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ECRR fund: cumulative activities through May 21

May 21, 2020 | ECF Update

The Evanston Community Rapid Response Fund was created mid-March 2020 to allow ECF to be fast and nimble in working with our community to address the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.


ECRRF is focused first on relief in our community, working to mitigate the impact on the most vulnerable of our neighbors and on our vital nonprofit community. In coming months, as the immediate crisis passes, our focus will shift first to recovery, supporting vulnerable individuals and families and nonprofits in getting back on their feet, and ultimately on rebuilding. We’ll work together to gather what we have learned in the crisis and work to rebuild a more equitable community for our future.

initial phase of relief

During this initial phase of relief, we are working on three strategies. Here’s what’s happened to date in each area.

Basic needs

Since March 23, ECF has issued strategic grants to address immediate needs in the community.


  • Connections for the Homeless
    ($37,500): Support for Housing Manager for six months to transition individuals from hotels to longterm housing.
    ($25,000): in partnership with Curt’s Café — Housing and food for 40 families in a hotel for April.
    ($100,000): Eviction prevention services and rental assistance to 50 Evanston households over the coming months. 

  • Family Promise ($8000): Housing and food for families in April.

  • YWCA Evanston/North Shore
    ($15,000): Safe housing and food from Soul & Smoke for four domestic abuse survivor families
    ($15,000): Safe housing and food for six domestic abuse survivors.


  • Soul & Smoke
    ($60,000): Meals for 300 people daily for May, both families from District 65 and seniors
    ($30,000): Meals for 150-200 people daily for April

  • Chef Q
    ($31,000): Two meals daily for 120 people for May.
    ($24,000): Two meals daily for 75 people for April.

  • Interfaith Action ($7500): Increased costs for coordination of 10 soup kitchens and food.

  • Hillside Food Pantry ($2000): Additional food for April.

  • Curt’s Café
    ($8500): 5 meals weekly for 10 Family Focus Evanston Families for May.
    ($4130): in partnership with Family Focus — Meals for 10 Family Focus Evanston Families for the second half of April.

  • Oakton School PTA ($2100): Supplement Oakton School’s Blessings in a Backpack program to provide ingredients for one weekly family dinner through the school year. Funded in collaboration with Chessmen Club.

  • Cradle to Crayons ($10,500): Cradles to Crayons will manage logistics and collaborate with Evanston’s Bundled Blessings to provide and distribute diapers to 650 children, using Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse’s staffed facility. Diapers will be distributed to families through organizations serving them, including Infant Welfare Society of Evanston, Family Focus, Childcare Network of Evanston, District 65 Family Center, Learning Bridge Early Education Center, and Evanston Aid.

  • Gyros Planet
    ($18,400): Meals for 100 Latino families from District 65 and St. Nicholas Church through May
    ($18,400): Meals for 100 Latino families.

  • C & W Market ($13,450): Collaborating with Evanston Aid and District 65 Family Center to provide groceries to 65 families weekly.

Senior services

  • Meals on Wheels Northeastern Illinois ($76,000): 30% increase in number of people served.

  • Jennifer’s Edibles
    ($31,500): Two meals daily for 100 seniors for May.
    ($21,000): Two meals daily for 100 seniors for April.

  • C & W Market ($8,750): Grocery delivery to 175 seniors, particularly in affordable senior buildings in 5th and 8th ward.

Children and families

  • District 65 ($14,000): Collaboration with PTA Equity Project and Foundation 65 to provide 200 laptops to District 65 students. Tech support available through District 65 and Evanston Public Library.

Early childhood

  • Childcare Network of Evanston ($15,000): Basic needs for 51 families with young children.

  • C & W Market ($12,000): Groceries for 31 families with young children from District 65 Family Center in collaboration with Evanston Aid.

  • Family Focus ($12,000): Basic needs for 40 families with young children.

  • Infant Welfare Society of Evanston ($12,000): Basic needs for 40 families with young children

  • Learning Bridge Early Education Center ($10,000): Basic needs for 30 families with young children.

  • Reba Early Learning Center
    ($10,000): Basic needs for 30 families with young children.
    ($10,000): Basic needs for 30 families with young children.


  • Evanston Cradle to Career ($12,500): $500 lost wages relief to undocumented families

  • Evanston Cricket & Social Club ($12,500): Provide $500 lost wages relief to 25 Evanston Jamaican families (primarily undocumented).

  • FLAP ($25000): Provide $500 lost wages relief to 40 Evanston Latinx families (primarily undocumented).

  • Haitian Congress ($12,500): Provide $500 lost wages relief to 25 Evanston Haitian families (primarily undocumented)

Collective and Enduring Initiatives

  • Executive Service Corps ($2500): Assistance to nonprofits in applying for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).

  • Aunt Bertha social service system: Collaboration with Evanston Public Library and City of Evanston to bring networked platform to ease access to and coordination of services.

  • Evanston Latinos ($14,000): Strengthen Latino community and communications through web and text messaging platforms, translation for nonprofits for COVID resource materials, and community engagement.

  • Coordinated Point of Entry ($5,400): In collaboration with City of Evanston 311, City of Evanston Health and Human services, and Evanston Public Library, establish Aunt Bertha, a networked platform help residents find needed services and nonprofits coordinate efforts.

  • Literacy Works ($5000): Assist nonprofits and other institutions in making communications clearer, especially for those who have barriers to basic literacy or English language skills.

Support for nonprofits

  • Removed restrictions: ECF has removed all restrictions from current grants to allow nonprofits to use funds for current programming or operations needs.

  • Operating grants: ECF issued an operating grants program for up to $25,000 or 25% of annual operating budget (whichever is less) for nonprofits who have lost earned or fundraising income and/or have new demands for their services. Grants to support local nonprofits who have lost earned or fundraising income and/or have new demands for their services. 


    Second round grants approved May 21:

    Childcare Network of Evanston ($25,000)

    Children's Advocacy Center ($25,000)

    Family Promise Chicago North Shore ($18,332)

    James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy ($25,000)

    NAMI CCNS ($16,791)

    Open Communities ($25,000)

    PEER Services ($25,000)

    Puerta Abierta ($18,750)

    Reba Early Learning Center ($25,000)

    Reba Place Development Corporation ($15,208)

    YWCA Evanston/North Shore ($25,000)


    First round grants approved April 27

    Center for Independent Futures ($12,500)

    Connections for the Homeless ($25,000)

    Curt’s Café ($25,000)

    Farmworker and Landscaper Advocacy Project (FLAP) ($10,000)

    Infant Welfare Society of Evanston ($25,000)

    McGaw YMCA ($25,000)

    Mudlark Theater ($17,000)

    Open Studio Project ($9,166)