Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund grants $350,000 for organizations in southeastern Illinois serving most vulnerable residents

The Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund (ICRF) recently announced it has distributed more than $6.275 million to 31 nonprofit organizations across the state, marking the third round of grants since launching the fund. Of that total, $350,000 of the funding went to 36 organizations in southeastern Illinois providing essential resources to vulnerable residents who have been largely impacted by COVID-19.

The ICRF Fund established by the United Way of Illinois and the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations, in collaboration with the Office of the Governor, also announced it has raised more than $30.5 million from nearly 2800 donors since its launch on March 26. ICRF prioritizes swiftly deploying resources to nonprofits in support of residents in need of: emergency food and basic supplies; interim housing and shelter; primary health care services; utility and financial assistance; and supports for children and other vulnerable populations.

For this third round of funding, the ICRF expanded its approach to grantmaking, and used a data-driven process to identify the counties hit hardest by this pandemic – capturing both health and economic impacts. ICRF considered unemployment data, COVID-19 cases, percentage of vulnerable populations within the county, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) to prioritize 57 counties in greatest need of support throughout the state.

“This is an all hands on deck effort to help our most vulnerable fellow Illinoisans at this time of such great need,” said Penny Pritzker, chairman of PSP Partners. “We are so grateful to the thousands of individuals and organizations who have stepped up to provide critical services and support for people in every part of Illinois.”

Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation partnered with Edgar County Community Foundation, Marathon, United Way of Wabash Valley, United Way of Effingham County, and United Way of South Central Illinois to quickly re-distribute funds to organizations with increased demands for services in Clark, Clay, Cumberland, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette and Marion counties:

  • BCMW Community Services
  • Big Brother Big Sisters Effingham County
  • CASA of Effingham County
  • Casey Ministerial Association
  • Catholic Charities - Effingham County
  • CEFS
  • Centenary United Methodist Church
  • Chrisman First Baptist Church
  • City of Flora
  • City of Martinsville
  • Disabled American Veterans Chapter 76
  • Effingham Hispanic Church of the Nazarene
  • Effingham Public Library
  • ERBA
  • F.I.S.H
  • First Presbyterian Church
  • Guadalupe Project
  • Heartland Human Services
  • Hopes and Dreams, Inc.
  • Human Resources Center of Edgar and Clark
  • Iglesia Bautista Latina
  • In His Hands
  • Marshal Area Youth Network
  • Martinsville Food Pantry
  • Neoga - Backpack program
  • Neoga Food Pantry
  • Nourishing Greatness
  • Salem Ministerial Alliance
  • STAR
  • Strong Beginnings Early Learning Center & Preschool
  • The Greater Salem Area Foundation
  • The REC Center
  • Vandalia C.U.S.D. #203
  • Veterans of Log Base Seitz
  • Village of Westfield
  • Westfield Food Pantry


"We are a not-profit, non-denominational childcare center and preschool serving children and families in Neoga and many surrounding areas. Strong Beginnings is a family-focused center and children may attend from ages 6 weeks to 6 years. We were closed due to Covid -19 since March and just reopened the week of June 22nd. The Covid 19 Response funds we received were immediately put to use for reopening. The funds are being used for intense and mandated cleaning and cleaning supplies and equipment, safety supplies, and scholarships for families impacted by Covid 19 employment changes. Strong Beginnings Early Learning Center has been impacted by our closure and our families and employees have experienced difficulties as well. We are so thankful for the Covid-19 Response Funds which have assisted in a strong, healthy and safe reopening of our center. Thank you to everyone involved."  -- Kim, Varner, Director of Strong Beginnings Early Learning Center and Preschool, Inc. in Neoga, 

Amanda McKay, Director of Effingham Public Library commented, “The Effingham County Case Manager project grew from the success we’ve experienced in helping our community with unemployment and other partner services from our offsite locations. As a natural hub for the community - we know that the library’s basement office space, or Suite 2, is the perfect place for people to access those connections. We're grateful that the Illinois COVID1-19 Response Fund Advisory Committee understood the challenges our region faces and chose to invest in this innovative method of helping our community.”

Christine Winters, Effingham County Problem Solving Court Officer, explained how STAR will use its funding: “We have been extremely fortunate to have been awarded COVID 19 Response Funds. We had numerous participants in the Problem Solving Court Program who could not have managed April and May’s rent, some who could not have paid certain utilities and many who needed assistance with minutes on their phones due to having to use their phones for appointments and Zoom meetings. It was an invaluable resource with which we were able to help many continue with their stability and sobriety. A sincere thank you to all involved!”

}