Rapid Response and Recovery Fund
The rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus is an unprecedented global health emergency that requires sacrifice and compassion in how we go about our daily lives. Now is the time for the collective care of our neighbors.
The Rapid Response and Recovery Fund is infusing desperately needed dollars to agencies fighting to provide daily, ongoing support to our most vulnerable neighbors: those struggling with food insecurity, permanent housing, and health concerns. In addition, the fund is combating the socioeconomic inequities exacerbated by this virus, and is supporting the mental health and physical safety of all our community members.
The Foundation continues to fundraise and administer grants on a rolling basis, in collaboration with local and regional organizations coordinating pandemic response. In addition, our tireless advocacy and leadership led to a grant from the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund, a fund set up to work in tandem with fundraising efforts of community foundations across the state. We are grateful for these additional monies, which have already been deployed to our area. To date, the Foundation has fundraised and distributed close to $1 million to our area nonprofits.
Thrive Counseling Center rapidly converted to a teletherapy model to ensure clients' continued access to counseling and psychiatric support. Thrive also launched a new service, the Thrive Check-In line, offering free phone support to all who need it, and a Thrive Town Hall weekly Zoom forum for sharing tips and strategies for dealing with the quarantine's impact. Thrive served 694 clients with counseling, crisis intervention and psychiatric services in Oak Park, River Forest, and other West Cook County suburbs from mid-March to mid-May.
Leyden Family Service and Mental Health Center was able to procure new necessary equipment, and deliver technology training and patient outreach techniques for staff, to quickly shift to tele-health and video-therapy. Thanks to their dedication, an estimated 300 clients in our community and surrounding western Cook county and neighboring northern suburbs, had access to essential mental health services the past two months.
SisterHouse is an in-home recovery program for women struggling with addiction, homelessness, domestic violence, and untreated mental illness. With a grant from the Rapid Response and Recovery Fund, SisterHouse is able to continue an environment of care, security and peace, empowering 15 women to gain self-esteem, and achieve independent living.
New Moms has seen an increased need for emergency deliveries of diapers, formula, and cleaning supplies and so far has delivered essential items to 95 families in the community and living in their housing facilities: an estimated $7,000 in critical supplies to help keep families safe at home.
The African American Christian Foundation empowers young adults with employment and self-sufficiency, breaking the cycle of poverty. Through rental assistance for those that are furloughed, and placement at essential businesses, including a local pharmacy chain and a major package delivery service, AACF is ensuring economic stability for 70 youth.
Social distancing and self-isolation results in unintended safety consequences for victims of domestic violence. Sarah's Inn is providing housing and emergency financial assistance, including rent, mortgage and utility relief, and gift cards for groceries and other basic necessities, to approximately 250 adults and children over the next three months.
With the increase in unemployment, many in our community are becoming increasingly worried about where their next meal is coming from, and are visiting the food pantry for the first time. Beyond Hunger has seen a 268% increase in first time visitors. They quickly shifted their organizational model to address a tripling of home food deliveries for those most at risk, from 85 households to 300 households.
Housing Forward provides comprehensive, long term solutions for preventing and ending homelessness. In early spring, they transitioned 75 community members from rotating shelters to individual accommodations, allowing vulnerable homeless individuals a safe space to shelter-in-place. The organization is currently transitioning a total of 110 individuals and families from temporary hotels to permanent homes, anticipating completion in September.
The COVID-19 pandemic closed 85% of all child care programs in Illinois. The West Cook YMCA responded swiftly, converting their facility to an emergency child care center, exclusively for families of first responders and healthcare workers that need a safe place for their child to be while they go into work. The childcare center has served 50 families since its spring opening.