Link Up Illinois Link Match Grant 2019

Link Up Illinois is a program of Experimental Station, undertaken since 2011 in partnership with Wholesome Wave and the Illinois Farmers Market Association. Our goal is to provide support for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) customers and SNAP redemption systems at Illinois farmers markets, farm stands, and co-ops, through grant funding, training, and technical assistance. In doing so we aim to increase access to affordable fresh and healthy foods for low-income communities in Illinois.

With generous support from the USDA's Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Program and from other corporate, city and private funding sources, Link Up Illinois enables Illinois farmers markets, farm stands, and co-ops to double the value of purchases for those shoppers using their Link cards, giving customers greater buying power towards fresh locally produced foods. SNAP purchases will be matched up to the first $25 dollars, per customer, per card, per market.

Farmers markets and farm stands that operate a SNAP redemption system can apply for a Link Match grant that will match purchases of SNAP-approved items. Link Match may only be used for the purchase of Fruits and Vegetables sold at participating farmers markets, farm stands, and co-ops. Funding granted to organizations may only be used for the following activities:

• A minimum of 80% of grant funds must be spent on Link Match currency reimbursements to farmers and vendors for purchases of Link-approved, locally grown, Fruits and Vegetables by eligible program recipients.

• A maximum of 20% of grant funds may be spent to cover costs of program set up and production of alternative (Link Match) program currency, program outreach and publicity, data collection, program evaluation and reporting.

Program Application Process

Please note:

Applications for the Link Up Illinois Link Match Program are taken on a rolling basis. The maximum grant award is $12,500, however Link Up Illinois reserves the right to fund less than the requested amount. Grant amounts are based upon market needs and capacity to operate the program.

Program Requirements

To participate, markets must:

▪ Be authorized to accept SNAP benefits.
▪ Have a designated market manager (or equivalent) responsible for the project and sufficient organizational capacity to handle the associated accounting and reporting.
▪ Participate in program on-boarding training and evaluation.
* Have a Google email account.
▪ Maintain records, input data via the Wholesome Wave "FM Tracks" Data portal, and submit an annual End of Season report in a format requested by LINK Up Illinois.
▪ Promote your market's Link Match Program at your market and throughout your community and targeted low-income population.
▪ Use approved Link Up Illinois Link Match Program language for press releases and marketing material concerning Link Up Illinois-funded programs.
▪ List Link Up Illinois as a program sponsor in print and digital marketing, including use of the Link Up Illinois logo.
▪ Provide end-of-year photos of your Link Match Program in action at your market.
▪ Use Link Up Illinois Universal Link Match Currency (for markets outside of Chicago and co-ops a store specific Link Match Currency) for the distribution and redemption of the Link Match incentive.
▪ Provide your markets logo (if applicable) in a vector format (.ai, .eps, and in some cases .pdf) for the production of your markets Link Match marketing materials.
▪ SNAP purchases will be matched with incentives up to the first $25 dollars, per customer, per card, per market.

As a Link Up Illinois Link Match Program grant recipient, you can expect us to:

▪ Provide training and technical support to implement these programs on the ground (including funding, planning and implementation support), ideas for community outreach, and data collection tools.
▪ Share successful Link Match Program models for replication and customization in your community.
▪ Help foster critical partnerships on the ground to strengthen the impact and sustainability of the Link Match Program at your market.
▪ Celebrate your success via special events and media exposure.
▪ Engage you in a statewide “learning community” via conference calls and meetings to promote innovation and peer-to-peer exchange.
▪ Training will be provided on how to implement the Universal Link Match Currency for markets in Chicago.
▪ Training will be provided on navigate the new Wholesome Wave system called FM Tracks.


This application should take you about 15-20 minutes complete.

Before beginning this application it is suggested that you gather the following information:
* 2018 SNAP transaction data: SNAP sales, SNAP transactions, New SNAP customers, Incentives distributed, Incentives Redeemed, and total Market days.
* Contact information for all responsible parties (Market Manager, Executive Director, etc).
* Food and Nutrition Services certificate number.
*Dates, times, location of Farmers Market.
*Vendor information.
*Incentives program information.
*Information about past grants and other funding sources.

Funding for this project was provided by United States Department of Agriculture.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, disability, age, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3) email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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