The Evanston Community Rapid Response (ECRR) Fund was created to quickly respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Evanston. We partnered with nonprofits, small businesses, local schools, and government to gain a deep understanding of the most urgent needs of the community.
Since March 2020, grants totaling more than $2.7M have been awarded to organizations who are serving our most vulnerable neighbors. Our Immediate Need Strategic Grants were deployed to relieve stress on Black and Brown community members, particularly in the areas of housing, food and supplies, early childhood, and lost income.
Connections for the Homeless: helping to sustain a key safety net
Evanston’s Connections for the Homeless saw a significant increase in demand when the pandemic hit. ECF provided connections with immediate support and enabled the organization to, among other things, add the staff it needed to handle the demand. Over the course of 10 months and with the assistance of the ECRR Fund grant dollars, Connections for the Homeless helped prevent eviction for 1,200 people, sheltered more than 350 individuals, and helped 177 people move into stable housing. These numbers continue to grow.
“Without ECF, we couldn’t have created a sustainable solution and a safety net of emergency shelter for our most vulnerable neighbors during this health crisis.”
—Betty Bogg, Executive Director, Connections for the Homeless
Supporting C&W Market—a cornerstone, not just a corner store
Clarence and Wendy Weaver didn’t sit still when their business—the backbone of the neighborhood—came to a screeching halt in March of 2020. Working together, ECF and C&W leveraged their deep relationships in the community to mobilize local restaurants, District 65 families, and local nonprofits to feed Evanston seniors who were sheltering in place. ECF was able to provide C&W with a grant to help get started and sustain their service over the year. From there, the need exploded. Every week a small team of fiercely dedicated volunteers hand out groceries to up to 200 families. It’s turned into a well-oiled machine that may evolve into a long-term food pantry.
“ECF was there when we needed them most, and they’ve helped us get through the worst of a terrible year.”
—Clarence Weaver, co‑owner, C&W Market