Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has joined the United Way of Illinois and the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations to announce the launch of the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund (ICRF), a new statewide fundraising effort to support nonprofit organizations serving those whose lives have been upended by this pandemic.
“My team and I are incredibly grateful for all of the businesses, leaders and organizations who have stepped up to meet this moment,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “This is a fund to support all of Illinois: from Chicago to Carbondale, Cairo to Rockford. No one is immune to this virus — and nobody should be left to recover without help. We will get through this if we work together and stand up for one another.”
Working with other local response efforts that have been created in recent days, the ICRF will focus on filling Illinois residents’ most basic needs, including:
Emergency food and basic supplies
Interim housing and shelter
Primary health care services
Utility and financial assistance
Supports for children and other vulnerable populations
Nonprofit safety and operations assistance
The United Way of Illinois and Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations are operating the new fund, separately and independently from the state. It will be guided by a steering committee made up top leaders from the philanthropic, social service, civic and business communities from across the state and chaired by former U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.
“As the Governor has said, there’s no more important work to do right now than protecting our most vulnerable residents,” said Penny Pritzker, Chairman of PSP Partners. “Illinois is blessed with strong local nonprofit organizations and community foundations that serve our state. We applaud the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations and the United Way of Illinois for stepping up in this time of great uncertainty. Their role is critical in this effort and leverages the strong capacity and expertise that already exists around the state in the form of their local affiliates. In this moment of extraordinary demand, it’s imperative that these organizations have the resources they need to operate at the highest capacity. This vital emergency fund will support our fellow Illinoisans most in need, and do so quickly and effectively.”
The ICRF is launching with nearly $23 million in initial donations. In the upcoming weeks, the steering committee will evaluate and disburse funds to the initial wave of charitable organizations serving at-need communities across the entire state. All donations and distributions will be available to the public.
“The capacity of individuals and organizations to support each other during this unprecedented time is inspiring,” said Louise “Wegi” Stewart, Manager of the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations. “This is an all hands-on deck moment. Illinois’ more than 35 community foundations and our stellar local United Way partners are proud to be a part of this important effort to ensure all corners of the state are helped by this response fund. And we are well positioned to help ensure that this fund operates in coordination with other efforts underway.”
More information can be found at www.ilcovidresponsefund.org.