COVID-19 Updates


Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund Award Announcement

The Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund has announced its first round of funding. 30 organizations across Illinois, representing 96 counties, have been awarded a total of $5,575,000.

We are proud to be a partner and contributor to this fund, which has provided crucial support to community foundations, United Way organizations, and nonprofits. Approximately 730,000 individuals will receive lifesaving services and assistance thanks to the many people and organizations that came together to create and donate to this fund. Services funded include emergency food and basic supplies, interim housing and shelter, primary health care, utility and financial assistance, supports for children and other vulnerable populations and nonprofit safety and operations assistance.

Please visit the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund website to view the list of grantees. As we practice social distancing to #flattenthecurve, let’s keep supporting each other and our communities!

Important News: Paycheck Protection Program

On March 27th the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) was signed into law. The $2 trillion package provides financial assistance for individuals, businesses, and nonprofits impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most important provisions in the CARES Act for the nonprofit sector is the Paycheck Protection Program, a loan program provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Businesses and nonprofits with 500 or fewer employees may be eligible to receive up to $10 million in forgivable loans, which can be used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities.

Nonprofits and businesses can apply to the program now through a small business lender! Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, so organizations are encouraged to apply as early as possible to meet the June 30, 2020 deadline. Borrower information can be found here, which provides an overview of the program, eligibility, and the conditions under which the loans can be forgiven.

We encourage you to join The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s Stimulus Bill and Nonprofits webinar on Tuesday, April 7th at 1:00 pm (CST) to get your questions answered about applying for the SBA loans and learn how fundraisers can leverage the new $300 charitable deduction.  

The following resources provide a more in-depth analysis of the CARES Act and other policies important to nonprofits and businesses:

  • InsideCharity: Details the assistance that’s available for nonprofits in the CARES Act
  • National Council of Nonprofits: Webinar presentation that explains the Paycheck Protection Program, plus the other federal coronavirus relief bills
  • The Small Business Guide to the CARES Act: The U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship provides information about the major programs that are available from the Small Business Administration.

We hope you find these resources helpful! Your health, safety and stability are our priority and we will continue to share verified and important information and resources to help you get through this crisis as they become available. If there are other ways that we can be helpful, please email or call to let us know. Let’s continue to support each other and engage in collective efforts to help the most vulnerable in our communities.

Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund

We are proud to share that GVF is a key partner and founder of the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund (ICRF). Announced by Governor Pritzker yesterday, the ICRF has raised $23 million to launch and will deploy flexible funds to community foundations and nonprofits across Illinois to provide residents and community-based organizations with:

  • Emergency food and basic supplies
  • Interim housing and shelter
  • Primary Healthcare
  • Utility and financial assistance
  • Support for students and families affected by school closures
  • Nonprofit safety and operations assistance

As we shared on Wednesday, individuals, nonprofits and philanthropy have stepped up to provide life-saving resources to communities most impacted by this pandemic. ICRF is a collaboration between the United Way of Illinois, Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations, and the Office of Governor J.B. Pritzker. It  will extend much needed resources statewide to the many communities outside of Chicago. ICRF’s website,,  will be regularly updated with information about which nonprofits have received funding.  

Our Executive Director Sharon Bush has been appointed to the Steering Committee of ICRF. We’re honored that GVF is able to be a leader in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting the distribution of funds where they are needed most. As Governor Pritzker stated during the press conference, Illinoisans continue to show up for each other, and GVF will continue to show up for our nonprofit partners and their communities.

How We Support and Care for Others

As we consume the latest updates about COVID-19 and its impact on our state, country and world, we want to uplift a few of the many individuals and organizations coming together to help our community members who are most impacted. Across Illinois, they are helping to meet the basic needs of families who face entrenched poverty, unemployed workers, people experiencing homelessness, the elderly and many others. In times of crisis, Illinoisans band together to keep each other safe, healthy, and to mitigate the impact of the virus.

Philanthropic Emergency Response Funds-We at GVF are so proud to be a part of a philanthropic community that has come together so quickly to raise funds for nonprofits around the state to maintain their operations and staff, provide basic needs to struggling communities, and create and sustain mutual aid projects. Across Illinois, Foundations and other philanthropic institutions have created emergency response funds, including:

  • Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund
  • Evanston Community Rapid Response Fund
  • Crossroads Fund Critical Response Fund
  • McHenry County Community COVID-19 Response Fund
  • Champaign County COVID-19 Relief Fund

Visit Forefront’s website for a full list of Illinois emergency response funds.

Mutual Aid-Mutual aid is a process where individuals in a community take responsibility for caring for one another by providing needed material support and work to change the underlying conditions that cause inequities. Individuals and organizations have launched mutual aid campaigns to provide direct cash assistance, food, toiletries and hygiene supplies to communities most severely impacted by COVID-19, including the elderly, families struggling with food insecurity, people who are sick and under quarantine, and unemployed workers and artists. Some of these mutual aid projects include:

  • Helpers for Elderly and Those with Weakened Immune Systems is a mutual aid project in Champaign County where people can volunteer to pick up groceries and run errands
  • COVID-19 Mutual Aid Rockford provides opportunities for volunteers to help with food donations, food/water/medicine pickup, transportation, cash assistance, and childcare
  • My Block My Hood My City has a campaign to provide hand sanitizer, health supplements, and toiletries to Chicago’s elderly
  • Brave Space Alliance has a crisis drop-in pantry to deliver food and supplies, prioritizing people who are sick, disabled, quarantined without pay, elderly, undocumented, and Black, Brown and Indigenous communities
  • Greater Chicago Food Depository has been providing thousands of food boxes to families affected by school closings

We encourage you all to stay safe, wash your hands, enjoy the outdoors (while practicing social distancing!), and care for your community!

An Open Letter to the Chicago Region’s Nonprofit Community | COVID-19

Dear Partners and Friends,

As the Chicago region grapples with unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19, we are grateful for your ongoing work to provide essential public services, tackle inequities, and create communities where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

We can’t imagine a more difficult time for Chicago area nonprofits. Many vital programs are being disrupted at a time when people need them more, daily operations altered, and budgets stretched by increased demand for services and the cancellation of revenue-generating events – all in a context of tremendous and extraordinary uncertainty. The challenges are even greater for those providing direct services to people at the highest risk due to the virus itself and the economic impacts we are already seeing.

Like you, this community is at the heart of everything we care about. In these anxious times, we want to reaffirm our commitment to you and your work. Your priorities may be shifting as you determine how best to provide for communities, and the path to meet your original program goals may no longer be clear. While we know you remain deeply committed to continuing your work, we also realize that during this crisis it may not be realistic to meet the project goals you once expected to achieve. Please know, we understand and will prioritize flexibility regarding reporting.

In recognition of the challenges you are facing now and those that will be posed to our region in the days and weeks ahead, many of us have joined together and with others to contribute to a fund as one way to support those impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

The Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund will provide flexible resources to community-based organizations across the Metropolitan Chicago region to supply essential aid to the individuals and households who are most impacted by the pandemic. Those resources currently include access to emergency food and basic supplies, rent and mortgage assistance and utility assistance. Learn more at

We will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 in our community by listening to you to understand your experience and the experiences of those you serve. We are heartened by the way organizations across our region are rising to this challenge and are committed to doing our part to help ensure this critical work continues.

Thank you for your leadership and partnership in helping our city weather this crisis.


Iris Krieg, Executive Director
Albert Pick, Jr. Fund

Joel M. Friedman, President
The Alvin H. Baum Family Fund

Helene D. Gayle, President and Chief Executive Officer
The Chicago Community Trust

Adam Levine, President
Circle of Service Foundation

Mary Pounder, Program Director
Comer Family Foundation

Greg DiDomenico, President and CEO
Community Memorial Foundation

Leslie Ramyk, Executive Director
Conant Family Foundation

Evan Hochberg, President
Crown Family Philanthropies

Arne Duncan, Managing Partner
Emerson Collective / Chicago CRED

Angelique Power, President
The Field Foundation

Sharon Bush, Executive Director
Grand Victoria Foundation

Rachel Garbow Monroe, President and CEO
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation

Maria Socorro Pesqueira, President
Healthy Communities Foundation

Phyllis Glink, Executive Director
The Irving Harris Foundation

Janet Froetscher, President
JB and MK Pritzker Family Foundation

Lonnie Nasatir, President
Jewish United Fund

John Palfrey, President
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Ellen S. Alberding, President
The Joyce Foundation

Liz Kramer Lefkofsky, Executive Director
Lefkofsky Family Foundation

Craig Leva, President
Leva Family Foundation

Unmi Song, President
Lloyd A. Fry Foundation

Kelsey Malnati Howell, Executive Director
Marc and Jeanne Malnati Family Foundation

Allyson Park, President
Mars Wrigley Foundation

Gayla Brockman, President and CEO
Michael Reese Health Trust

Kim R. Van Horn, Managing Director
Paul M. Angell Family Foundation

Gillian Darlow, CEO
Polk Bros. Foundation

Charles Twichell, Executive Director
Prince Charitable Trusts

Julie Wilen, Executive Director
Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation
Pritzker Foundation

Cindy Moelis, President
Pritzker Traubert Foundation

David Hiller, President and CEO
Robert R. McCormick Foundation

Na’ilah Suad Nasir, President
Spencer Foundation

Patricia Ford, Executive Director
Steans Family Foundation

Sean Garrett, President and CEO
United Way of Metro Chicago

Robert N. DiLeonardi, Executive Director
VNA Foundation

Michelle Morales, President
Woods Fund Chicago

Economic Support for Workers

We will continue to share official information that’s helpful to our communities, grantees, and partners as we all prioritize the health and safety of our families and workplaces.

The Pritzker Administration has extended access to unemployment insurance for workers unable to work or access paid sick leave because of COVID-19, helping families make ends meet through these uncertain times.

We’re here to support you as you continue to work in communities across Illinois. If you have questions or want to share how your organization has been impacted by COVID-19, please contact us at Please visit the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control websites to stay updated on the latest COVID-19 information and best practice preventative measures.