The Evanston Community Foundation says long-time Evanstonians Mary and Paul Finnegan have issued a $1,000,000 challenge grant to build the Evanston Community Rapid Response Fund to address immediate needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Finnegans were lead partners in creating the ECRR Fund at Evanston Community Foundation just two weeks ago.

“Evanston is a special place. Now is the time for all of us to step up and help each other out,” said Paul Finnegan. “We hope this will encourage some generous giving.”

The challenge grant, dollar for dollar, will go directly to the Evanston Community Rapid Response Fund.  The Finnegans will match new dollars donated until $1 million is raised, or through 12/31/20, whichever comes first.

“We are overwhelmed by the Finnegan’s generosity. They have been instrumental in helping ECF grow over the last 20 years, and their authentic and genuine concern and love for our community continue to amaze me,” said ECF President and CEO Monique Jones. 

In the two weeks since the ECRR Fund launched, ECF has drawn upon its deep relationships across the community to quickly deploy grants addressing basic human needs for the most vulnerable. Over $284,000 has already been distributed to support housing for the homeless and food for families, seniors, and other individuals.

“Every dollar counts and will make a difference,” said Mary Finnegan. “We are so glad that ECF is leading a coordinated effort to help the neediest in Evanston, and we are so happy to be able to help. We know the emergency fund is in good hands.”

Contributions to the Evanston Community Rapid Response Fund can be made online.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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