will dedicate at least $270 million of the state’s Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency (CURE) Fund to support the economic health of child care providers as the state’s economy continues to reopen in the coming weeks and months.

As part of CURE, the Business Interruption Grants Program is specifically designed to support businesses that endure lost revenue due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Human Services, is charged with developing the grant program for licensed child care providers. The Child Care Restoration Grants will be administered by the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies.

The “Intent to Apply” survey launched Wednesday and is available online here. The information gathered will help inform the development of the grants program to be released in July 2020, and providers will receive their first installments later this summer. The opportunity to respond to the survey will close on June 19, 2020 at 5 p.m.

More information will be added to https://www.ilgateways.com/financial-opportunities/restoration-grants. People are encouraged to continue to check back frequently for information and resources.

broadband 052820SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) joins the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Office of Broadband to announce the new Illinois Connected Communities grant program.
 
The program is designed to assist local governments, schools and community organizations with building broadband capacity. The $150,000 grant opportunity will help communities close existing gaps and lay the groundwork for improved broadband access, adoption and utilization. The grants will be provided on a competitive basis, and applications will be accepted here through June 12.
 
“The pandemic has really magnified the challenges that people who have a lack of internet access have dealt with,” Bennett said. “As we continue to face this crisis, it’s clear that access to broadband is a necessity for people to access education, healthcare, jobs and even state benefits.”
 
This latest grant program builds on the capital commitment made through Connect Illinois, which includes a $400 million investment, and is aimed at improving access to broadband for the entire state. The first $50 million of this investment is expected to be awarded in the coming weeks. 

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