For Immediate Release
Press contact: Jay Kelly, or (312) 315-3935
Click here for photos and this release in Word. Click any photo to link directly to it.
(left) Hesed House food drive, courtesy Hesed House; (right) Wayside Cross Ministries staff test new thermal thermometers, courtesy Wayside Cross Ministries.

Aurora, IL, July 1, 2020 – At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, five funders in west suburban Chicago -- the Aurora Women's Empowerment Foundation (AWEF), Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley (CFFRV), Dunham Fund (DF), Fox Valley United Way (FVUW) and INC Board – joined forces to form the Fox Valley Grantmakers COVID-19 Response Fund.

Their mission?

To disperse immediate emergency rapid response grants to greater Fox Valley nonprofits that support basic human needs like food, shelter, safety, health and mental health, and were seeing an urgent surge in need due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Their focus?

Delivering rapid, hyperlocal support for the basic needs of Fox Valley residents, many of whom are not receiving unemployment benefits, still working at low-wage jobs but at drastically reduced hours, had lost their jobs or were simply “falling through the cracks.” 

The result?

Since March, the Fox Valley Grantmakers COVID-19 Response Fund has awarded $595,480 to 50 local nonprofits so they could obtain an array of critically needed resources like safety gear for workers, food, housing and basic necessities for individuals and families, and to increase technological capacity to meet the surging health needs of Fox Valley residents. The average grant amount was $11,909.

Following is the diverse list of 50 Fox Valley-based community organizations that received emergency funding via the Fox Valley Grantmakers COVID-19 Response Fund:

Administer Justice, Association for Individual Development, Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry, Beautiful U Ministries, Bethesda Lutheran Communities, CASA Kane County, CASA Kendall County, Commitment2Community, Conley Outreach Community Services, Dominican Literacy Center, Aurora DuPage Senior Citizens Council, Elderday Center, Inc., Equine Dreams, Inc., Family Counseling Service of Aurora, Family Focus, Farmworker and Landscaper Advocacy Project, Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity, Fox Valley Hands of Hope, Fox Valley Older Adult Services, Gigi’s Playhouse Fox Valley, Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley, Hesed House, Hope for Tomorrow, Inc., Humanitarian Service Project, Jennings Terrace, Kendall County Community Benefits, Kendall County Community Food Pantry, Lazarus House, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry, Mutual Ground, Inc., NAMI Kane-south, DeKalb, and Kendall Counties, Inc., The Neighbor Project, Northern Illinois Food Bank, Quad County Urban League, Inc., RITAS Ministry, Rebuilding Together Aurora, Salvation Army Aurora Corps, Salvation Army Tri-City Corps, Samaritan Interfaith Counseling Center, Inc., Sanjeevani 4 U, Senior Services Associates, Inc., Serenity House Counseling Services, Inc., St. Vincent DePaul Society – St. Anne, Tri City Health Partnership, TriCity Family Services, Turning Pointe Autism Foundation, VNA Health Care, Wayside Cross Ministries and World Relief DuPage/Aurora.
Click here or above to screen and download this 2-minute video with drone footage of areas served by the Fox Valley Grantmakers and photos of COVID-19 Response Grant recipients.

(left) Northern Illinois Food Bank food drive, courtesy Northern Illinois Food Bank;
(right) Volunteer "thumbs up" at Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry, courtesy
Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry.
More press links:

Read the project fact sheet with links to all 50 grantees

Case studies: How Fox Valley Grantmakes Covid-19 Rapid Response grants helped World Relief DuPage/Aurora, Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry and Lazarus House

Meet the Fox Valley Grantmakers

"We’re in this together"
“We may be physically separated, but we can — and we must — support one another with dignity and kindness, particularly our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Julie Christman, President and CEO, Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley.

“Thank you to every business and resident that has contributed and joined in our efforts to support our nonprofit partners. They are struggling to keep up with the sudden demand for services, and they need our help more than ever."

Recognizing the urgent need, the Aurora Women's Empowerment Foundation (AWEF), Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley (CFFRV), Dunham Fund (DF), Fox Valley United Way (FVUW) and INC Board teamed in March to establish the Fox Valley Grantmakers COVID-19 Response Fund.

The five organizations collectively raised and contributed $280,000 in seed money to launch the Fund. The coalition also raised and redistributed an additional $320,000 in state and local relief aid along with donations from more than 60 area individuals.

Local businesses and foundations that contributed to the fund through Fox Valley United Way include Associated Bank, Earthmover Credit Union, First National Bank, Huntington Bank, My Advisor and Planner (MAP), Mars Wrigley Foundation, Meijer Foundation and Pentair Foundation. 

The Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley was made responsible for administering the COVID-19 Response Fund. A committee of representatives from each organization conducted weekly Zoom meetings to review together new applications and determine allocations. One hundred percent of funds raised were redirected back to the local community,

While the Fund is no longer accepting applications at this time, the coalition will continue to monitor and evaluate needs that arise as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more, visit the Community Foundation of Fox Valley website, .

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(left) DuPage Senior Citizens Council meal delivery, courtesy DuPage Senior Citizens Council; (right) Dominican Literary Center gift cards for immigrant families, courtesy
Dominican Literary Center.

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Note: This news release is issued on behalf of
the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley by

(312) 315-3935