Updated: Mar 15
Are you an Illinois municipality, neighborhood association, non-profit, or community organization that seeks assistance with a planning project? The American Planning Association - Illinois Chapter (APA-IL) can help! The APA-IL's Pro Bono Planning Services Program is now accepting applications for new projects.
February 17, 2023: Application period open
March 27, 2023: Applications due (applications submitted up to 11:59 pm will be reviewed)
Week of April 10, 2023: APA Pro Bono reaches out to applicants with questions
Week of April 17, 2023: Selected applicant is notified of award
Ready to Apply?
Fill out an online application today!
Applications for the Spring 2023 Pro Bono Planning Service Program must be submitted by March 27, 2023.
Interested in volunteering on a project or assisting with the Pro Bono Planning Services Program? Sign-up for the Pro Bono Volunteer Talent Bank!
Pro Bono Service Program
The mission of the APA-IL Pro-Bono Planning Service Program is to provide urban planning services on a pro bono basis by APA-IL members, to assist municipalities, non-profits, and community / neighborhood group in the initiation, organizing, and fine tuning of early stage planning projects.
What We Do
Action Plan Development
RFP Scope Development
The APA-IL Pro-Bono Planning Service Program provides services to organizations based in Illinois. These may include municipalities, non-profits, and community / neighborhood groups.
Rules of Engagement
The program Pro Bono Planning Services Program is not intended to compete with private sector planning services which may be needed to perform and complete any of a full range of planning activities.
Through the APA Illinois Pro Bono Service Program, organizations develop a clearer understanding of goals and vision for their city/community/neighborhood. These services can be used to prioritize projects or apply for grant funding. The Pro Bono Planning Program team works with you to build capacity by leveraging the skills, resources, and social capital of a community or organization to develop strategies to improve the physical, economic, and cultural environments of that community. With that in mind, the program follows seven “Rules of Engagement”:
No Political Footballs
Conduct in a single session
Vest Responsibility for Follow-up with Community
Don’t Compete with Consultants
Ensure Capacity Exists in Community
Stick with Planning
Help Plan to Plan
Our Program’s involvement begins with organizing a planning session in conjunction with a local group or municipality. From that foundation we tap into the resources of APA-IL membership for talent, conduct the planning session on location, and work out an action agenda with the local entity. The local entity sponsoring the meeting is required to include a local, representative base of residents, merchants, political interests, and other players that have a vested interest in the success of the project. The sessions typically last half a day. The APA-IL team usually consists of 5 to 10 planning professionals with expertise in the general area being explored. The teams are mixed groups ranging in experience from recent college graduates to veteran planners. Depending on the project, we partner with architects and landscape architects to provide additional subject matter expertise. To date, all projects proved to be win - win in situations for both APA-IL and the sponsoring community.
Neighborhood visioning and plan prioritization, First Ward, City of Calumet City
Community center site assessment and space planning, Stites Township Park District and the Village of Brooklyn
Community health hub visioning workshop and case studies, Village of Maywood
Streetscape Goal-setting and Prioritization, Norwood Park neighborhood, Chicago
Design Charrette for the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, City of Wilmington
Downtown Design Charrette, Village of North Utica
Want to know how you can volunteer your professional talents?
Regardless of how many years of experience you have or your current job's focus, your help is needed. If would like to volunteer, please become part of our "Talent Bank." When the APA-IL Pro Bono Services Program organizes a planning session, they will search through the Talent Bank for the professionals with talent most relevant to the project.
Please note: professional volunteers that are members of the APA-IL are welcome to join the Talent Bank. Not a member? We now offer Chapter Only memberships, learn more HERE.