The Evanston Community Foundation today announced it has met the $1 million Challenge for the Evanston Community Rapid Response Fund’s in just under two months, well ahead of the December deadline. The fund, announced in March, has raised nearly $2.5 million so far.
The foundation created the fund within days after the novel coronavirus COVID-19 crisis arrived in Evanston to support vulnerable individuals and organizations in the community.
Since March 23, the foundation has invested just under $1.2 million back into the community and continues to offer new rounds of grant opportunities.
The initial focus of the Rapid Response Fund has been on providing immediate relief in the community in the areas of housing, food insecurity, education access, basic needs, lost wages and supporting nonprofit operations.
Foundation President and CEO Monique Jones said in a statement, “The outpouring of support from the community astounds me. Every dollar counts as Evanston looks to release restrictions on interacting with each other. We anticipate remaining in the Relieve phase of our response and want to continue to be nimble and swift with grantmaking. We’ll work together to gather what we have learned in the crisis and work to rebuild a more equitable community for our future.”
Jones says the foundation is working with a variety of partners to create collective and enduring initiatives to improve communication and access to services for individuals and nonprofits. For example, the recently launched Evanston Care Network, a collaboration among Evanston Public Library, the City of Evanston, Evanston 311, and ECF, connects people to the services and support they need through the website and 311 services.
“The impact of the virus on communities of color has been staggering, and the challenges here in Evanston are complex. In this initial phase, we have focused on relief. In coming months, as the immediate crisis lessens, we will shift first to recovery, supporting vulnerable individuals and families and nonprofits in getting back on their feet and then on rebuilding Evanston to be the community we know it can be,” said Rebecca Cacayuran, vice president for community investment.
“This crisis has highlighted once again the deep racial inequities in our community and encouraged groundbreaking cross-sector partnerships among nonprofits, businesses, and local government to address those." Cacayuran added. "Our work for Evanston to rebuild as a better community is important, and we will continue to need to support from our generous neighbors.”