smallbiz 070220PARK FOREST – A total of 26 local businesses have been awarded a combined $480,000 in grants through the Business Interruption Grants (BIG) program, prompting State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) to extend his congratulations to the recipients.

“Small businesses give so much to our community, but right now they are struggling to stay afloat,” Joyce said. “BIG grants can help these establishments move one step closer to financial recovery.”

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded a total of $46 million to 2,655 small businesses in the first round of BIG funding. The BIG program offers grants to Illinois restaurants and bars, barbershops and salons, and fitness centers that have suffered pandemic-related losses, with a focus on businesses in the hardest-hit areas of the state.

First round grants range from $10,000 to $20,000 and may be used to help businesses with working capital expenses, including payroll costs, rent and utilities. The funds may also be used to cover pandemic-related expenses, such as personal protective equipment, training and new technology.

“I am committed to supporting relief efforts so businesses affected by this crisis can come out on top,” Joyce said. “I encourage any area business searching for financial relief to apply for future rounds of Business Interruption Grants.”

To ensure ongoing support for Illinois small businesses, the State of Illinois has planned future rounds of funding. The BIG program is the largest state-run economic support program formed in response to the COVID-19 economic downturn. The full list of grant recipients is available here.

Category: News

booksKANKAKEE – Two area libraries will receive a combined $37,000 in grants to administer mentorship programs for at-risk youth, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) announced Tuesday.

“Now more than ever, young people need support from our community,” Joyce said. “I’m pleased to see the state invest in our future leaders so they can get the help they need during these unprecedented circumstances.”

The Bradley Public Library District will receive $20,670 and the Kankakee Public Library will receive $17,000 in Project Next Generation (PNG) grants. PNG is a mentoring program established by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White to help middle and high school students develop technological skills, achieve success through project-based learning, and gain life skills such as effective communication, goal-setting and conflict resolution.

The secretary of state awarded $559,358 in 2021 PNG grants to 28 public libraries statewide. Grants are awarded to libraries that serve culturally diverse, low-income and underserved populations.

Funds were provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Category: News

Joyce Cards for Seniors

PARK FOREST – Since the COVID-19 crisis has left many older adults alone and separated from their loved ones, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) is seeking handwritten messages and cards to send to local long-term care facilities.

“During this pandemic, many older adults have been forced into isolation from their loved ones,” Joyce said. “There are strict guidelines in place at our long term care facilities to keep older adults safe but in this case staying healthy can also bring on extreme loneliness. Taking the time to send them a quick note or card will help brighten their day and make sure they know that someone is thinking about them.”

Joyce is encouraging residents to write cards, which can be homemade or purchased, with a few words of support for older adults. Send cards to Joyce’s office, and staff will distribute them to local long-term care facilities.

“I hope residents will take five minutes today to help provide some comfort to these folks,” Joyce said. “It is important to make sure our seniors know that we are thinking and care about them.”

Cards can be sent to:

State Senator Patrick Joyce
270 Main St.
Park Forest, IL 60466

If residents have any concerns or questions, Joyce urges them to call his office at 708-756-0882 or visit his website SenatorPatrickJoyce.com.

Category: Events

broadband 052820PARK FOREST – A new state grant will expand access to high-speed internet for students and families in Park Forest-Chicago Heights School District 163, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) announced Monday.

“People living in rural areas deserve reliable internet access,” Joyce said. “Especially during this pandemic, when working and learning from home has become the norm, it’s important that we expand broadband internet service so no community is left behind.”

The Park Forest-Chicago Heights School District 163 is one of 12 organizations to receive a grant from the Illinois Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity through the Illinois Connected Communities program, created to help build broadband capacity in underserved areas.

In addition to an award of up to $15,000, the 12-month program provides free expert consultation to enable each Illinois Connected Community to complete a plan for expanding broadband that identifies actions to improve internet access in the areas of community and economic development, education, civic engagement, healthcare, agriculture, and more.

The program directs $150,000 in state-funded small grants for community and local government partners to help improve access to high-speed broadband in their communities. The state grants will be matched by $150,000 in philanthropic funds.

These grants will help lay the groundwork for individual communities to play a part in Connect Illinois, a $420 million program to bring basic internet access to all communities by 2024. Connect Illinois contemplates a second round of grants later this year.

Category: News

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Contact Me

Springfield Office:
118 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
217.782.7419

District Office:
270 Main St.
Park Forest, IL 60466
708.756.0882
708.554.7276 (Text)