CFNIL Response to COVID-19

CFNIL Announces To Date Commitment to COVID-19 Response

The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois has kept faith with its mission to serve as a catalyst for giving in order to attract, preserve, and grow an endowment for the current and future needs of the people of Northern Illinois for more than 65 years. This uneasy time facing a global pandemic is no different; in fact, it is the foresight and generosity of past generations that allows CFNIL to respond now with both targeted and general support for the challenges facing our local communities.

To date, this support includes $277,000 toward the ongoing local COVID-19 response and a commitment to flexibility and responsiveness for current and future grantees:

  • Natural Disaster Assistance Fund: This fund was established in 2008 to assist individuals and families living in Winnebago County with disaster-related expenses. Disbursements are available from the fund for the COVID-19 response thanks to a joint declaration of need from the Mayor of Rockford and the Winnebago County Board Chair. CFNIL distributed $30,000from the fund in March and will distribute an additional $40,000 in early May.
  • 815 Community Response Team: CFNIL joined United Way of Rock River Valley and other funders and community partners in the new coalition known as the 815 Community Response Team (815CRT). 815CRT works with nonprofits to identify needs and make funds available for both immediate, emergency needs, as well as ongoing needs during and after the pandemic. CFNIL’s Board of Trustees has committed:
    • $57,000 for immediate, emergency needs which will be distributed in conjunction with the 815CRT Grants Committee, of which CFNIL is a member.
    • $150,000 to respond to ongoing needs of nonprofit organizations in concert with 815CRT partners and other funders.
  • Flexibility and Responsiveness for Current Grantees: Nearly 70 organizations received over $1.4 million in CFNIL’s 2019 Community Grants cycle. For many of these grantees, the programs and projects that were funded have been disrupted by COVID-19. CFNIL staff and trustees have worked to provide flexible options, including adjusting event timing, extending deadlines, and adjusting outcomes or results. CFNIL staff maintain ongoing conversations with our grantees to ensure the grant dollars will be used for the benefit of the organization and our community, even if that use looks different than the original proposal.
  • Commitment to Ongoing Grantmaking: As the impacts of the pandemic continue to unfold, CFNIL will continue to operate our grant programs and distribute grants from donor advised and donor designated endowments. CFNIL uses a rolling 12-quarter average to determine available to grant allocations, which ensures that grantmaking in the near-term will provide virtually the same level of funding for our community as last year. CFNIL’s Board of Trustees and its staff are considering carefully what procedural changes may be necessary during the upcoming Community Grants Program cycle this fall.

Since our inception CFNIL has worked with the long game in mind; we’re committed to being a stable and growing resource, to honor the intent and generosity of thousands of donors over more than half a century, and to connect the results of that past generosity to current needs. CFNIL Trustees will continue to exercise careful stewardship of every fund and thoughtful oversight in grantmaking. The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois stands ready to support the people and places of our region through the known challenges of today and the unknown needs of tomorrow.


View More Information about the Local COVID-19 Response from CFNIL and Other Partners