rapid response to covid in evanston

The strategy and purpose of the Foundation's response during the pandemic is based on deep listening to the community and on information and insights from a robust network of nonprofits, businesses, and local government. 

Total invested in Evanston: $4,411,510 as of March 3, 2021

ECF was able to build on its long-standing partnership with donors, organizations and individual citizens to respond quickly when COVID first arrived in our community. The Evanston Community Rapid Response Fund (ECRRF) was launched March 18, 2020, and the first grants to address COVID were issued March 23, 2020. 

ECRRF_logo_300px_wide.gifevanston community rapid response fund

The Evanston Community Rapid Response (ECRR) Fund was created to respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Evanston in the immediate crisis and also for the future of Evanston. 

The fund is being used in three phases which overlap with each other because of the disproportionate impact of the crisis on Evanston's Black and Brown residents.

Immediate need grant recommendations are developed through collaborative work in the nonprofit task forces. Operating Grants are reviewed and recommended by ECF's Operating Grants Committee, which includes representative members from across the community. Grant recommendations are reviewed and approved by the ECF Board.



Supporting the immediate needs of populations most at risk during the crisis

Building enduring and collective systems

Supporting nonprofits through operating grants


Supporting nonprofits as they adapt to safely reopen

Supporting efforts to help individuals and families adapt to changes in employment and education


We will progress to the Rebuild phase in the coming months. 

Helping nonprofits become resilient organizations

Working toward systemic change to help Evanston be truly equitable for all


All of the uses of the ECRR Fund reflect ECF’s three strategic goals:


Collaboration within and across sectors

A thriving nonprofit community

directing the funds

ECF has raised over $4.4 million for ECRRF and has invested over $4.5 million from the ECRRF and other ECF funds back into Evanston since the beginning of the pandemic in March, 2020. All grant decisions are approved by the ECF Board. 

Since mid-March, ECF leadership staff, at the request of Mayor Steve Hagerty, have co-led a nonprofit roundtable. Initially meeting twice weekly, the group now holds weekly Zoom sessions and on average 40 nonprofit leaders share information and concerns, providing valuable direction for ECF in setting priorities for utilizing the ECRR funds. In addition, in mid-March, early June, and mid-September, ECF surveyed the nonprofit community on their concerns and challenges.

From the nonprofit roundtable and the Mayor’s coronavirus taskforce, numerous task forces have been established to build informed, collaborative responses to the community challenges presented by the crisis. Task forces include representatives of relevant organizations, government and school districts, and engaged citizens. Their work forms the foundation for ECF’s investments in relief and recovery. The task forces include: Early childhood, Immigrants, Food security, Seniors, Mental health, Summer learning (K-8), Reopening (nonprofit sector), Advocacy, and Affordable housing.